Oxalic Acid

Discussion in 'Bicycle Restoration Tips' started by spook1s, Mar 28, 2012.

  1. #1 Posted Mar 28, 2012
    spook1s

    spook1s Finally riding a big boys bike

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    I'm hoping this can enlighten some people on the wonders of Oxalic Acid (wood bleach) as a rust remover.

    I have a few questions that I haven't been able to find answers to by searching the web...

    1. How long after mixing the acid with water will it still work? ie. If I mix some today and soak some parts overnight... Can I soak more parts next week if I keep the liquid solution in a properly sealed container? Does it lose it's effectiveness and if so, How soon?

    2. My container says nothing about the amount to mix with water for removing rust from chrome/metal... Is this something all of you have "experimented" with and come up with your own conclusions?
    I know all acids will effect plating eventually. I just don't want to make the solution too strong and eat the chrome off before the rust!.. OR too weak to be non-effective.

    3. Painted parts.... Does it remove paint? I assume it will remove decals but what about painted on striping and darting like that which is on fenders and frames?

    I suppose I could just try it out on some old spare stuff laying around but...

    I would like to have some guidance from some people with previous experience with this stuff before I go diving in and damage valuable parts.... "Haste makes Waste!"
     
  2. #2 Posted Mar 28, 2012
    Dave Marko

    Dave Marko Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe

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    No help here, but great questions!!!!! I've been wondering the same things. Inquiring minds want to know.
     
  3. #3 Posted Mar 28, 2012
    redline1968

    redline1968 Cruisin' on my Bluebird

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    #3 redline1968, Mar 28, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2013
  4. #4 Posted Mar 28, 2012
    spook1s

    spook1s Finally riding a big boys bike

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    Can painted parts be soaked for a lesser amount of time? At all? How fast will it effect the paint and start to "lift" it?

    What about parts that are partially plated and painted... For example... The tank on this one.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. #5 Posted Mar 28, 2012
    spook1s

    spook1s Finally riding a big boys bike

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    Redline, you mentioned rinsing the parts extra good because the solution continues to eat at the metal.. I have read that you can dip the part in a solution of baking soda and water to neutralize the oxalic acid let it soak for half hour or so and then rinse again.

    Is waxing the parts a good enough way to prevent flash rusting afterward?.. or should parts be sprayed with something like WD40... or something else even better?
     
    #5 spook1s, Mar 28, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2012
  6. #6 Posted Mar 28, 2012
    dougfisk

    dougfisk I live for the CABE

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    I have never seen it "lift" or damage paint sufaces. I have noticed it lighten the color of tan and ivory paint. This *may* have been as result of cleaning the surface of microscpic corrosion (??)


     
  7. #7 Posted Mar 28, 2012
    spook1s

    spook1s Finally riding a big boys bike

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    So, would dipping a rusty white bike bring a bright white bike result?

    I've started gathering a crate load of parts for "the bath"... I've even added a few painted parts that need redone anyway just to see what happens.

    I have some parts that only need mild cleaning, parts that are HEAVILY rusted, painted parts, and parts that I have NO hope for... I just want to see what happens! The "NO hope" parts have areas where the plating is completely gone and severe pitting and corrosion are occuring.

    I'll take pics of before and after in case any of you are curious.

    I'm hoping things like seat springs and fork springs come out looking pretty good.

    If anybody else would like to chime in with their mixing ratio or any other do's and dont's.... PLEASE feel free!!

    I'm hoping this thread can help everybody!
     
  8. #8 Posted Mar 28, 2012
    Dave Marko

    Dave Marko Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe

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    Would it be too much trouble for you to take notes? Like the percentage of water to acid and length of time parts submerged? I'd also like to see a photo of the product you're using.
     
