ausfire

wrought + molasses

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There are differing opinions on cleaning old metal with molasses. Just thought I would post a pic of a big lump of old wrought iron (40mm diameter) which I found in the scrap a while ago. It has been sitting in a 20% molasses solution for about 9 months. Gave it a wash and a quick brush with a wire brush and here's how it looks. I like the texture. No idea what to do with it other than admire its lustrous texture. Anyone else using the molasses clean?

 

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Nice cleaning job, but I like my molasses on a hot, buttered biscuit.:D

Vinegar takes a few hours instead of 9 months.  On the other hand,... the slow process of the molasses probably etches the WI and brings out the texture better(?).  Might have to try that on some WI rods I have stashed away for a rainy day.  Probably will put it in a PVC tube and close off the ends to let it soak.

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Well, the trunk of your hand wrought tree is done...now you have to forge the branches and leaves!  It certainly looks great.  I admire your patience.

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Here in the UK, "Men in Sheds" use molasses to clean up old tools sent to them for refurbishment before they distribute them to relevant places

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Ive used molasses for stuff I dont want any aggressive stripping on. I find usually a month is more than long enough.

Last thing I used it for was a pile of boat roller mounts I pulled off an old trailer I was using as a donor. The galvo caused a few issues, but sure strips rust away quite well.

 

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It's the phosphorous content that makes molasses so good at converting rust back into iron/steel. It doesn't dissolve the rust it deoxidizes it like electrolysis.  Carbonated soda works as well for the same reason. Naval Jelly is IIRC 30% phosphoric acid, a surfacant and a thickener to make it stick on vertical or overhead surfaces. I've diluted it in water as a non-aggressive soak to convert or is that "revert?" rust back into steel.

I once used the term "reduce" to describe phosphoric acid's effect on rust and got a flaming hail of emails telling me how wrong I was. Some were from darned good friends and of the 75 or so emailers telling me how wrong I was and the other 1,200 subscribers I don't know if one person gave it a try. Not my loss.

Just don't let any phosphoric acid solution dry on iron or steel unless you WANT a phosphoric oxide flat black patina. Rinse it, neutralize it with baking soda, rinse and oil. It WILL begin rusting as soon as it dries and rust fast, Fast, FAST.

Frosty The Lucky.

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9 hours ago, Lou L said:

Well, the trunk of your hand wrought tree is done...now you have to forge the branches and leaves!  It certainly looks great.  I admire your patience.

Not really patience, Lou. More like forgetfulness. I had forgotten about the drum of stuff with this piece and a load of rail spikes.

I never thought of a wrought iron tree. I have loads of old WI bed bars that would make nice branches. I have done WI leaves but it's pretty unforgiving stuff after using mild.

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On September 8, 2016 at 4:52 AM, ausfire said:

Not really patience, Lou. More like forgetfulness. I had forgotten about the drum of stuff with this piece and a load of rail spikes.

I never thought of a wrought iron tree. I have loads of old WI bed bars that would make nice branches. I have done WI leaves but it's pretty unforgiving stuff after using mild.

It really is beautiful as it is but I see a gorgeous tree trunk.  If I've inspired you to something I'm honored. 

I can almost believe the "I forgot about it" hypothesis because I would have as well.  Then again, that's why I don't do experiments like that.

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Aus, I would love to see a tree. I also see it as an awesome trunk to anything. A candle holder, a stand, a jewelry holder, the body of a stick style bug, the possibilities are endless, but a tree? I'd love to see it. :) no pressure or anything......

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@ausfire  -  My toolmaker bells went off!  I'm not artistic, at all, but the texture wants to be touched every day...  Eyeball scaling agin the thumb of the glove it looks to be 18 - 25mm?  Looks so much like driftwood, absolutely gorgeous.  You should forget more often.

How would it work for handle scales on a big "Perfect Handle" twisting wrench?  Too heavy for cutter scales; a heavy slow use tool though might work.  You would have to saw split it, which stabs me in the heart a wee bit....  

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18 hours ago, aessinus said:

@ausfire  -  My toolmaker bells went off!  I'm not artistic, at all, but the texture wants to be touched every day...  Eyeball scaling agin the thumb of the glove it looks to be 18 - 25mm?  Looks so much like driftwood, absolutely gorgeous.  You should forget more often.

 

I's 40mm diameter and just over 200mm long. Right now it's sitting on the bench in my work forge. Sometimes I get questions from tourists about different kinds of iron and it's a good example of the texture of wrought. They just have to touch it!  I have another piece half sawn through and bent with the fibres all poking up.

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On 2016-09-08 at 6:40 AM, Frosty said:

It's the phosphorous content that makes molasses so good at converting rust back into iron/steel. It doesn't dissolve the rust it deoxidizes it like electrolysis.

Thnk you Frosty! I have been trying to find out why molasses work. I could not imagine that the sugar would have done it

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I have used a weak molasses and water solution to clean up a Brown Bess barrel and lock,  rust just washed off, good thing about it, does not attack sound metal. I have also cleaned up various axe heads and the like.  A good rinse and spray with wd40 as they flash rust quick after rinsing.  Don't put any pot metal or aluminum as it will destroy those metals

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I meant to include my mate holding the Bess barrel part way through the cleaning process with molasses !593327af1d473_wroughtironbarrel.thumb.jpg.2d22fb159014fd699f9dc5e13115053c.jpg

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