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Discussion Starter #1
Is there such a thing? Every cloth I've ever used on a horn (cotton flannel or microfibre) always leaves (more) fine scratches in the lacquer. Even factory-new horns quickly acquire the fine spiderweb scratching in the lacquer after just one polish.

Would chamois be the answer?
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
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Cloth diapers.

Wash your polishing cloth so it doesn't accumulate dust - that's what does the scratching.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
No guessing please. For the record I have a large supply of soft-flannel polishing cloths that I cycle through and wash regularly. Cloth diapers (if you can find them) are not any softer. The "scratching" I refer to is a matter of degree/scale; I'm talking about the tiny, almost invisible hairline spider-webbing that only shows up under certain lighting angles/conditions should one care to look up-close and have the experience to compare with a factory-fresh horn prior to its first dust-off in the hands of a store tech or salesperson. (Some people on SOTW have that experience.) Same for silver flutes: pristine first-time out of the case, spider-webbing all over after a week of routine "careful" polishing. Usually not noticeable or even considered "scratching" by most people....
 

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I think you're on a hiding to nothing - the only way to keep that 'showroom shine' is not to touch the instrument at all.

The surface of a horn is relatively soft. Lacquer is soft, silver plate is soft. The air around you is full of particles of extremely fine grit and micro-droplets of various sticky substances, and it all collects on your horn when exposed to the air.
No matter how clean and how soft your polishing cloth, there will always be a very fine film of this atmospheric gunk on your horn - so any attempt at polishing without first washing this film off is going to result in those very, very fine scratches.

Regards,
 

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I've never had an issue with the pink Selmer polishing cloths. They are designed for lacquer finishes. And they do the job. However, I like Lemon Pledge applied with an old cotton t-shirt.
 

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I use Meguiar's Polish - meant for lacquer finishes. It is very popular among builders/owners of boutique acoustic guitars.

No guessing.
 

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I usually wipe my horns down with a wet microfibre then finish polish with a barely damp cotton cloth.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I think you're on a hiding to nothing - the only way to keep that 'showroom shine' is not to touch the instrument at all.

The surface of a horn is relatively soft. Lacquer is soft, silver plate is soft. The air around you is full of particles of extremely fine grit and micro-droplets of various sticky substances, and it all collects on your horn when exposed to the air.
No matter how clean and how soft your polishing cloth, there will always be a very fine film of this atmospheric gunk on your horn - so any attempt at polishing without first washing this film off is going to result in those very, very fine scratches.

Regards,
Bingo Stephen, I think that's it. The finishes are actually quite soft. Touch the horn, it's all downhill from there. Past keeping it wrapped in plastic and never playing it, quite a lot of care and work involved trying to keep one flawless. I suppose I should've underlined that my query is focused on keeping a new horn "new" until such time that it's sold. As to my own horn, I keep it clean inside and wipe it down routinely because I know if I don't, the case will get dirty too, but that's about it.

Thanks everyone for your replies. I have pretty much all of the cloth materials described in this thread but haven't tried the eyeglass cleaners (they're kind of small for the task....) or the polishes. Well, I have used Pledge but wonder if the silicone content matters.
 

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I've never had an issue with the pink Selmer polishing cloths. They are designed for lacquer finishes. And they do the job. However, I like Lemon Pledge applied with an old cotton t-shirt.
LeBlanc, Blitz, selmer...they all make cloths specifically for lacquered brass. They have always worked for me.

...if you use microfibre, you have to get the finest textured one available....
 

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I agree with Stephen.

For the microscopic scratches being discussed, a different cloth makes no difference.

BTW, when the instrument was brand new, it still had fine scratches, from the buffing, but they were probably even smaller, and made less conspicuous by them all being in much the same direction. That's what buffs do.

And at least some microfiber is actually quite a hard plastic (eg polyester i.e. Coke bottle plastic) although extremely fine, with possibly sharp edges on the microfibers, which is excellent for lifting dirt, but slightly abrasive none-the-less.
 

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there's absolutey NO scratch free "finish". Those micro surface scratches are the "shine" when you're not using a 20x magnifying jewellers' glass. Many of that scratches you're referring to were there to begin with.
 
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