  9. #9 Posted Mar 28, 2012
    redline1968

    redline1968 Cruisin' on my Bluebird

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    if you have rust under the paint its going to lift and the paint will eventually lift off. the paint is going to change in color and possibly flake off. so i would consider putting a coating over the paint (on a test part) like hard wax and see if the color/paint will stay on. and yes use a nutralizer like baking soda to stop the acid and then seal the metal with a conditioner. you can get the oxcilic acid at a home depoe or any builders supply ask for a solution to clean pools with. it comes in two plastic bottles. i used one bottle. i can't quite remember what the mix ratio was but i think i did 1 bottle to 10gal but im not sure. the amout of water will weaken the acid and slow it down increasing the time to remove the rust and better control of the removal process. i used gloves and a small brush to scrub the rust off to quicken the time but not recomended. that stuff will clean heavy and light rust with ease and will suprize you when your done but the suface will have small pits where the rust was and can be filled in and look great when done.
     
    #9 redline1968, Mar 28, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2012
  10. #10 Posted Mar 28, 2012
    dougfisk

    dougfisk I live for the CABE

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    I use white crystals and start at about 2 tablespoons per gallon of water. You can use much stronger or weaker; the concentration seems only to affect the speed at which it works. You can collect in a container and re-use, adding more powder if it seems too slow.

    I find it works best on chrome plating that is still mostly sound under the rust. I find it counterproductve if the plating is too far gone. It turns some types of plating green, grey or black. It quickly removes some type of plating used on spoke nipples.
     
  11. #11 Posted Mar 28, 2012
    hoofhearted

    hoofhearted Saint Lactose The Tolerant

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    BAR KEEPERS FRIEND ... Google it ... Wikipedia it ... get the link to the home page ... active ingredient ..... oxalic acid.
     
  12. #12 Posted Mar 28, 2012
    spook1s

    spook1s Finally riding a big boys bike

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    Dave, No problem... I've taken many pictures of before "the bath".

    I mixed in 4 teaspoons of the white crystals into 1 full gallon jug of warm water. I put some smaller parts in a bucket and dumped the solution in the bucket at 7:00PM tonight. I'm going to let it soak over night and give them a look in the morning.
     
    #12 spook1s, Mar 28, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2012
  13. #13 Posted Mar 29, 2012
    redline1968

    redline1968 Cruisin' on my Bluebird

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    --------------------------------------------------------
     
    #13 redline1968, Mar 29, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2013
  14. #14 Posted Mar 29, 2012
    izee2

    izee2 Finally riding a big boys bike

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    My 2cents

    Hey,

    I've started to use "Wood bleach" with some reserve. Afterwards, I have become a fan. I'll try to answer from what I've found.

    1. How long after mixing the acid with water will it still work? ie. If I mix some today and soak some parts overnight... Can I soak more parts next week if I keep the liquid solution in a properly sealed container? Does it lose it's effectiveness and if so, How soon?

    I have a batch of the mix that has been sitting in a plastic tub for over a month. it is still working but not 100% of what it did originally. Probably around 60%. Biggest problem is when you use the solution the remnants of the rust removal build up on the bottom of the tub. Kind of like a yellow slime. My expirence has been that If something sits directly on the bottom in the "sludge" it will mar or remove some of the finish. Just something to be careful of.

    2. My container says nothing about the amount to mix with water for removing rust from chrome/metal... Is this something all of you have "experimented" with and come up with your own conclusions?
    I know all acids will effect plating eventually. I just don't want to make the solution too strong and eat the chrome off before the rust!.. OR too weak to be non-effective.

    I have been using 1 1/2 tablespoons in one gallon of water. Works just great. Chrome....paint....old tools....anything.

    3. Painted parts.... Does it remove paint? I assume it will remove decals but what about painted on striping and darting like that which is on fenders and frames?

    I have used it on a set of fenders from a old crusty rusty Shelby.....Took off all the rust and left what was left of the paint. All pinstriping (that was there) still stayed. But....after I remove anything from the bath I wash it with soapy water...I use a nylon brush to scrub all parts. I use a little wd40 on everything and if needed I get some 000steel wool and clean up anything left.. Then ,When I got time, I just clean and use a bit of liquid wax and I'm finished. Decals....I don't know. Never used it on anything that had one.

