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Dave Stephan




Location: Australia
Joined: 16 Mar 2012

Posts: 25

PostPosted: Wed 25 Apr, 2012 9:29 pm    Post subject: Surface Rust         Reply with quote

How many here have woken up in the morning to find a helmet covered in light rust due ones own laziness? I have fallen victim to my own carelessness, ladies and gentlemen. Please oh please oh please help me. Cry

Let me give you the back story. I went to an event and my helmet at that point had a little oil on it. Over the weekend it was covered in my prints and after the two days I didn't wipe and reoil it. Then I woke up and it was rusty. Not too bad, all over, but just light fingerprint marks. So much for my mirror finish.

Disobeying all the rules of steel care, I put some rust remover on that bad boy. It did the job, more or less. But then I had dark patches of rust remover all over it. So I got my 600 sandpaper, worked my way up to 1500 and it did the job... MORE OR LESS.

So now I have a reasonably shiny helmet covered in scratches and brown freckles either from the rust or the rust remover, I don't know which.

The next problem is that over the past few weeks, scary black blotches have appeared on the top of the helmet. They're small but they aren't like rust, its like some horrible, black, hard mold that I can't get off. Even though it was covered in lamp oil it still appeared, so I don't know what the deal is.

So now I need to know:
1. What are the freckles all over the helmet? Rust or rust remover? How do I remove it? Raising my polishing mediums didn't work.
2. How do I buff out scratches? I should've started at 800, 600 was very gritty.
3. What is the scary black lumps on my helmet?

I want my mummy.

I have no quarrel with you, good Sir Knight.
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J. Hargis




Location: Pacific Palisades, California
Joined: 06 Feb 2012
Likes: 22 pages

Posts: 336

PostPosted: Wed 25 Apr, 2012 10:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, all I can add is that I hope you didn't pay an arm and a leg for this helmet. Sounds like a disaster.

Very amusing post though.

Jon

A poorly maintained weapon is likely to belong to an unsafe and careless fighter.
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Quinn W.




Location: Bellingham, WA
Joined: 02 May 2009

Posts: 197

PostPosted: Wed 25 Apr, 2012 10:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I wouldn't call it a disaster. Of course this is not what you hoped your armor would end up looking like, but it's steel, and historically it was designed to be used and abused. I know it's not ideal, but to some degree these things give it personality. Maybe it came from fingerprints rather than the mud and blood of a long campaign, but this is a naturally occurring effect that would have happened to most armor historically (maybe not the rust remover chemicals, but all in all).
I'm not trying to say you should go do this to everything you buy, but since there's nothing you can do to restore a perfect mirror finish you might as well be optimistic and embrace it for its flaws. But crying over it or considering it a disaster or a complete loss and throwing it in the scrap pile is only legitimate if you have a highly specific view of what armor should be.

"Some say that the age of chivalry is past, that the spirit of romance is dead. The age of chivalry is never past, so long as there is a wrong left unredressed on earth"
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Dave Stephan




Location: Australia
Joined: 16 Mar 2012

Posts: 25

PostPosted: Wed 25 Apr, 2012 10:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

J. Hargis wrote:

Very amusing post though.


Yeah laugh it up my friend, one day you shall wake up with a helmet of brown. Then I will be the one laughing, mwuahahahahah. Cool

Ahem, yes.. well. The helmet isn't too far gone, I just don't know what this hard black pudding on it is. It looks like somebody ate sticky date all over it and forgot to wipe it off. Well its not that bad.

I'm just concerned about polishing it anymore. I've already revealed some of the solder joins on it, if I rub too hard it'll become a hat! I'll put a picture up later of this so called 'hard blackness'.

I don't think I can do anything about the freckles now but advice is still welcome. I'm more concerned about the scratches at this point.

