Cleaning an old bit - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 18 Old 07-16-2013, 08:20 PM Thread Starter
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Cleaning an old bit

Hey, I just was given an old hunter style bridle today (probably from the 50s) and I cleaned it all up and then figured out that I can't take the bit off of it to change it out. There are no buckles where the bit attaches to the cheek pieces, instead it's sewn. That means I can't switch out the bit. I don't mind the bit that's on it. It's an old brass/copper colored o ring snaffle. The problem is that it's kinda gross looking. It is tinted green and looks grimy. It won't come off in soap and water.
Is there a product that will make it shine? Any advice?
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post #2 of 18 Old 07-16-2013, 08:24 PM
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Maybe try Herm Sprenger's Diamond Paste; that's what the recommend for cleaning their bits.

As a side note, it would probably be super easy for a leather worker to unstitch the bit and punch a hole for a chicago screw (or some other kind of fastener) if you do want the option to swap out the bit.
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post #3 of 18 Old 07-16-2013, 08:25 PM
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For cleaning brass stirrups I have used Brasso. I think you can find it at Wal-Mart. Since you can't take the bit off the headstall you might be careful and just clean small sections at a time in the event that the Brasso doesn't discolor the leather.

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post #4 of 18 Old 07-16-2013, 08:35 PM Thread Starter
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Oooh I'm liking the Brasso idea! Anything from Herm Sprenger sounds like it would be expensive..haha! Ecspecially if I'm not sure if it will work. Plus we have a Walmart right down the road :) Thanks! I think I may give that a try! Anyone have any home remedies?
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post #5 of 18 Old 07-16-2013, 09:03 PM
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Check on youtube for kitchen cupboard recipes for cleaning the bit. I know lemon juice does a nice job on stainless.
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post #6 of 18 Old 07-16-2013, 09:41 PM
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I soak mine with denture tablets.
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post #7 of 18 Old 07-17-2013, 05:23 AM
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The bit is probably nickle - to clean it you need to use metal polish. Show bridles were always stitched in the past - they were also made of excellent quality leather so your bridle may very well be still usable.

Do check that there are no cracks on the outer edges of the bends in the leather as once the leather cracks it can very easily break.
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Last edited by Tnavas; 07-17-2013 at 05:30 AM.
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post #8 of 18 Old 07-17-2013, 05:33 AM
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On a side note, just check where the bit rings run through the mouthpiece. Because nickel is soft you often get sharp edges where metal rubs on metal.

If you find any the bit's still useable - you'll just need to take the edges off with a needle file or similar :)

PS: If you polish it, stick to the parts that are visible ie. Unless it's really minging leave the mouthpiece alone, because metal polish tastes disgusting ;)

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Last edited by unclearthur; 07-17-2013 at 05:35 AM.
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post #9 of 18 Old 07-17-2013, 07:29 AM
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unclearthur - you do rinse the bit after polishing! Have always used metal polish on the mouthpiece with no problems!
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post #10 of 18 Old 07-17-2013, 09:53 AM
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Definitely rinse it, better yet use a mild soap and hot water to get all that residue off as it tastes nasty and could irritate the skin. I've also had good luck with a paste of baking soda and old toothbrush, or just toothpaste. You might want to experiment with lemon juice or a peroxide soak.
I'd love to see pictures of this bit and bridle too!
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