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Tony

Mle 15 - remove rust while keeping the original colour

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Hello,
Does anyone have an idea of how to remove the darker patches of rust on this helmet without making it look as though it’s been rubbed down with sandpaper?
I was thinking either a low grade wire wool or aluminium foil with some WD40, has anyone tried these methods? A good 50% of the original blue colour is still present and the helmet is more solid than it looks. I don't want to do a complete restoration, I'd just like to clean it up a bit.
Tony

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Thanks for the replies.

After looking at the link I should probably leave it as be but, and there's always a but, as I only paid A$10 for it I'm going to try a little 00 grade wire wool with oil on a spot somewhere where it doesn't really notice.

I did try aluminium foil with oil on my old 1950s push bike, it came up ok but not brilliant. I'll post a pic of the result when I have the time to do it.

Tony

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Hi Tony,

I use 0000 grade steel wool in my shop for finish work and have also used it on steel artifacts. There is a light machine oil with the brand name of 3in1 that works well. The lubercant seems to allow the wool to "float over the original finish yet removes the higher points which is the rust. This will not be a quick operation as 0000 is pretty fine and won't remove rust very quickly so be ready for a good deal of work. I've used this on hunting weapons which are heavily blued with small patches of corrosion with success. You can get the 4 "0" (0000) steel wool at cabinet and furniture finishing supply shops. The secondary reason I use 4"0" on cabinets is that it comes without any oil on the wool where other courser grades always comes with a coating of oil to prevent rusting while being stored.

You already have the correct attitude in trying any method on a small area first. Considering the price this may be the perfect specimen to attempt a little restoration.

Good luck and let us know how it turns out.

Regards

Brian

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Hi Tony,

I use 0000 grade steel wool in my shop for finish work and have also used it on steel artifacts. There is a light machine oil with the brand name of 3in1 that works well. The lubercant seems to allow the wool to "float over the original finish yet removes the higher points which is the rust. This will not be a quick operation as 0000 is pretty fine and won't remove rust very quickly so be ready for a good deal of work. I've used this on hunting weapons which are heavily blued with small patches of corrosion with success. You can get the 4 "0" (0000) steel wool at cabinet and furniture finishing supply shops. The secondary reason I use 4"0" on cabinets is that it comes without any oil on the wool where other courser grades always comes with a coating of oil to prevent rusting while being stored.

You already have the correct attitude in trying any method on a small area first. Considering the price this may be the perfect specimen to attempt a little restoration.

Good luck and let us know how it turns out.

Regards

Brian

Thanks Brian - I've learned something. Best thing about GMIC - expert replies to questions.

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Hello guys,

I would suggest to avoid steel wool in this case. We should have a "chemical approach". It can remove rust and preserve the original colour. Steel wool can make damages to the original colour. If you are interested please let me know.

Best regards,

Aurora

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Brian,
I actually have grade 000 wool, not grade 00 as I first thought. I used that with WD 40 (similar to 3 in 1) instead of buying some 0000 grade and am quite happy with the result. I know I won’t remove the heavier rusted parts of the helmet with such a fine grade and I didn’t really spend more than about 45 minutes rubbing away however, as I’ve already said, I’m happy with the result.
Unfortunately my photographic skills aren’t what they used to be. One photo shows the difference between one half rubbed down and the other yet to be done and the others are show how it looks at the moment.
Aurora,
All though I’ve already gone over the helmet with a low grade wire wool I’d still be more than interested in hearing your suggestion.
Tony

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Aurora, are the chemicals easily available to buy over the counter?

Tony

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Hi Tony,
I sent a PM. I don't write here because I prefer to prevent improper use ( kids, etc.)
Aurora

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Hi Tony,
I prefer to prevent improper use ( kids, etc.)
Aurora

Ooooohhh... you do it with some weed and a bottle of Tequila!

I like!!! :-)

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Chris,

you have to use two different solutions. I sent a PM to Tony. If he is still interested I can send another PM with the whole process.

Chris, have fun but remember to be responsible!! ;-)

Cheers,

Aurora

Edited by Aurora

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Hi Tony,

A vast improvement.

Well done, if you decide to go farther with the cleaning please post those results as well.

Regards

Brian

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Thanks Brian.

I'll give Aurora's method a go too but that probably won't happen for a while as I'll be back at work soon, the helmet lives in a different country than my work place however, we'll be reunited later in the year.

Tony

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It is time to describe the whole process to remove rust. To avoid an improper use (kids, etc.) chemicals will be encrypted ( you can PM to know them).

Read CAREFULLY: you MUST use latex gloves. DO NOT breathe fumes. Use "goggles".

Please operate as follows:

1) We have to prepare the first solution. Take a plastic bucket. Fill it with LW. You will add OA's crystals ( one soup spoon per 2 liters of LW or 1.5 glasses per 20 liters if you have to "preserve" a big item). Do not use more OA crystals, you will simply lose your crystals and you could have a yellowish "patina". LW's temperature can speed up the process ( I suggest to avoid high temperature, it could damage colour, don't forget you have an old item in your hands). OA crystals and LW must be mixed very well, you must have a solution with no visible crystals inside. Put your item in this solution for 1 hour ( no more than 1 hour) Every now and then mix that solution to avoid the precipitate. After one hour keep your "iron" ( remember to wear your latex gloves to protect your hands) and see OA solution's effects. Brush your item ( use a brush with plastic bristles). If you are satisfied you can start with the second step. If you want to remove more rust put it again in that solution and wait ( 1 hour), Then "work" again with your brush;

2) Second step. Now you are satisfied. Don't forget you have worked with and acid solution. That solution is still working ( your item is not in your bucket but our solution is working!).

Wash it with water (cold water). Prepare the second solution ( you need another plastic bucket). As you remember the first solution was acid. The second BASIC solution helps us to neutralize the first solution ( basic solution: water + SB). Wash your item in the second solution (use another brush to remove any yellow halos);

Now you can dry your item.

The first solution can remove rust and "improve" items' colour. Advanced collectors consider OA crystals as a Chemistry's miracle. Do not insert more items in the same solution. AN OBJECT AT A TIME! This process can take 1-6 hours ( more rust... more hours) and is specially indicated for fragile objects (with paint...). You can use it when you can't work with steel wool.

I suggest to start with an "iron" without value. I suggest a simple philosophy: "learning by doing". Improve your sensibility with a valueless iron and then you will start with your military items. Remember to protect some parts from these solutions ( wood, leather, fabric. etc.). Some collectors protect wood with wax, others do the same with a plastic wrap. Others think they can restore wood with OA solution, I do not agree.

DISCLAIMER: I will be not there to check your "first experience" so I will be not considered responsible for damages occurred to people or/and items. Remember all cautions I suggested, Keep away your children from these chemicals. Remember to dispose of the first solution according to your laws.

Aurora

Edited by Aurora

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Aurora,

Thanks for the instructions. I'll see how easy it is to buy the ingredients first and will then try it out with something I don't mind making mistakes with.

Tony

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