I REALLY want my mummy. But she's out so can I borrow somebody else's? Cry

I have no quarrel with you, good Sir Knight.
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Aleksei Sosnovski





Joined: 04 Mar 2008

Posts: 313

PostPosted: Thu 26 Apr, 2012 1:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Frankly speaking I don't understant what you are talking about. Rust is perfectly normal, can be removed very easily and has never caused me any problems. If a helmet is rusty-use some sand paper or (much better) scotch-brite on it http://www.freemansupply.com/ScotchBriteIndustr.htm. It does wonders. If you want it polished, go with various grits of sand paper after you cleaned it (I never do it because armor will get rusty again and while cleaning off the rust with scotch-brite takes 2 minutes polishing it by hand takes 2 hours). If the helmet is scratched during use you won't be able to remove rust from these scratches. You can sand it for many-many hours and eventually reduce the thickness of the metal enough for the scratches to disappear, but i'd recommend not doing it. The only reasonable thing is to use steel brush to clean as much rust from the scratches as possible and then just oil the helmet.

Quote:
I just don't know what this hard black pudding on it is


I don't know it either. The only hard black stuff that can appear on steel is iron oxide. But it does not appear in normal conditions, you have to heat the steel for it to appear. Or use some chemicals. So the conclusion is obvious: don't use some strange chemicals on your armor. Or at least clean your armor properly after you have used these chemicals. And then oil your armor.

Quote:
I'm just concerned about polishing it anymore. I've already revealed some of the solder joins on it, if I rub too hard it'll become a hat


WHAT?! What solders are you speaking about? Modern helmets are usually welded together, never seen a soldered one. And just how much metal can you remove with 600 grit sandpaper? It will take you tens of hours of work and several square meters of sand paper to remove even 1/10 of a millimeter of steel from the surface of the helmet!

Quote:
Even though it was covered in lamp oil


Lamp oil? That's a pretty exotic stuff to cover your armor with! I usually use olive oil because it is always available at home and smells pretty nice. Machine oil is also OK but is usually too liquid for my taste. I used silicone oil to oil my swords and it worked fine too. Lineseed oil is OK but it will eventually dry and get dark and messy because of all the dust that sticks to it. Rust protective liquids such as CRC 3-36 also work very well and are very easy to apply. http://www.crcindustries.com/ei/content/news-3-36.aspx
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Dave Stephan




Location: Australia
Joined: 16 Mar 2012

Posts: 25

PostPosted: Thu 26 Apr, 2012 1:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Durrrrrrr.. uhurururururh.

I'm so silly. I meant welds, not solder joins. See its a great helm and where the faceguard goes down past the pot there's a weld. I just revealed some of the surface metal and I'm worried about damaging the weld. The welds had very thin hairline cracks through them from purchase.

Olive oil sounds much better and cheaper.

Is it safe to clean steel with methylated spirits? I don't use any of that dyed stuff, just plain cleaning spirits. See the oil attracts dirt and grime to the helmet, so I need to wipe it off and reoil it often.

Also, if I was to paint steel, what is an acceptable, water tight paint that will adhere to it? I won't paint my helmet except on the inside.

I have no quarrel with you, good Sir Knight.
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Mick Jarvis




Location: Australia
Joined: 18 Jul 2010

Posts: 76

PostPosted: Thu 26 Apr, 2012 2:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

if you want to take the oil off it use turps not metho
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Mark T




PostPosted: Thu 26 Apr, 2012 4:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dave,

Some quick responses:

1. For rust removal and polishing, in Australia, Autosol is good stuff - available at any hardware or automotive shop. If that doesn't do the trick, the American product Noxon (which many here have recommended - do a search to find out more and why) can be imported just fine ... lots of sellers on eBay, for example. First time I used it, I was very impressed. Just make sure you remove all residue very thoroughly.

