View Full Version : Maintaining Brass Kobelt Control

02-10-2010, 08:34 AM
I have seen previous discussions on maintaining brass and bronze, but I need to seek some wisdom on a specific product. I am specing Kobelt polished brass throttle control heads on a new build boat. The head will be under a shelter, but still exposed to weather. I don't need or want to have a high degree of polish over time, I'd prefer to let it age gracefully if possible.

I have seen other Kobelt polished brass heads that weathered poorly. I don't know if this is a function of the alloy used or how some protective coatings are worn over time. I am curious if anyone else has this on their boat and if they have found a solution. I am also curious if a better answer may be to have the head slightly bead blasted to "pre-age" the polished surface. Any thoughts from folks experienced with this specific control head would be greatly appreciated.

Gold Rock
02-10-2010, 10:45 AM
To say that a given alloy 'ages poorly' is to misspeak somewhat. Any given alloy is going to produce it's own unique surface patina in the form of the resultant oxides that accumulate on it's surface. If a product weathers to a finish that you don't like, it's the result of the material from which the item is made. The topic of treating brasses and bronzes to prevent oxidization has been covered on this forum ad nauseum. The universal consensus is this: the only successful product that inhibits oxidization of metal on a boat is elbow grease.
Oh, and exposing any metal surface to abrasive media will do nothing to prevent oxidization. It will exacerbate the process by way of greatly increasing the surface area exposed to the atmosphere.

02-10-2010, 11:52 AM
Kobelt controls are generally of or rugged, high quality compared to other controls, probably reflecting the commercial origins and orientation of the company. I have not found the bronze to weather badly but that may be a matter of taste. As the prior poster noted, the patina will reflect the alloy used in the bronze (they are not brass). There is not a coating or treatment that would change this in any helpful way. If you don't care for the bronze patina, most of the Kobelt controls come in chromed bronze or stainless steel. hm0316

02-10-2010, 12:46 PM
HM0316 - thank you for your comments. After reading your post I looked again at Kobelt's catalog to confirm the material and they refer to the dome as either "solid bronze dome" or "polished brass" finish depending on which portion of the catalog you are looking at. As discussed elsewhere on the forum, that makes a significant difference in how it is cared for.

I appreciate your input.

02-10-2010, 11:31 PM
BK, Many brass and bronze fittings are shipped with a laquer finish that keeps them looking great for sale purposes, but eventually fails in use and lets water get underneath and give a pretty awful look till it eventually all comes off, it might be good to get at the unit with alchohol and or paint stripper to be sure you are dealing with the actual metal, then polish or let patina rule as suits your taste, Have fun, Cheers, BT

02-11-2010, 11:32 AM
Boattruck, Yes, I concur and I've read the other material on the forum about this. I was just trying to determine if anyone had hands on experience with this particular product so I could figure out how to apply the info elsewhere on the forum to this specific situation.

I'm sure you are right in this case. I'll muck about and see how it works. Thanks for your comments.