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Dealing with surface rust?


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I started playing with my latest project today, carefully stripping down and cleaning each piece individually, I came across some minor surface rust. I soaked the parts in degreaser and initially went at the part with peg wood to loosen the surface. I then re-cleaned them and had a go with a fibreglass pen before cleaning again and soaking in oil for 10 mins.

The results look ok under general magnification but not so great when looking closer. 

How far should one go with such surface rust and what would be the correct next step in dealing with it??

Thanks. 

227BE572-C60A-49C5-AA27-1733B7D0220D.jpeg

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25 minutes ago, Robbie010 said:

I started playing with my latest project today, carefully stripping down and cleaning each piece individually, I came across some minor surface rust. I soaked the parts in degreaser and initially went at the part with peg wood to loosen the surface. I then re-cleaned them and had a go with a fibreglass pen before cleaning again and soaking in oil for 10 mins.

The results look ok under general magnification but not so great when looking closer. 

How far should one go with such surface rust and what would be the correct next step in dealing with it??

Thanks. 

227BE572-C60A-49C5-AA27-1733B7D0220D.jpeg

Five minutes of ultrasonic bath at +35C - ish in appropriate cleaning solution (many choices available) will make it shiny, but (there is always BUT), eventually with moisture and time rust will come back unless a new coating is applied.

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1 hour ago, Robbie010 said:

Would a compound such as Polywatch be ok to use?

No, that's for plastic crystals. Try a minuscule amount of household silverware cleaner, or the like.

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After mechanical cleaning, US cleaning will help to dislodge loose rust particles.  The US process generates micro bubbles which will 'hydraulic off' any loose bits.  The remaining rust needs to be passivated by converting the rust to something else.  This is where cola can be useful as it contains phosphoric acid which converts rust to ferrous phosphate which is inert but tends to be dark coloured.  Another way is to soak in warm/hot diesel engine lube oil, these have a high level of corrosion inhibitors (more than petrol engine oils).  Need to soak for several hours to let the inhibitors to get to work. This should keep rust away, but only a full mechanical removal will remove it for good.  To protect for future, rub in a waxy substance as this will fill voids and may stay in place better.  Grease should not be used for corrosion prevention as most greases contain some water and once the inhibitors are 'used up', corrosion can occur under the grease film.

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22 hours ago, Robbie010 said:

Thanks.

Would a compound such as Polywatch be ok to use?

I swear by this stuff, I use it to remove rust and restore old motorcycle parts, I even use it on carbs since it wont damage plastic and rubber seals. I wish I had some before and afters to show you but you just wouldnt believe it if i did. It looks like one of those fake pitch commercials that air on TV at 4am.....they actually sell a similar product on some watch material sites but i have only seen "Vaporust" which sucks compared to this....its also non toxic and non corrosive. You can actually drink this stuff. Use with ultrasonic for faster results....you can buy this at a hardware store like home depot or online.

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I haven't tried it on watch parts (yet, a worthy 404 victim is en route now from Pakistan), but the above is similar to what I intend to use: Evaporust. Red rust (ferrous oxide) is physically larger than the black rust that results from the use of said concoctions. Ferrous oxide is Fe2O3 with the iron in a +3 oxidation state, while ferric oxide is FeO with the iron in a +2 oxidation state (disclaimer, I had to look that up to get it right). The ferrous oxide (red rust) is physically larger than the pure iron it replaces, and as it expands it exposes more iron below it, allowing further oxidation. Ferric oxide (black rust) is roughly the same size as the iron it's replacing, and does not lead to further oxidation. Proper treatment of rust involves conversion to black rust, but also some mechanical abrasion or something similar to ensure there is no hidden red rust. If you're not really all that worried about surface finish (for instance, working with large cast iron parts), wire wheel the sumbitch down then convert. I you need to retain as much original material as possible (for instance, very fine screw threads), you'll want to convert, polish, and convert again. 

The above solutions, unlike various unknown concentrations of phosphoric acid, are very selective and will not attack other metals. The solution (at least in the case of Evaporust, though I'm sure the Metal Rescue product is substantially similar) is primarily soap, and will dissolve oils and greases as a means of furthering its task. The Evaporust (only speaking to the product I know) is gentle and non-toxic as well (I mentioned in another similar thread recently that I learned this first hand after a lengthy conversation with their tech people after spilling nearly a gallon all over my kitchen). 