    I have had my hands in the solution(not for long but they were in there fishing around for parts) and all I did was wash them with soap and water. Never had any issues except a little dryness. Not saying you should soak yourself in it but I'm just letting you know what I did.

    Good luck.

    Tom
     
    #14 izee2, Mar 29, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2012
  15. #15 Posted Mar 29, 2012
    spook1s

    spook1s Finally riding a big boys bike

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    Thanks Tom!

    I have been soaking some parts in a pretty strong solution for most of the day. I soaked some parts over night in a solution 4 TEAspoons to a gallon. This morning I took them out, gave them a good scrub and a once over with a brass bristle brush and decided to put them back in... I doubled the amount of crystals by adding 4 more teaspoons full to the mixture for a total of 8 to the gallon

    The parts have been in since about 10AM and will be in until I get home tomorrow around 6:00 PM... Hopefully the plating will not be effected.

    I did notice that the mixture did start to get down in all the little nooks and crannies that are not very accessible by wire brushing.

    I've also noticed the "yellow slime" you speak of... Is this stuff rust goop or just crystals that have settled to the bottom? I will carefully pour the liquid into the jug using a funnel and not get any of the "yellow slime" in, if it is no good.

    Another thing I noticed on part of a springer fork I submerged... I wanted to see if it damaged paint. Well, It didn't damage the original paint, did remove the rust... BUT flash rusting happened almost immediately! Almost to the point where it seemed like I should have rinsed the part in a vat of WD40 instead of water!! This particular part doesn't matter much because it will be getting media blasted, but for other parts that I want to retain original paint yet remove rust... ??? More experimentation coming!! Maybe a quick rinse followed immediately by a spray down with WD?

    Can some of you guys share your ideas on "vats" or soaking tubs for some of the larger things... like frames, fenders, and rims.. I saw one guy used plastic sheeting and built a makeshift fluid holding unit out of the sheeting. I was thinking maybe a kiddie pool or something like that?
     
  16. #16 Posted Mar 29, 2012
    hzqw2l

    hzqw2l Finally riding a big boys bike

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    Deck Cleaner

    I tried the powder but found ZEP Deck cleaner available at Home Depot works better. Cheaper too. 1 Gallon aroud $8 can be mixed with 15 Gallons of water in a large tub. Soak chrome parts overnight and painted parts a few hours and they all come out looking really good.
     
  17. #17 Posted Mar 29, 2012
    brownster69

    brownster69 Finally riding a big boys bike

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    barkeepers freind

    i have used this product but a bit abrasive though for paint i use it religously for vintage porcelain signs it works awesome but for rusted painted surfaces i use 4 ot (0000 ) steel wool soaked with mcguires cleaner wax and old fashion sos pads for chrome sufaces ......



     
  18. #18 Posted Mar 29, 2012
    Dave Marko

    Dave Marko Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe

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    Nice simple concise answer. Doesn't sound intimidating at all. Thank you!!!!!
     
  19. #19 Posted Mar 30, 2012
    izee2

    izee2 Finally riding a big boys bike

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    Last nights experiment

    Hey,

    After posting last night I went to the garage and stuck this old wheel, I think it was off a Thunderjet or a Meteor flight, into the Oxalic acid solution. The tub I have had some parts soaking in it so all I did was dip the part of the rim that would fit into the old mixture. This stuff was made about 5 weeks ago and has had a bunch of things soaked in it. The rim was in it for about 11/12 hours. All I did today was take it out and wash off the solution.

    RqmZAl.jpg lY1SEl.jpg


    Now I have to finish cleaning it. If i keep dipping and turning it will take me until next week...guess I got to get a bigger vat. :)

    You can find some really inexpensive suppliers of Oxalic acid online or on ebay. I haven't tried any of the other suggestions,Yet, but I am happy with this stuff.

    Have Fun
    Tom
     
  20. #20 Posted Mar 30, 2012
    Dave Marko

    Dave Marko Riding a '38 Autocycle Deluxe

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    WOW!!!!! That's really impressive. What will you be using as a rust inhibitor? I usually just use a paste wax after I've cleaned up chrome (the hard way). Do you use something other than wax?
     
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