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Old 12-11-07, 11:40 AM   #1
Sherfy
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What type of steel wool?

This may not particurally suit the forum, but curious as to what you guys use to clean up old chrome?

I've heard you can use steel wool, but just not sure what to use (believe there are different kinds 0 00 0000) something like that.

Thanks!

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Old 12-11-07, 11:55 AM   #2
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The more 0s the finer the weave.

000 is good for removing rust from chrome; just make sure to use a light lube like WD-40 to avoid scratching.

Once it's nice & shiny degrease with alcohol and cover with some sort of clear coat to prevent the rust from returning.
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Old 12-11-07, 12:14 PM   #3
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On chrome, you want to use bronze wool, not steel wool.
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Old 12-11-07, 12:45 PM   #4
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I've always just used steel wool, the coarseness depends on the degree of rust you're trying to remove. Fine is usually good, unless its really crusty.
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Old 12-11-07, 12:47 PM   #5
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Oxalic acid.

for the love of god... Oxalic acid.

Seriously though, do a search on oxalic acid and you'll see tons of testimony. Works better and is easier than steel wool for most surface rust.
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Old 12-11-07, 02:03 PM   #6
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Scotchbrite also works well. I use it on just about everything.
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Old 12-11-07, 02:28 PM   #7
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start MILD then go coarser/heavier if you aren't seeing any results. I'd choose either a very fine scratchy pad (3M Scotchbrite gray or white) and use WD40 as step one...then go to bronze wool and WD40, then try an acid (I'd use Phosphoric first, then Oxalic), and as a last choice a very fine (0000) steel wool with a LIGHT touch and the above solvents/acids. You can always go scratchier, but can't go back to polish out those deep scratches without risking the plating. YRMV
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Old 12-11-07, 02:35 PM   #8
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As others have said it all dpends....

I use Naval Jelly and a soft rag first to remove any rust and switch over to 0000 steel wool if needed. Always always lub the steel wool because it will scratch!!!!
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Old 12-11-07, 04:11 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by unworthy1 View Post
start MILD then go coarser/heavier if you aren't seeing any results. I'd choose either a very fine scratchy pad (3M Scotchbrite gray or white) and use WD40 as step one...then go to bronze wool and WD40, then try an acid (I'd use Phosphoric first, then Oxalic), and as a last choice a very fine (0000) steel wool with a LIGHT touch and the above solvents/acids. You can always go scratchier, but can't go back to polish out those deep scratches without risking the plating. YRMV
Listen, I need to point out if he uses oxalic acid he should just use it first thing. Don't do anything else to the rust, just soak it in oxalic acid. The whole point and magic of the stuff is that it requires almost zero labor. You don't have to rub anything off, just soak it and maybe run a white scotch-brite pad over the surface a couple times and it works.

I've got an old gitane frame that had surface rust on every inch soaking in it right now. 90% of the rust is gone with zero rubbing. The chrome is 100% rust free now and all I did was soak it.

If you use oxalic acid- soak first, rubbing later if you have to.
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Old 12-11-07, 04:33 PM   #10
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Where can I get the stuff? Will any average hardware store like home depot or lowes have it, or will I need to go somewhere special?

Thanks!

Brett
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Old 12-11-07, 04:41 PM   #11
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look for wood bleach.
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Old 12-11-07, 04:53 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by CV-6 View Post
On chrome, you want to use bronze wool, not steel wool.
+1, or Oxalic acid, most of the others, scotchbrite, steel wool, scratch your chrome
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Old 12-11-07, 06:16 PM   #13
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The only thing that I am going to point out here is this:


C H R O M E + A B R A I S O N = G A R B A G E.


Don't take my word for it , consult a recognized chrome shop.


Regards,
J T
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Old 12-11-07, 07:47 PM   #14
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Lowes and Home Depot might not carry it, and if they do they would have containers of it larger than you need. The smaller hardware store chains typically sell it as wood bleach as mentioned above. Comes as crystals. I bought some (like a pound or so) from an ACE hardware store in a white plastic tub. Might be close to the paint section. Cost +/- $7 or so. Some here suggest using gloves when handling it.

And depending on what you are cleaning you don't have to use the real fine steel wool. Even courser wool works well with WD-40 applied liberally. Just don't be rough with it. I wouldn't use courser wool on super nice parts but on steel parts and parts on flip bikes it works just fine for me if that's the only steel wool I have.

Last edited by BlankCrows; 12-11-07 at 10:24 PM. Reason: addition
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Old 12-11-07, 07:54 PM   #15
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I was always told not to use steel wool on rusty metal because it will leave small traces behind and nothing rusts faster than steel wool and was told to use bronze wool with a little machine oil for that reason. I usually use Semichrome and a natural bristle toothbrush but the brushes are getting hard to find. I will try the Oxalic acid based on the endorsements. I also heard from car restorers about electrolytic rust removal with a trickle charger and a tub of sodium carbonate solution that I also want to try.
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Old 12-12-07, 03:46 PM   #16
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Bad photos, but an example of the wonders of oxalic acid is here:

http://losangeles.craigslist.org/lac/bik/506615481.html

That's a cheapo I'm selling for cheapo. See the bright line of white and orange on the seattube? That's where the water line was in the tub I used.

I need to get a tall, thin tub so the whole frame can fit.
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