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Old 12-11-2009, 11:03 AM   #1
Robert Britt Freund
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Upkeep of Raw (uncoated) Bars...

Hi again. It's me with my video camera, so run while you still can. My video skills and narration leave A LOT to be desired!!!! You have been warned!!!!

Bars (especially raw bars) are a passion of mine, and I keep seeing posts about "my B&R bar is rusting" or some such variation.

I wrote a pretty detailed post a while back on how, IMHO, you should treat raw bars. The link is here:

http://www.board.crossfit.com/showthread.php?t=52061

However, there still seems to be some concern over rusting and how much time/effort it takes to keep the bars clean. So, since the alternative is grading 260 final exams (each 18 pages long), I decided to give myself a break and make a quick video describing my own bars and demonstrating how I keep them clean with about 1-2 minutes of effort after each workout.

It really isn't very much work to keep the bars in beautiful condition and there is NO BETTER GRIP than that of a raw bar...

First off, I wanted to show you the condition of my four raw bars. They are, in order of how long I have had them:
  • Eleiko Powerlifting Bar (chromed sleeves, raw bar) - 2 years
  • (2x) B&R Bars (all raw, sleeves and bar) - 3 months
  • Rogue Burner Bar (all raw, sleeves and bar) - 2 months
Now, admittedly, these bars are kept in a conditioned space (my home gym) and there is pretty much only one user (me) except for when friends come over periodically to train with me. However, I think you will agree that these bars are in "almost perfect" condition, as seen in this (WFS) video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPCufrifHeA

Now, if that didn't put you to sleep, I have some more to show you. In my prior CrossFit board post (the one linked to above), I described a fairly detailed process for really cleaning a raw bar. It does take 5-10 minutes to carry out that procedure, and some people might have felt it was too much work. Well, I only do that process maybe once per week; the rest of the time, I just do a quick wipe-down that takes maybe 1-2 minutes at the end of a workout. I would argue that MOST of the time, this (WFS) video describes all you need to do to keep your raw bar in tip-top shape:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LcnTJoHkhMc

For raw bars, I don't think you need soap or any kind of solvent (aside from the oil on the rag and/or sprayed onto the bar), as long as you do a quick wipedown at the end of each day and a more thorough cleaning a couple of times each month. I also strongly recommend a stiff wire brush (as discussed in the prior post and shown in the video) to get the chalk out of the knurling. You do not have to worry about the wire brush damaging the raw steel since it doesn't have any coating. I find that a wire brush really scrapes out the chalk and just works a lot better than one of the softer plastic or brass brushes. Eleiko sends a wire brush with every one of their raw powerlifting bars...

Hope this helps...

Regards,
brittf
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Old 12-11-2009, 11:34 AM   #2
Jeremy Galo
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Re: Upkeep of Raw (uncoated) Bars...

Beautiful review! The cleaning process seeems easy enough. When I get a raw bar, I'll be sure to follow this.

BTW... Within those videos, I finally saw your gym in there! HOLY HELL!!!! That is a thing of beauty! My home gym is about 360 sq ft and I think it's quite sizable. I can't imagine 800 sq ft of room dedicated to the house would be like You are definitely giving me something to shoot for. I'm almost speechless!
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Last edited by Jeremy Galo; 12-11-2009 at 11:56 AM..
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Old 12-11-2009, 12:03 PM   #3
Christian Salas
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Re: Upkeep of Raw (uncoated) Bars...

I've got plenty of room in my 144 sq. foot garage gym

Thanks for the info Robert, love your posts! And sweet gym!
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Old 12-11-2009, 12:56 PM   #4
Robert Britt Freund
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Re: Upkeep of Raw (uncoated) Bars...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeremy Galo View Post
Beautiful review! The cleaning process seeems easy enough. When I get a raw bar, I'll be sure to follow this.

BTW... Within those videos, I finally saw your gym in there! HOLY HELL!!!! That is a thing of beauty! My home gym is about 360 sq ft and I think it's quite sizable. I can't imagine 800 sq ft of room dedicated to the house would be like You are definitely giving me something to shoot for. I'm almost speechless!
I just posted a complete video tour of my gym. Kinda silly, isn't it?!?!?!

Oh well, that is why I was so reluctant to say much about my gym... If only I were a professional athlete!!!!

Regards,
brittf
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Old 12-11-2009, 01:01 PM   #5
Robert Britt Freund
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Re: Upkeep of Raw (uncoated) Bars...

