Hello again. I came across an old zither banjo made in Germany by Cid. It is not a very good one but I thought I would clean it up and restore it a bit. I have never done this kind of thing before but it is never too late to try something new.

The interior metal pot is a two piece paperweight. It appears to be a pot metal of some sort. The visible parts have been finished but I can't tell to what extent.

Is there solution I can soak it in to remove the years of grime that have accumulated on it? There is no corrosion just oxidation. I would like to remove this before trying to polish it.

Once I have it cleaned up, should I use something like Mother's aluminum polish or Brasso to try to get some shine to it?

Is there a source for zither tuning peg sets.  I am missing one of the buttons but have the other five so I can still string it when ready.

I will post some images when I get it finished.


Thanks in advance for any suggestion.

Hal

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Hi there, to clean up any metallic and shiny bits, I always use chrome cleaner. You can purchase a tube  form your local auto-accessories store. I've been using it for years with no determent to any of my banjos and it works very well.

I'm surprised that you have suggested using such a corrosive substance as a cleaning material, in addition you have failed to highlight the health and safety implications - rubber gloves, goggles, air extraction etc. Totally irresponsible in my view.

Jody Stecher said:

I've used Coca Cola to clear clogged sink drains. It eats right through human hair and whatever else it meets. On banjos does Coke leave a sticky sugar syrup residue?

marc dalmasso said:

During the WW2 , an American soldier see a Japanese ' one lying on the ground, bent with pain ; he ask him : " Hara Kiri ? "

the Japanese soldier : " No , Coca Cola " .....

it works as well as the vinegar to clean old banjos.. 

I figured since it says on the Coca Cola label in BIG LETTERS : "keep away from eyes" that everyone knew how to use this product responsibly. Anyway ever since the world turned its back on me and condemned me as morally irresponsible on the day I began to play the banjo at age 12 I've always been fast and loose about the use of dangerous things such as snaps, slurs, position barres and coca cola.

Richard William Ineson said:

I'm surprised that you have suggested using such a corrosive substance as a cleaning material, in addition you have failed to highlight the health and safety implications - rubber gloves, goggles, air extraction etc. Totally irresponsible in my view.

Jody Stecher said:

I've used Coca Cola to clear clogged sink drains. It eats right through human hair and whatever else it meets. On banjos does Coke leave a sticky sugar syrup residue?

marc dalmasso said:

During the WW2 , an American soldier see a Japanese ' one lying on the ground, bent with pain ; he ask him : " Hara Kiri ? "

the Japanese soldier : " No , Coca Cola " .....

it works as well as the vinegar to clean old banjos.. 

Hey Jody, it is OK for you Californian's, but what about us poor Europeans ?

I guess we will have to stop kissing our, newly cleaned, banjos a "goodnight" when we tuck them up in their cases.

There are a lot of things that would cause cancer and worse if you swallowed them that are perfectly safe to use for non-ingestive purposes. I would think that swallowing banjo strings would cause a lot of problems but they are fine when used in the prescribed way. Coca Cola is meant for cleaning, not for drinking.... (what's that?  It's NOT??!!!!  It's sold as a drink??? Oh my God I had no idea..... you mean people actually SWALLOW it?  )

thereallyniceman said:

Hey Jody, it is OK for you Californian's, but what about us poor Europeans ?

I guess we will have to stop kissing our, newly cleaned, banjos a "goodnight" when we tuck them up in their cases.

A more extended reciept for cleaning the wood: 

1 turpentine.

1 lineseed oil.

1 methylated spirit.

1/4 vinegar.

The results are amazing...good luck!

Thanks, Peter. What do you use for 'methylated Spirits'?

Peter van Alteren said:

A more extended reciept for cleaning the wood: 

1 turpentine.

1 lineseed oil.

1 methylated spirit.

1/4 vinegar.

The results are amazing...good luck!

The blue, alcohollic liquid for cleaning and/or fuel. Also used by desperate alcoholics as a cheap alternatif for other alcoholic beverages. Here in Holland it is mostly used for cleaning the windows. We don't have classic banjo's over here, but...we are world famous because of our bright shining windows! It will have the same effect on your ZB.

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