12-13-2009, 11:20 PM
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I like Mother's Mag and Aluminum Polish. Use a rag for large surfaces, and Q-tips for tight spaces and silver lacing.
If you know that it's sterling, sterling overlay, or Alpaca, or German silver (nickel), then you can polish it without worry. But if it's silver plated, it has a thin layer of silver over either brass or nickel, and you'll scrub off all the silver if you polish too hard.
So for plated, wipe with that liquid tarnish remover that doesn't have any abrasives in it.
For all the others, I like Mother's because it's a cream with a fine abrasive. There is very little liquid in it, so it doesn't splash all over the saddle. It stays where you put it. And the fine abrasive gives a mirror polish.
Alpaca is an alloy that can contain anything from no to almost all silver. Schneiders Saddlery's Billy Royal SSO saddles from the '70s sometimes have pieces marked Alpaca.
I don't take conchos off the saddle. They may break or the screw may break off and be stuck in the tree. I don't know who to get to do that kind of repair. Easier to just leave them on the saddle unless they are loose, anyway.