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DIY Rust Converter

Old 03-05-18, 03:32 PM
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jadesnakebiker
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DIY Rust Converter

Hi Everyone,

I wanted to share some novice and potentially inaccurate advice about treating rust on steel frames.

I'm currently doing some maintenance on my steel '87 Schwinn Prelude which indeed has some rust.

A friend had told me before that rather than trying to remove rust and then paint over it, you can simply chemically treat the rust itself so that it stabilizes and forms a protective coating over the rest of the steel, turning black in color. This is a pretty cool option in that it sounds like a pretty tough protectant (perhaps tougher than paint) and, if you're into it, retains the bike's worn character.

While you can buy different "rust converters" commercially I was hoping to take a more DIY approach and found this helpful article/video: Make Your Own Rust Converter ? All Natural & Food Grade

The author uses a balsamic vinegar reduction (rich in tannic acid, the chemical that converts iron oxide to iron tannate) which evidently works well!

If people comment on this thread I will follow up with my own results on my cro-moly frame.

Cheers!
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Old 03-05-18, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by jadesnakebiker View Post
Hi Everyone,

I wanted to share some novice and potentially inaccurate advice about treating rust on steel frames.

I'm currently doing some maintenance on my steel '87 Schwinn Prelude which indeed has some rust.

A friend had told me before that rather than trying to remove rust and then paint over it, you can simply chemically treat the rust itself so that it stabilizes and forms a protective coating over the rest of the steel, turning black in color. This is a pretty cool option in that it sounds like a pretty tough protectant (perhaps tougher than paint) and, if you're into it, retains the bike's worn character.

While you can buy different "rust converters" commercially I was hoping to take a more DIY approach and found this helpful article/video: Make Your Own Rust Converter ? All Natural & Food Grade

The author uses a balsamic vinegar reduction (rich in tannic acid, the chemical that converts iron oxide to iron tannate) which evidently works well!

If people comment on this thread I will follow up with my own results on my cro-moly frame.

Cheers!
That sounds very much like Naval jelly.
It also turns the rust to black and hardens.
It isn't a miracle cure by any means.
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Old 03-05-18, 04:16 PM
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Definitely interested to see the results.

I've de-rusted small parts in vinegar before but it's not as good as the evaporust type thing I bought.
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Old 03-05-18, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by PdalPowr View Post
That sounds very much like Naval jelly.
It also turns the rust to black and hardens.
It isn't a miracle cure by any means.
I researched it and you are correct.

While Naval Jelly is often listed as a rust *remover*, it does in fact contain phosphoric acid which is the other most common chemical used in rust conversion (producing ferric phosphate rather than ferric tannate). This article talks about the comparison a bit: https://corrosion-doctors.org/MetalC...-converter.htm

In some of the videos I saw of people using it it did in fact produce that black plating.
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Old 03-05-18, 08:43 PM
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Is balsamic vinegar salad dressing the next miracle chain lube?
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Old 03-07-18, 01:20 PM
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If you are going to repaint, the rust remover will probably show through. You will have to sand it. If you sand the rust remover you'll get down to bare metal anyway. If you are repainting your best results will be sand the rust away, prime, sand (fine grit, then fine wet), rinse, repeat, then paint.

The rust remover is good for applications where appearance is not so important, something that has nook & crannies and is difficult to sand and the paint is just protection, but not so much for looks.
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Old 03-07-18, 02:03 PM
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Iíve done it, white vinegar rubbed on with aluminum foil. If bad enough you will obviously still have pits, but works well.
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Old 03-09-18, 10:57 AM
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Most rust is just surface rust. Since I've got to sand my bike to do the kind of paint job I want, then it's no bother to sand til the rust is gone. It also allows me to see what rust may not be just surface rust and need further inspection.

So simply converting the rust doesn't help much IMO. You converting the rust on a part that is almost eaten through or is hiding a crack does nothing to solve the structural safety issues you might miss and hide from yourself til it fails.
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Old 03-10-18, 12:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Most rust is just surface rust. Since I've got to sand my bike to do the kind of paint job I want, then it's no bother to sand til the rust is gone. It also allows me to see what rust may not be just surface rust and need further inspection.

So simply converting the rust doesn't help much IMO. You converting the rust on a part that is almost eaten through or is hiding a crack does nothing to solve the structural safety issues you might miss and hide from yourself til it fails.


Totally agree. Best to know the depth of your rust problem
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Old 03-10-18, 05:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Gresp15C View Post
Is balsamic vinegar salad dressing the next miracle chain lube?
WHAT does rust conversion (the subject of this thread) have to do with chain lube?

Methinks you are using Balsamic Vinegar to treat ADD or ADHD.... So much for that treatment - and my opinion.
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Old 03-10-18, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by tmac100 View Post
WHAT does rust conversion (the subject of this thread) have to do with chain lube?

Methinks you are using Balsamic Vinegar to treat ADD or ADHD.... So much for that treatment - and my opinion.
The smiley face in my message is a clue that I wasn't being 100% serious.
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Old 03-10-18, 09:17 AM
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I suppose that any attention to anything scribbled on FT is better than no attention at all - and (for some) better than being ignored

FWIW, your post should be in a "chain lube" thread. Just my opinion ...
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Old 03-10-18, 09:56 AM
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It is always so disappointing to encounter the humor challenged.
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Old 03-10-18, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by SteelCharlie View Post
It is always so disappointing to encounter the humor challenged.
Define humor. FWIW, humor is GREAT if on topic as in what this thread is about. If folks want to diverge because of (perhaps AD??) then .... well they open themselves to challenges. I enjoyed the comments re DIY Rust Removal....

That said, I challenged the Brown Sugar....

Lets get back to the discusion at hand regarding rust, etc. We can all identify with it.....

Last edited by tmac100; 03-10-18 at 11:43 AM.
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Old 03-10-18, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Gresp15C View Post
Is balsamic vinegar salad dressing the next miracle chain lube?
O.K. now I am hungry for chain lube.
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Old 03-20-18, 01:07 AM
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I think the balsamic reduction worked well. I boiled it down from half a bottle to maybe half a cup. so a pretty thick reduction.
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Old 03-20-18, 01:24 AM
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Citric acid is a good rust dissolver, whilst not being too harsh on other metals. About a 10% solution in hot water. Won't attack paint. Needs priming straight after rinsing. There are a few threads on BF about it.
I've had good results with the commercial Tannic Acid products too.
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