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I use a ton of steel wool to polish/clean parts and founts. Is there anything else that would work in a similar way? It sure makes a mess in my shop...
Michael Baldwin
Coleman 275 Appreciation Syndicate Member #0104
Sears Collectors Club #13
Whitegas Extraordinaire
White ScotchBrite, it’s a little milder. Buy a box and keep changing it out as it gets dirty!
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ICCC # 1865

I love 0000 Steel wool too but the tiny shards,dust and fuz is every where and sticks to my screwdrivers and pliers. any magnetic item
ICCC 1868
Perfection appreciation #10
Milspec 65252
Ridge Runner
I’d like to buy (build?) a tumbler, might not eliminate steel wool altogether, but should really reduce the amount needed. This thread is from SloMetalDoc.


— L.J.
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Bronze wool should not be magnetic, right? Found in the paint section of your local hardware store, usually. 
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Eye-SEE-C-C Member #1333 -- MilSpecOps #003
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I stopped using steel wool. Brass parts (as well as nickle and aluminum) can be soaked briefly in toilet bowl cleaner, rinsed, dried and then polished with Never Dull. For me that avoids the steel wool settling on everything nearby. 
When I tinker with stuff that will produce small metal shards, I keep one of the Harbor Freight magnetic parts dishes near by to collect the little pieces. I put masking tape over the magnet so the particles can be easily removed. One could also use saran wrap or put the dish in a sandwich bag to do the same thing. Little metal trimmings are right in there with fish hooks and razor blades!
Coast to Coast
I use 0000 steel wool a lot too.   Mostly for cleaning up rusty parts after they’ve been soaking in evaporust , polishing parts after they’ve been sprayed with Oven cleaner,  or cleaning the vents.   In all these cases It is used wet with running water so no dust to complain of on my part.
-Bird- Milwaukee, WI.
“I don’t want another lantern, I just want the last one again”
ICCC#1776     The Coleman Blue‘s 243’s #143
I also use it wet. After I soak the parts in Citric Acid, I use the 0000 steel wool with a little citric acid water from the pan and clean up the parts. After I rinse and dry the parts, I will sometimes give them a quick go over with the steel wool. But, not enough that it makes a mess. 

Works for me.  
Dan ICCC #900
ICCC Treasure
Bronze wool is good if you can find it.  Most marine stores stock it, but it's hard to get the finer grades.  I also use a large rod magnet to clean up the area after use.  A couple of sweeps with the magnet and all is clean.
I don't use steel wool much here because the local stuff differs from what you guys are familiar with. I suppose they might be too coarse and might produce deep scratches on brass. Here, they're used for scouring pots and pans and don't come graded like the '000' or '0000'.
As an alternative, I might use those synthetic abrasive scouring pads(the finer ones) such as those by 3M.,Scotchbrite, Bosch, etc.
Some sandpaper with suitable grit sizes would do but working on contoured and tight spaces could be a nightmare. I'd prefer wet sanding because there's less tendency of clogging up the abrasive paper too soon.
The white, non-abrasive Scotch Brite (3M) pads are #7445. Fair replacement for 4-0 steel wool. Not as aggressive. I usually use it for cleaning painted parts with Dawn soap.

For cleaning up anything ferromagnetic, you need one of these:


I just ran it around my benchtop a little:


Hold it over the garbage can, pull that loop handle and :


It's also great for picking up any magnetic parts and finding that damned screw you just dropped on the floor--assuming it's magnetic.
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As mentioned above by Ridge Runner, it got me thinking, I have a tumbler I use to clean rifle brass before reloading, would it hurt if i did the same thing with the brass parts from the lanterns?  I suppose I could do the small steel parts too and it shouldnt hurt them.  I use fine media with a cap full of brass polish
ICCC #1928
Looking for birthday lantern 3/82, US or Canada, any model
Goldbond Collector #23 Coleman 275 Appreciation Syndicate #0231
MilSpec-Ops #0231
I don't use steel wool much here because the local stuff differs from what you guys are familiar with. I suppose they might be too coarse and might produce deep scratches on brass. Here, they're used for scouring pots and pans and don't come graded like the '000' or '0000'.

The finer the steel wool, the finer the scratches. But they scratch. The hardness (sharpness) of the wool is the same no matter whether it is coarse or fine. Fresh nickel has a mirror shine to it. If you polish it with steel wool repeatedly you will eventually see a haze in bright sunlight. Steel wool is not a polish. it's a mechanical abrasive. Doubt me? Put a pad of it on a D/A sander and go polish your new car with it and you will see.
The corrosion and surface oxidation can be removed with aluminum jelly or naval jelly, no abrasive. don't let it remain on the piece for any more than a few minutes. Rinse it off. Then use a metal polish that does not contain an abrasive. (Many do). One such product is "Killer chrome" which is a pink liquid. Wenol I believe is abrasive free.      

The mechanical reduction in surface finish (abrasive polishing) is done before the plating goes on. Start coarse and work your way down to rouge (even toothpaste) then plate it. Wax the plating with carnauba wax and buff with a soft cloth. 

ICCC member #604
I'd occasionally use the local (unknown grade) steel wool for preliminary removal of rust on steel before any acid treatment. Seldom use it on brass as I find that it scratches the brass a tad too much, which would require extra work to finish it later on. 
There's a 'synthetic' steel wool equivalent by 3M, that I use as these are easily available from the local ACE Hardware outlets. These do come with the standard grading as for real steel wool(00, 000, etc). By comparison of the 000 grade with the locally available real but ungraded steel wool, I find that the 3M synthetic stuff would produce a much finer finish. Well, they are still scratches but just way finer and more desirable.
most polishes contain a mild abrasive as well as a chemical that converts corrosion to a soluble hydride. The abrasive is very fine but abrasive, nonetheless. I was surprised to learn that many polishes contain this abrasive, including Simichrome. Once you get all the corrosion off you have opened the plating up to the atmosphere, as a thin layer of corrosion protects many metals, such as aluminum. To keep the exposure of fresh plating (Nickel primarily) to a minimum, wax it. Also strangely enough-keep the dust off of it. Learned that the old fashioned way.
ICCC member #604
It wouldn't fit larger parts but I've seen a youtuber use a glass jar with a bolt in the lid, then stick the bolt into the chuck of a drill and zip tie or tape the trigger at the desired speed to tumble the parts, you would just need to find a tumble media that you like.

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