What I would do* is lightly clean in the ultrasonic in dish soap (and probably ammonia, since that's what I keep on hand for cleaning cases/bracelets) primarily to degrease, lightly clean with a medium bristle toothbrush or similar (nothing too abrasive), convert, polish/fiberglass brush/whatever, convert again, ultrasonic one last time in the dish soap/ammonia, and finally ultrasonic in watch cleaning solution. 

*I'm still very much a novice with the watchmaking. This advice, if it can be called that, comes from years of generally doing these sorts of things, but has not yet been attempted on an actual watch.

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2 hours ago, spectre6000 said:

I haven't tried it on watch parts (yet, a worthy 404 victim is en route now from Pakistan), but the above is similar to what I intend to use: Evaporust. Red rust (ferrous oxide) is physically larger than the black rust that results from the use of said concoctions. Ferrous oxide is Fe2O3 with the iron in a +3 oxidation state, while ferric oxide is FeO with the iron in a +2 oxidation state (disclaimer, I had to look that up to get it right). The ferrous oxide (red rust) is physically larger than the pure iron it replaces, and as it expands it exposes more iron below it, allowing further oxidation. Ferric oxide (black rust) is roughly the same size as the iron it's replacing, and does not lead to further oxidation. Proper treatment of rust involves conversion to black rust, but also some mechanical abrasion or something similar to ensure there is no hidden red rust. If you're not really all that worried about surface finish (for instance, working with large cast iron parts), wire wheel the sumbitch down then convert. I you need to retain as much original material as possible (for instance, very fine screw threads), you'll want to convert, polish, and convert again. 

The above solutions, unlike various unknown concentrations of phosphoric acid, are very selective and will not attack other metals. The solution (at least in the case of Evaporust, though I'm sure the Metal Rescue product is substantially similar) is primarily soap, and will dissolve oils and greases as a means of furthering its task. The Evaporust (only speaking to the product I know) is gentle and non-toxic as well (I mentioned in another similar thread recently that I learned this first hand after a lengthy conversation with their tech people after spilling nearly a gallon all over my kitchen). 

What I would do* is lightly clean in the ultrasonic in dish soap (and probably ammonia, since that's what I keep on hand for cleaning cases/bracelets) primarily to degrease, lightly clean with a medium bristle toothbrush or similar (nothing too abrasive), convert, polish/fiberglass brush/whatever, convert again, ultrasonic one last time in the dish soap/ammonia, and finally ultrasonic in watch cleaning solution. 

*I'm still very much a novice with the watchmaking. This advice, if it can be called that, comes from years of generally doing these sorts of things, but has not yet been attempted on an actual watch.

i have used the evaporust and i swear it does not compare to metal rescue...i never really looked at the difference in the solution so i dont know why that is but, I have put many other watchmakers on to this solution and all of them no longer use evaporust....Only suggestion is if you tend to do soaks instead of shorter ultrasonic all you need is 24hrs you can do 48hr but dont push it because it will then start to turn the metal black.....if you have deep corrosion i do one soak then wire brush then a second soak

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3 hours ago, saswatch88 said:

i have used the evaporust and i swear it does not compare to metal rescue...i never really looked at the difference in the solution so i dont know why that is but, I have put many other watchmakers on to this solution and all of them no longer use evaporust....Only suggestion is if you tend to do soaks instead of shorter ultrasonic all you need is 24hrs you can do 48hr but dont push it because it will then start to turn the metal black.....if you have deep corrosion i do one soak then wire brush then a second soak

That's strange it hasn't worked for you. Evaporust has done me wonders. I leave it in over night and even run it in the US cleaner. Anything remaining usually comes off easy with a brush. I need to try metal rescue though.

If you only have a bit of surface rust, I would just polish though. Not worth the wait in my opinion.

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1 hour ago, alibababoombap said:

That's strange it hasn't worked for you. Evaporust has done me wonders. I leave it in over night and even run it in the US cleaner. Anything remaining usually comes off easy with a brush. I need to try metal rescue though.

