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Band Instrument Repair restores collection plates

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Bringing back the shine just in time for the holidays

Alice FitschenWhen Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Red Wing needed to have their collection plates restored to their original glory, they asked Minnesota State College Southeast's Band Instrument Repair program if they could take the project on. 

"We don't normally restore brass objects, since we work with musical instruments," says John Huth. "But we saw this as a special case. It's a way to give back to Red Wing community, and we do have the equipment and expertise to do this type of work."

The church dropped off four round brass collection plates at the college in early November. Over the years the brass had tarnished and was pitted in places. 

"The collection plates probably date back from the 1950s when the church was built," according to Alice Fitschen, a member of the congregation. The church didn't want to replace the plates with new ones because of their historical significance.

The first step involved cleaning the badly oxidized brass with a strong chemical bath. Next, the brass was polished on a buffing lathe with a succession of polishing compounds to remove the grime, and then buffed to the original metal glory. Once the gloss was restored, the plates were taken to the spray booth for a coating of lacquer.

Both students and instructors in the Band Instrument Repair program worked on the restoration project. Alice stopped by the college to pick up two of the plates in early December and couldn't have been more pleased!

 From this ...
Brass plate before restoration
to this! 
 Restore plates

Plates after chemical bath
Plate after cleaning   

Buffing the plates
 Buffing brass plate   

Alice Fitschen and John Huth
Alice and John - brass plates    


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