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Old 25th August 2017, 06:04 PM   #1
Kubur
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Default How to clean rust over gold or silver

Hi Guys

I need some help for this long week-end.
How to clean a hilt or a blade with rust over silver or gold decoration without removing everything?
Especially when the rust is thick...
Thanks!!!!

Kubur
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Old 25th August 2017, 06:58 PM   #2
shayde78
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PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE wait for more knowledgeable responses before you try this method, but I have had some luck with wrapping aluminum foil around an eraser and gently rubbing away the oxidation. Using oil would reduce friction further, and serve to protect the underlying precious metal.

Again, I offer this as a suggestion, but wait until someone with actual conservation experience endorses it, or offers something far more sophisticated. I would hate to see you ruin your piece.
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Old 25th August 2017, 07:52 PM   #3
mariusgmioc
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Cleaning a rusted damascened piece is a very tricky task.

For very little rust over gold koftgari, I used Picreator's Metal Decorroder, then gently wiped off the rust. I managed to leave most of the koftgari in place but there were some losses.

For a more heavily corroded piece, it might be a completely diferent story and I would like to know the answer myself.

PS: What about some electric rust removal?!
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Old 26th August 2017, 05:57 AM   #4
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Hi Kubur

I have reclaimed a good few rusty blades and guns

Below are my experiences, personal opinions and maybe the methods might suit your job

I am aiming for rust free but not polished in all my cleaning, I suppose knowing what you want as an end result is the first question you need to ask yourself.

I have used electrolysis on some bayonets.
It works great but the platina is gone and the metal turns a very grey colour and totally lifeless, my bayonet turned a zinc like colour. looking at the amount of bubbling I think if there was any rust under the gold the gold would come off.

With the Picreators metal de coroner the rust is removed but again the steel looses its platina and takes a grey look, I tried this on an English etched cavilary sabre and did not like the end look of lifeless steel but the rust was gone.

My most successful method is soaking in diesel for a few days then gently polishing with oooo bronze wool, and repeating the soaking in diesel over the week or two With cleaning in between, Messy work and not suitable for in the kitchen. I recommend nitrile gloves and a bench you do not care too much for. With some metals a redish hue can develop on the steel but v careful oooo wire wool will remove this.

I have a scissors katar, search my posts from a few months ago and you will see my cleaning, you can see the silver on the metal work which was completely hidden by rust and was exposed by my cleaning, not a beautiful end result but this is what I go for in my cleaning.

Best of luck.

Ken
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Old 26th August 2017, 06:27 AM   #5
Philip
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
Cleaning a rusted damascened piece is a very tricky task.

For very little rust over gold koftgari, I used Picreator's Metal Decorroder, then gently wiped off the rust. I managed to leave most of the koftgari in place but there were some losses.

For a more heavily corroded piece, it might be a completely diferent story and I would like to know the answer myself.


Your method is perfectly safe when the underlying crosshatched iron surface is uncorroded and there is a direct bond. Where you tend to get losses is when rust goes under the overlay metal. But the decoration is eventually doomed in such case because as the corrosion advances it will flake anyway. For the heavier corrosion you mention, I carefully use dental picks of various shapes, plus small horsehair brushes, to remove the rust BETWEEN the elements of the design (i.e. where the iron was exposed to begin with), working around the precious metal. Of course when the rust has spread under the overlaid design, the adhesion is poor and there is the real risk of loss. You just avoid hitting the deco, and hope for the best.

Note that gold koftgari tends to be more stable than silver. This is because gold does not oxidize or tarnish. Silver will, and moisture seeping underneath from adjoining rusting of the iron will accelerate the tarnishing and hasten the deterioration of the bond.
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Old 26th August 2017, 10:46 AM   #6
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Ammonia is good for removing oxidation without damaging what is underneath.
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Old 27th August 2017, 07:43 AM   #7
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Thank you Guys
Well I'm not sure of what to do...
I might use the Picreator's Metal Decorroder, but I'm still afraid for the gold under...
Best,
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Old 1st September 2017, 07:35 AM   #8
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Hi Kubur,

my favorite method is very simple. Just applying a thick layer of Ballistol-oil onto the rusted surface and wait. Once a week replace the old oil with new one. After a few weeks or months the rust slowly disapperars by itself.
This is the mildest method I know.
I would not recommend to use transparent lacquer, because it can rust under the lacquer.

Roland
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Old 2nd September 2017, 11:05 AM   #9
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I think you mean gold-tone. Gold is 99.8% chemically inert. True gold does not tarnish or rust under normal circumstances (it pretty much takes a laboratory). A gold coin in burnt and salted earth under a pile of corpses in a mass grave of an ancient raided village would look like newly minted pulled out of the ground 2000 years later. Gold also tends to be rather slick. SO any grime collected in deep crevices is not likely to be bound to it's surface through something like galvanic corrosion which effect lesser noble metals. It's merely cradling it and it should wipe clean with dry soft bristled brushing.

As for true silver. Wood ash and warm water. 1:1 ratio mixed into a slurry and a soft bristle brush. Flushing away the slurry afterward can be a bit annoying and a careful process depending on the nature of a piece. If that is a concern let it first dry fully (and naturally with no applied heat) and then dry brush it away. Nothing will reveal it's prime luster better.

But really I wouldn't personally want to do much more to silver then to dry buff it. As it is at it's most beautiful with a nice patina. A characteristic that tends to raise value in all respects.
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Old 9th September 2017, 10:26 AM   #10
Kubur
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Hi Guys

Thank you all for your help
Here is the maximum that I can do.
I didn't want to go too far as there are bits of gold everywhere...

Kubur
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