Cleaning handles with a brass wire wheel brush

I bought a Remline tool chest at an auction on Saturday. I've been wanting to get something a bit larger than my current chest, and I couldn't pass up these handles:

The handles were pretty rusty. I wanted to clean them up without scratching, so I tried a dremel brass wire wheel brush. It worked really well. You can see the difference in this photo:

Once the rust was off, I stopped short of polishing them any further, as I didn't want to make the contrast with the rest of the chest too great.

The wire wheel brush turned out to be a lot more dangerous than I expected. Half way into the second handle, it started to fly apart, and I ended up with a tiny brass wire embedded in my cheek. Definitely wear safety glasses while using one of these.

The wheel that flew apart came out of a Blue Hawk (Lowe's low end brand) kit. Thinking that real Dremel wheels might last longer and be safer, I bought a two-pack of Dremel brushes for $6. Surprisingly, these barely lasted any longer. By the time I had finished the remaining 4 1/2 handles, the brushes were in shreds.

I suspect I may have been two aggressive with them, but Amazon's reviews show a lot of similar complaints.

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