Home Silver Repairs
Some common silver repair problems may be solved by using these home silver repair tips.
Candlestick Threads Loose
Are your candlesticks not as stable as they once were? Over a period of time though use, cross threading or over tightening the heads, arms or extension may have damaged or worn the threads. When this occurs they may become loose and wobbly or not even lock in place (continue to turn). The threads can be raised by a professional by taking the piece apart and pushing out the treads from the inside and reassembling. This process can be quite expensive. If they are not severely damaged you may be able to do a home repair. Purchase a roll of aluminum foil tape with an adhesive back from your local hardware store or a big box home improvement store such as Lowes or Home Depot. Cut a piece the same width as the male threaded section. Leave the peel off backing on for now and warp it around the threads. Cut the tape to a length where the ends will meet without overlapping. A little short is better than too long. Once you have the correct length remove the backing and warp around the treads, using your fingernail to press into the threads. Put the pieces together without over tightening. If still lose you could try another layer.
Hinged Lid Not Level or Does Not Close
Anything with a lid such as a coffee pot, tea pot, ink well or boxes may at some point in time may not close properly or completely. This could have been caused by opening the lid too far or by bending it during cleaning among other reasons. You may be able to correct this problem by inserting something thin between the hinge plates close to where they meet at the pin and push down gently and evenly on both sides. Closely watch to see if there is any movement. Items you might try using are toothpicks, a piece trimmed from a Popsicle stick or a 1/32” drill bit. Start with something thin and increase the size (thickness) very slightly. Do not apply to much pressure as you may break the solder connection of the hinge plate.
Coffee and Tea Stains
If you do not let coffee or tea stains to build up you can remove them with a moist cellulose sponge with a liberal amount of silver polish, wipe the inside and rinse with warm water and dry. If the opening is too small for your hand, wrap the moist sponge on the end of a wooden dowel rod. A damp cotton swab with silver polish will clean the spout. If the stain is not removed, fill the pot with warm water and drop in one five-minute denture cleaning tablet per two cups of water. Let stand for ten minutes, empty and rinse with warm water, then clean with silver polish and rinse with warm water. The denture cleaner is not recommended for silver plate.
Salt Corrosion from Sterling
The best way to prevent corrosion is to wash the pieces after each use and not store slat in them. However, there is a way to remove the corrosion yourself depending on the degree of corrosion. Do not use silver dipping chemicals. The following procedure may help. It is advisable that you do this in a well-ventilated area and use protective gloves as you will be using ammonia. Pour enough ammonia (non-scented or lemon) into a covered container to cover the piece, place the shaker inside and replace the cover. Let the shaker sit for ten minutes, remove the shaker and see if you have made any progress. If the blacken areas are still present, rinse with water and repeat for another ten minutes and observe the progress. If the corrosion is not gone have the piece professionally cleaned and polished.
Another method you could try to remove salt stains from sterling silver, heat (not boiling) 2 cups of white vinegar and 1 tablespoon of salt, soak the item for no more than 5 minutes, rinse, dry. If the piece has a weighted base do not use this method.
You probably will have a gray finish after removing the corrosion; polish each piece with a good silver polish. If this does not produce a good result, use a small amount of Bon Ami cleanser on a wet sponge and lightly rub the piece inside and out. Use Bon Ami under a very slow stream of water. If the corrosion is gone use a rouge cloth to restore the luster, then use silver polish. This cleaning process is quite complex and time consuming and might not practicable if you have many pieces.
If your piece is Silver plated and has salt corrosion it will probably need to be re-silvered. This can be quite costly and may not be worth the expense.
Wax Removal from Candle Holder
This procedure can be used for both weighted and non-weighted candle holders to remove wax. Do not use a heat gun, use a hair dryer to warm the candle cup or any other area coated with wax. It is very important not to get the area too hot. There are a few reasons to keep this warning in mind: (1) If it is a weighted piece the pitch inside will soften or melt as cause it to bend or distort. (2) You may burn yourself. Lightly touch the piece with your finger to insure it is not too hot but the wax is very soft. Lightly wipe off the wax with a soft paper towel. If the wax is in the cup, support the arm and insert the towel into the cup and twist. Repeat the process until the wax is removed.
To prevent the wax build up, use drip-less candle when possible and remove any residue after each use.
Please note that we can not guarantee these tips will work for you nor are responsible for any bad or unsatisfactory results as different conditions can cause different results. If you have doubts and value your silver you should consult a professional.