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How can I remove the varnish/lacquer from a La Pavoni Pro Copper/Brass machine?
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momobeans
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Joined: 25 Feb 2013
Posts: 5
Location: Missouri
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: LP Pro (1996)
Grinder: Bodum Burr
Vac Pot: nope
Drip: nah
Roaster: not yet
Posted Mon Feb 25, 2013, 3:13pm
Subject: How can I remove the varnish/lacquer from a La Pavoni Pro Copper/Brass machine?
 

Hello everyone... new here.

I have completely taken apart my 1996 LP Pro Copper/Brass espresso machine.  Broke a few things (rod seal retaining or 4 hole washer, group siphon tube, a few gaskets/seals) so I'll be buying some new parts... looks like orphan espresso has all I need though.

My question(s):

1.) The "yellow brass" portions of the machine have a lacquer of some sort that is in rough enough shape in places that I would like to completely remove it while I have the unit disassembled.  What is the best way to do this?

2.) Is the copper boiler also lacquered?  It doesn't seem to be, but figure I'd ask anyway...

3.) Once I have the lacquer removed, do I have actual yellow brass under there, or is is something else like a plating?  Can it be polished once the lacquer is gone?

Thanks for any help.  Pretty excited to start snooping around this site!
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russel
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russel
Joined: 12 Mar 2010
Posts: 435
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: 73' Cremina, '74 Club,...
Grinder: Super Caimanos x2, Forte BG,...
Drip: V60, Kalita Wave, Clever,...
Posted Tue Feb 26, 2013, 9:08pm
Subject: Re: How can I remove the varnish/lacquer from a La Pavoni Pro Copper/Brass machi
 

I've used Citristrip for removing the coating on brass LP parts.  Whether or not what's underneath is solid brass or brass plaiting depends on the part and the machine.  The Romanticas that I have restored have all had solid brass parts including the base.  I have seen a few pictures of other LPs with worn brass plating (all of the lever arms that I have come across have been brass plated).  I forget what I used to polish the brass parts, it was a pretty gently polish and not Brasso.  

I don't know much about the copper finish on the mixed finish models, I've never worked on one.

You should keep in mind that without a protective coating the brass will tarnish fast and unevenly.  Shiny golden brass is not to my taste, but I have opted to re-coat polished parts in a clear marine engine lacquer because the alternative didn't look very good.
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momobeans
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Feb 2013
Posts: 5
Location: Missouri
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: LP Pro (1996)
Grinder: Bodum Burr
Vac Pot: nope
Drip: nah
Roaster: not yet
Posted Tue Feb 26, 2013, 10:27pm
Subject: Re: How can I remove the varnish/lacquer from a La Pavoni Pro Copper/Brass machi
 

Thanks, Russel.  I just today boiled all of the copper and brass parts as well as the heating element in a solution of phosphoric acid and water... basically commercial descaler, I used one gallon of the descaler and four to five gallons of water.  I boiled all parts in a 20 gallon steam jacketed kettle for roughly 5 hours.  I'm happy to report that the copper parts look great.  The lacquer slowly peeled on the brass parts, and what remains should be fairly easy to pick off.  The base appears to me to be actual brass, and the jury is still out for me on the lever arm, group and assorted nuts and bolts.  All look pretty good though, needing final polish.  I will look into the clear marine engine lacquer, I intend for the copper to be super clean and shiny, while the brass I may polish golden and allow a few weeks to begin to tarnish before coating.
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crazy4espresso
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crazy4espresso
Joined: 19 Jan 2008
Posts: 147
Location: Toronto
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Silvia, La Pavoni...
Grinder: Pharos
Posted Wed Feb 27, 2013, 10:18am
Subject: Re: How can I remove the varnish/lacquer from a La Pavoni Pro Copper/Brass machi
 

Can you post a pic of how the boiler turned out?
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momobeans
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Feb 2013
Posts: 5
Location: Missouri
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: LP Pro (1996)
Grinder: Bodum Burr
Vac Pot: nope
Drip: nah
Roaster: not yet
Posted Wed Feb 27, 2013, 10:25pm
Subject: Re: How can I remove the varnish/lacquer from a La Pavoni Pro Copper/Brass machi
 

