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How to Restore Antique Brass and Copper Umbrella Stands

Umbrella stands are an important home accessory for organizing and storing wet umbrellas and for keeping entryways safe by helping to keep floors dry. Umbrella stands can also serve as an attractive decorative accent for a foyer or entryway, making an important first impression on visitors. While umbrella holders can be constructed from any material, solid brass and copper umbrella holders have the advantages of excellent corrosion resistance, durability, and beauty. During the 1970s and early 1980s, brass and copper umbrella stands were a popular decorative accent for homeowners, with brass umbrella stands imported from England, Italy, and India topping the list. Today, these stands can be found at garage sales, antique stores, and online for a fraction of their original cost. Many of these vintage umbrella stands can be restored to their original beauty using simple techniques.

Is my umbrella stand solid brass or plated brass?

Plated brass or plated copper umbrella stands can be difficult to refinish because the finish is simply a thin layer of brass or copper applied over sheet steel. Once the thin plated finish has oxidized or corroded, the underlying steel material is exposed, making the finish subject to further corrosion and discoloration. Brass or copper plated brackets can be easily detected by using a magnet. If the magnet sticks to the mount, it is a veneered part. On the other hand, solid brass or solid copper umbrella stands can be easily restored because solid brass or solid copper can be polished indefinitely without further damage or discoloration.

Restoration of your stand.

If your solid brass or solid copper umbrella stand still has a shiny appearance, but shows wear due to nicks or scratches, you can top it with a fine lacquer. It will be necessary to remove the lacquer before polishing the support using a household paint/lacquer remover. If your umbrella stand already appears tarnished, lacquer is probably not present and the stand can be cleaned and polished without further preparation. To clean and polish any solid brass or solid copper umbrella stand, a brass or copper polishing paste is an excellent solution. In our experience, Wenol Brass Polish is an excellent choice and can be found at many hardware stores or ordered online. Apply the rinse aid to a soft cloth (gloves recommended) and rub the cloth over the umbrella stand starting from the bottom up. Once the mount is polished it can be used “as is” and will develop a slight patina over time. If you want the support to be highly polished, it will be necessary to apply a thin coat of clear lacquer. Spray clear lacquer is available at most hardware and paint shops. Take care not to spray on fingerprints once the mount is polished, as fingerprints may become more apparent once the mount is varnished.

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