RESTORING TIPS AND TECHNIQUES
André's Pencils - "Le Crayon à André©"
Le Crayon à André© or André's pencil is now very famous in France and already adopted by many detectorists. Versatile and efficient, it is distributed by 30 stores and in 10 countries. The set of 4 different pencils allows to clean baked dirt, crust while preserving the patina. The brush pencil is great for finishing and may also be used on more sensitive metals such as coppers and nickels.
Almost a "classic" question for many metal detectorists and also a true debate. Many will prefer to leave silver "as is" and others will favor a thorough cleaning. It really comes down to personal choice and preference. If you wish to clean your silver finds, there are a few options that have proved to be very efficient as well as very affordable.
We have all had that disappointment of finding a nice silver artifact that is all bent and twisted. Well, it may not be lost. Discover more about how you can actually unbend silver. It requires caution and patience... but it can be done ! Know that this process will eventually have you cleaning your find. Annealing will indeed tarnish and color silver and unless you clean it, it will stay this way.
"Electrolysis is a technique that uses a direct electric current (DC) to drive an otherwise non-spontaneous chemical reaction." Yes, that's what Wikipedia says it is. In other words: metals such as iron, when found in salt water or mineralized ground, will be corroded and rusty. Once out of the ground, corrosion and decay will actually keep going. Electrolysis is meant to slow down or even stop this process. It will also enhance your finds and give them a better look. Can be used on most metals, although more commonly used on iron. It should not be used on nickels as it will change their color.
Sometimes used with gems, a rock tumbler can also be used as a coin tumbler. Tumbling is a technique for smoothing and polishing a rough surface. Realistically speaking, a tumbler should mostly - if not only - be used on clad coins. It is a mechanical cleaning process. You will need to either buy or build your own tumbling system as well as a specific mix that has to be added to the process. Results on clad coins are pretty satisfying.
Chemical Cleaning - Additional Resources
With the pencils, you have a mechanical cleaning and you are able to monitor and check in real time - as you go - the progress of your cleaning. With mechanical cleaning, it is sometimes a little harder. Nevertheless, chemical cleaning can be very efficient if you know how to "read" a coin and if you have the patience of practicing quite a bit. Since it is chemical, we recommend caution as well.
SET COMPLETE RESTORATION
VERSATILE SET OF 4 PENCILS
The now famous set of 4 Andre's pencils. Versatile, it will be the perfect addition to your cleaning toolbox.
A "GENTLE TOUCH"
A little softer, this pencil is the alternative to the regular point pencils. It is well adapted to more "sensitive" cleaning jobs.
BRUSH PENCIL 000 STEEL WOOL
The refillable brush pencil can be purchased directly from Andre's website. (See link) Refills are also available.
The brush pencil is great to use when monitoring your progress. It is also the finishing pencil and last but not least, can be used on coppers if working on a light layer of soft dirt.