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I Forge Iron

Cleaning Galvanized

Chris Comtois

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Hey all.  I live in Bay City, Michigan, right here  (points at hand - if you're from Michigan, you get it).  Anyway, we have a long history of shipping on the Great Lakes in and around my area.  My father is a marine historian and has accumulated his version of a blacksmith's scrap pile.  He has gifted me with a few ship lamps that I'd like to refinish.  The body of the lamps is galvanized, very little brass fittings.  The galvanized coating has gone kind of rough and chalky.  Anybody know of a way to clean this up?  I thought about a vinegar wash, but I don't necessarily want to strip the coating, just clean it up. 


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When I was in the USCG we cleaned all the chalky galvanized items with a paste made out of baking soda then used automotive paste wax to protect it. Do you see any red rust with the rough areas? If so the zinc coating has been damaged and re-plating is about the only cure for that. Pictures would help.

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