If you only have a bit of surface rust, I would just polish though. Not worth the wait in my opinion.

Not really saying evaporust isnt good or didnt work it just took longer to dissolve the rust esp if it was heavy. The metal rescue actually polishes the metal too so not only does it remove the rust it leaves the metal nice and shiny, just remove the part and wipe down with a cloth looks brand new.....if i could show you some of the motorcycle carbs i did you would think that it was new from the factory.

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9 hours ago, saswatch88 said:

 i could show you some of the motorcycle carbs i did you would think that it was new from the factory.

Carbs are made of an alloy of aluminum. They don't rust but form a thin layer of browning ( that's oxidation as well but of the non ferrous type), especially where they contact with fuel and other contaminants. What works on them may not work on steel and iron, and viceversa.

There are tons of videos and tutorials on what is the most effective rust remover on common objects and general mechanical parts, I am surprised electrolysis has not been mentioned, as it is extremely effective and cheap.

However when we talk about watch and clocks I don't think we can apply the same technique and products. We have an abundance of brass parts plus a variety of ones plated to different metals and finishings, which are not so common in other manufafacts. In general, ammonia based solutions are very common and effective, as well the use of tea, but then again, there is no product that is really universal.

Some people spent good money on cleaning machines an professional liquids just to find that these have completely ruined the finishing of some expensive watch parts.

Given the small size we deal with we we have the option of quickly doing a bit of mechanical action to remove the last stubborn stains, that in my experience are alway there after using chemicals. 

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10 hours ago, jdm said:

Carbs are made of an alloy of aluminum. They don't rust but form a thin layer of browning ( that's oxidation as well but of the non ferrous type), especially where they contact with fuel and other contaminants. What works on them may not work on steel and iron, and viceversa.

There are tons of videos and tutorials on what is the most effective rust remover on common objects and general mechanical parts, I am surprised electrolysis has not been mentioned, as it is extremely effective and cheap.

However when we talk about watch and clocks I don't think we can apply the same technique and products. We have an abundance of brass parts plus a variety of ones plated to different metals and finishings, which are not so common in other manufafacts. In general, ammonia based solutions are very common and effective, as well the use of tea, but then again, there is no product that is really universal.

Some people spent good money on cleaning machines an professional liquids just to find that these have completely ruined the finishing of some expensive watch parts.

Given the small size we deal with we we have the option of quickly doing a bit of mechanical action to remove the last stubborn stains, that in my experience are alway there after using chemicals. 

I have used this on steel, iron, nickel, aluminum, brass, zinc, black oxide, and anything with rust or surface rust. As far as carbs go there are steel components that do rust but this solution cleans not just the rust but everything else as well including the old gas varnish. Most watch movements are made of non ferrous metals so they can be anti-magnetic, but the stems for example are consisted of ferrous carbon steel for its tensile strength and they are much more susceptible to rust and corrosion esp. since it has the most exposure to boot. So the stems tend to rust first and then it spreads into the movement, but will usually sit only on the surface of the non ferrous parts. Typically in older waltham/elgin movements the rust will usually be contained to the (ferrous metal parts) ie the stem, keyless works, crown and ratchet wheels. but the plates and bridges will remain untainted, unless it gets heavily infiltrated then you will see a mixture of rust corrosion and surface rust. Some of the later models would use nickel alloy and black oxide steel components, Which attract rust like no tomorrow, but the alloy is so highly resistant to it you have to dissolve the screws in visson or alum, they are a nightmare when rust gets to them.

As far as other metals like in clocks that use brass and other finishes, this solution has a claim that says "safe for anything but rust" so it cant hurt to try it. And that is true! electrolyses should have been mentioned it is very easy and cheap to do and it great when you have rusted components or screws that cant be removed. 

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I have used Ballistol (meaning 'Ballistic Oil') and a 8000 grit wet polishing stick with the part on a hard plastic block.

Before doing this I soak the part in Naphthalene (lighter fluid) and brush with a fibreglass pen brush.  Removed most of the rust but not the staining.

final results produce a mirror finish and no signed of rust.  Also the Ballistol protects the part.

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