The best way to clean tarnished brass is to first wash off any surface dirt by scrubbing the brass with a soft brush dipped in a mixture of warm soapy water and a little ammonia. Then make up a solution of vinegar and salt, and apply this with a cloth, rubbing vigorously. Rinse with water, dry. And finally polish the brass with a proprietary metal cleaner.
Improving a varnish finish on wood To obtain an extra high gloss on a varnish finish, rub down the penultimate coat of varnish with the back of a sheet of giasspaper wrapped round a cork block and then brush down the surface before applying the top coat. The buffing action smooths the surface even better than the commonly used alternative of flour paper – an extremely fine abrasive paper.