2. If you do use turps or metho, bear in mind that both of them leave residue, which can then mess with whatever you do next. Best cleaner for light oil is isopropyl alcohol - you can buy a 125 ml bottle of Diggers brand, in a pump spray, at any Bunnings for a few dollars. Just don't get rubbing alcohol (ie from a supermarket) as it has additives. A good trick for wiping it on and off is borrowed from modern Japanese sword care - just use thick, non-perfumed high-quality facial tissues. They work a treat, and quality ones won't leave any flecks of paper fibre behind. Repeat with second (or even third) spray of alcohol and new tissue to be sure.

3. Your question about paint: any rust proof paint will work, though not all brands are created equal. Pressure packs are easier to use in ensuring light, even coats which you then apply second coats to, but are hard to use on helmets if you only want to do the inside (overspray will fly up/out and around, and add more little dots to your helm). Brushes work, but can be hard to get in some nooks and crannies. I use a careful and judicious combination of both, with lots of masking tape combined with quick clean-up for overspray prevention and control. Be sure to follow the directions to the letter - don't apply too thickly, and leave a lot of time before the second coat. And, like any treatment for metal, surface prep is key. Surface prep is key. Surface prep is key. Oh, and if you want to 'cheat' a bit, and use a paint that will look like metal from a distance, you can get Cold Gal, or a matt-silver metallic rustproof spray. Both function differently, so read the directions. Personally, I find that Cold Gal can scratch easily, but maybe it's just been my application and use. However, painting helms was used historically, and many modern makers and LH folks do it.

4. For items that are handled by others, Renaissance Wax is wonderful stuff. It's not historically accurate, but hey, neither is modern steel. Do searches here for details.

5. Also do searches here for rust. There are many. There might even be some where some generous soul like Chad or myself have done the work for you and cross-linked to other threads on the topic. You're not the first to come crying here, although I think you're the first to ask for your mummy ... which I think is why we've all chimed in with help, rather than saying use the %*#@* search function! Wink

6. You could also try cold blueing. There's now an importer in Australia of one of the better brands ... I forget the name, but do a search for blueing here and you'll find it; then do a general online search for the distributor. The marking will still be visible under the blueing, but not as obvious as it will blend in a bit. However, even moreso with blueing, surface prep is key ... I ignored this cardinal rule, and got a streaky outcome. Blueing + Ren Wax on top = as rust proof as you'll probably get. (I'm in a humid area; swords need to be re-oiled monthly, but my blued + Ren Wax helm looks just the same one year on ... amazing.)

7. If all else fails, you don't have rust, your helmet has character, and you have had character building.

Big Grin

Mark T

Chief Librarian/Curator, Isaac Leibowitz Librarmoury

Schallern sind sehr sexy!
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Mark T




PostPosted: Thu 24 Jul, 2014 7:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

An important 'public health' note about Noxon, which contains ammonia - while the bottle tells you it's an eye and skin irritant, it doesn't say anything about it being a nose/respiratory/lung irritant.

I recently bought a couple of pieces of secondhand armour which were covered in rust on arrival. Noxon is great as a first-level response to get rid of the top layer of rust, followed by a 'rust eraser' for taking back to bare steel, and then Autosol for polish - finished with Ren Wax.

However, my previous Noxon uses had been on small patches; these pieces were quite large and required applying a lot of Noxon. I treated the first piece outside a couple of weeks ago, and really noticed the strong ammonia fumes; ended up with a minor headache.

Next piece was last night, which I did inside the house. While all the internal doors were open, and I was in the large open-plan main room, I had a headache within minutes, and today have inflamed nasal passage, throat, and lungs ... I'm not particularly susceptible to chemical fumes, but have been pretty knocked around by it.

So learn from my experience: if you're going to use Noxon, only use outside or in a well-ventilated workshop!