]]]This is all of the parts that I boiled... the white stuff visible on the portafilter and group is the lacquer that remains to be peeled, and it comes fairly easily.  The lever arm is a bit of an odd color, but I believe that it will come back to "brass" once polished.
Click Here (img.photobucket.com)


Inside of the boiler, nice and clean.
Click Here (img.photobucket.com)


The boiler.  Very pleased so far, now to polish and rebuild...
Click Here (img.photobucket.com)
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crazy4espresso
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crazy4espresso
Joined: 19 Jan 2008
Posts: 147
Location: Toronto
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Silvia, La Pavoni...
Grinder: Pharos
Posted Thu Feb 28, 2013, 7:23am
Subject: Re: How can I remove the varnish/lacquer from a La Pavoni Pro Copper/Brass machi
 

There's a debate on another forum as to whether these boilers were actually copper.  I thought they were copper plated brass, as the machines I've seen all seem to have brass boilers.  From the inside pic of the boiler it looks like brass.  The outside looks like some copper plating still on with the underlying brass showing.  Can you confirm this? The lever looks like brass.  The pink tone is due to the acid eating away at the zinc in the brass.
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momobeans
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Feb 2013
Posts: 5
Location: Missouri
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: LP Pro (1996)
Grinder: Bodum Burr
Vac Pot: nope
Drip: nah
Roaster: not yet
Posted Thu Feb 28, 2013, 7:57am
Subject: Re: How can I remove the varnish/lacquer from a La Pavoni Pro Copper/Brass machi
 

crazy4espresso Said:

There's a debate on another forum as to whether these boilers were actually copper.  I thought they were copper plated brass, as the machines I've seen all seem to have brass boilers.  From the inside pic of the boiler it looks like brass.  The outside looks like some copper plating still on with the underlying brass showing.  Can you confirm this? The lever looks like brass.  The pink tone is due to the acid eating away at the zinc in the brass.

Posted February 28, 2013 link


I think that the boiler is copper, but I'm basing that on sight alone.  I'll know more when I get around to polishing it, I suppose.  For me, the scratches are the tell.  If the boiler were copper plated brass, the scratches wouldn't be shiny like a new penny, right?  The boiler has an upper ring, as well as the group "face," and the lower threaded ring which are brass, but I think that the body is copper.  Thoughts?
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crazy4espresso
Senior Member
crazy4espresso
Joined: 19 Jan 2008
Posts: 147
Location: Toronto
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Silvia, La Pavoni...
Grinder: Pharos
Posted Thu Feb 28, 2013, 8:06am
Subject: Re: How can I remove the varnish/lacquer from a La Pavoni Pro Copper/Brass machi
 

Curious to see how it turns out when polished. The inside does not look like copper and the areas of yellow on the outside seem to indicate otherwise but I could be wrong.  A good polishing should reveal all.
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alterview
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Joined: 18 Feb 2013
Posts: 18
Location: Eugene
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Thu Feb 28, 2013, 9:46pm
Subject: Re: How can I remove the varnish/lacquer from a La Pavoni Pro Copper/Brass...?
 

I am curios to know what people are doing with rusted plated brass pieces (not to steal the OP's thread). I have a la Pavoni in brass and copper on it's way that looks like it has some rust on the front bottom of the base. Makes me believe that my machine is from the earlier plated brass era (prior to late 90's?). I will of course remove the rust but don't want to re-plate the base. I have been thinking that after removing the rust with a wire wheel on a dremel, I will mask it off and spray it with a metalic 'brass' paint then coat it with a clear coat.

Does this sound like a reasonable way to go about this?

Thank you,
rj
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momobeans
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Feb 2013
Posts: 5
Location: Missouri
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: LP Pro (1996)
Grinder: Bodum Burr
Vac Pot: nope
Drip: nah
Roaster: not yet
Posted Thu Feb 28, 2013, 10:39pm
Subject: Re: How can I remove the varnish/lacquer from a La Pavoni Pro Copper/Brass...?
 

It may be that you have chipping of lacquer where the base meets the plastic.  Depending on what's actually happening / how bad the problem is, I would probably not recommend the dremmel or wire wheel, but instead use some naval jelly or other rust dissolver.
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