Chief Librarian/Curator, Isaac Leibowitz Librarmoury

Schallern sind sehr sexy!
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Edward Lee




Location: New York
Joined: 05 Jul 2013

Posts: 313

PostPosted: Thu 24 Jul, 2014 8:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My arms are rusted because I'm lazy. I used 400 grit sandpaper to remove the rust spot that couldn't be removed by Metal Glo, and then I use higher grit to polish it back.
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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

Posts: 1,815

PostPosted: Fri 25 Jul, 2014 1:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark T wrote:
An important 'public health' note about Noxon, which contains ammonia - while the bottle tells you it's an eye and skin irritant, it doesn't say anything about it being a nose/respiratory/lung irritant.

I recently bought a couple of pieces of secondhand armour which were covered in rust on arrival. Noxon is great as a first-level response to get rid of the top layer of rust, followed by a 'rust eraser' for taking back to bare steel, and then Autosol for polish - finished with Ren Wax.

However, my previous Noxon uses had been on small patches; these pieces were quite large and required applying a lot of Noxon. I treated the first piece outside a couple of weeks ago, and really noticed the strong ammonia fumes; ended up with a minor headache.

Next piece was last night, which I did inside the house. While all the internal doors were open, and I was in the large open-plan main room, I had a headache within minutes, and today have inflamed nasal passage, throat, and lungs ... I'm not particularly susceptible to chemical fumes, but have been pretty knocked around by it.

So learn from my experience: if you're going to use Noxon, only use outside or in a well-ventilated workshop!

Noxon is fairly mild compared to other irritants and has been quite useful for me. The oxalic acid component in it is quite effective. You must have been using it in a very large quantity, as I use it in very small and close rooms. I use it with various grades of plastic scrubbies. Let it set after slathering on and then scrubbing off. Mineral oil with fine wire wool is a lot faster but much more aggressive. Aluminum foil and mineral oil gentler on old blades than wire wool but Noxon and plastic (blue scotch brite type scrubbies and yellow open mesh scrubbies) are my main choices for surface rust on antiques. It is, after all, a favorite polish with a track record back many decades. Shake well before dispensing. The msds easy enough to find.

Liquid Wrench is deadly but a quick cutter.

Cheers

GC

Cheers
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Mark T




PostPosted: Fri 25 Jul, 2014 3:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Glen,

Yes, I was using it in large quantities, as I had to do a whole piece of armour.

I'm curious about leaving it to set before wiping off, as the instructions don't specify this, but I can see how you could just apply it and walk away from the piece, so you're not inhaling it as it cures. I'm guessing the curing would also help, in that you're not just wiping around the liquid form, which might give off more fumes. Thanks for the tip!

I tend to use it with grey Scotch-Brites: these are aggressive enough to deal with very light rust, and anything deeper than that gets handled by the rust eraser. I'm not so keen on fine steel wool, as I can imagine that small strands could get caught in armour and contribute to rust.

Ah, Neil Young, you were so correct ...

Chief Librarian/Curator, Isaac Leibowitz Librarmoury

Schallern sind sehr sexy!
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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

Posts: 1,815

PostPosted: Fri 25 Jul, 2014 4:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yes, letting it set a bit lets the oxalic acid work the rust and grime a bit. Bronze wool, also from the kitchen section (Chore Boy) is another pencil in the tool box. Noxon has aluminum oxide as well, for the grit factor. Nevr-Dull works well, with white spirits, ground quartz and clay.

Cheers

GC
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Matias Tonazzi




Location: Buenos Aires
Joined: 13 Jul 2014

Posts: 9

PostPosted: Fri 25 Jul, 2014 5:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In my limited experience with steel, at worst those black dots can be deep rust.

I've observed rust has 3 stages: red/orange when it's very superficial; brownish as it bites deeper, and then black. After black, you're not far from a hole onto the surface. So let's just hope it's the rust remover.

Now, a practical, but not historical method to preserve steel from rust and even removing up to the early stages of the brownish phase that I use is rubbing the surface with a kitchen sponge with WD40 on it. The process is simple and leaves the piece with a lovely matte finish (if you want a mirror finish, you'll have to then resort to fine grain sandpapers).
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