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Originally Posted by Christian Salas View Post
I've got plenty of room in my 144 sq. foot garage gym

Thanks for the info Robert, love your posts! And sweet gym!
Hi Christian,

Thanks for the nice comments. I am a little sheepish about all of this. I have 4 brothers and they just shake their heads when they see it and say "there you go again!!!!" . I have this slight tendency to go a bit overboard on things. Kind of like when I started racing bicycles again (after 20 years of not riding much) and decided I needed a $10,000 custom carbon bike with Campy equipment (from a local guy, here in Austin, named Crumpton who is now regarded as perhaps the best custom bike builder in the USA). At the time, he was just getting started on his own and we did a lot of experimenting on my bike... It turned out pretty cool, but it sits around a lot now and doesn't get quite as much usage as it used to, now that I have my gym to play around in...

All the best,
brittf
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Old 12-13-2009, 06:15 AM   #6
Brian Russell
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Re: Upkeep of Raw (uncoated) Bars...

Excellent post. Thanks for taking the time to make the videos for us. Oh and nice gym!
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Old 12-13-2009, 12:04 PM   #7
Gonzalo Fernandez
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Re: Upkeep of Raw (uncoated) Bars...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Britt Freund View Post
For raw bars, I don't think you need soap or any kind of solvent (aside from the oil on the rag and/or sprayed onto the bar), as long as you do a quick wipedown at the end of each day and a more thorough cleaning a couple of times each month.
Britt,

this is interesting in that Rip had a comment on his forum a while back in which he does not recommend wd-40, but rather mineral spirits.

Here is that portion of the quote:

2. Bar maintenance depends on the bar. If the bar is an expensive stainless or plated bar, it will not have surface rust and will therefore need no cleaning. If it is unplated steel -- my personal favorite due to its feel in the hands -- it will need an occasional wire brushing in humid weather. Best to not use WD40 or a lube-based solvent to remove the rust dust; plain thinner or mineral spirits work best and leave no residue on the bar. Bearing mounted sleeves require no maintenance, but bushings require a drop of oil at both ends of the sleeve occasionally, when the spin gets sticky.


Oh well, to each his own. I am sure at the end of the day the important thing is that the bar is clean and rust free.
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Old 12-13-2009, 01:32 PM   #8
Robert Britt Freund
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Re: Upkeep of Raw (uncoated) Bars...

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Originally Posted by Gonzalo Fernandez View Post
Britt,

this is interesting in that Rip had a comment on his forum a while back in which he does not recommend wd-40, but rather mineral spirits.

Here is that portion of the quote:

2. Bar maintenance depends on the bar. If the bar is an expensive stainless or plated bar, it will not have surface rust and will therefore need no cleaning. If it is unplated steel -- my personal favorite due to its feel in the hands -- it will need an occasional wire brushing in humid weather. Best to not use WD40 or a lube-based solvent to remove the rust dust; plain thinner or mineral spirits work best and leave no residue on the bar. Bearing mounted sleeves require no maintenance, but bushings require a drop of oil at both ends of the sleeve occasionally, when the spin gets sticky.


Oh well, to each his own. I am sure at the end of the day the important thing is that the bar is clean and rust free.
Hi Gonzalo.

I understand where Rip is coming from, but I don't quite agree with him on this particular point. He wants NO residue on the bar, presumably so that it doesn't interfere with the grip during a heavy lift. I argue that I DO want residue on the bar all the time EXCEPT right before lifting. I want the residue to be a thin barrier between the air and the bare steel, to prevent any oxidation. I simply have a clean, lint-free rag (one of the blue ones shown in my video) on hand to wipe the slight residue from the bar just before use. I think that leads to the best of all worlds - cleaning the bar of sweat and chalk right after use, leaving a SLIGHT residue on the bar during non-use times to prevent oxidation, and cleaning off the residue just prior to lifting to gain the best grip.

However, to be fair, I face a different usage scenario than he does. Since I am the primary user of all my bars, I KNOW that I will clean them regularly and wipe them off just before use. Rip has a public gym where he has much less control over bar maintenance, except at specific intervals where he or his staff cleans the bars.

Thanks for the interesting comment. Rip's forum is excellent and he is a wealth of knowledge...

Regards,
brittf

Last edited by Robert Britt Freund; 12-13-2009 at 01:39 PM..
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Old 12-13-2009, 01:39 PM   #9
Robert Britt Freund
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Re: Upkeep of Raw (uncoated) Bars...

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Originally Posted by Brian Russell View Post
Excellent post. Thanks for taking the time to make the videos for us. Oh and nice gym!
Hi Brian.

Thanks for then nice comments.

Are you, by any chance, some type of endurance athlete? I was noting your data at the bottom of your post and observed that I had practically your exact same build when I was in my mid-20's. I was a competitive cyclist and 10K runner and, as a result, weighed about 182 lbs at 6'-5".

I have subsequent spent a lot more time trying to gain strength and now weigh about 220 lbs at (more or less) the same 6'-5" of height.

Despite the gain of 40 lbs (most of it muscle), I am never quite mistaken for Schwarzenegger and still occasionally get the question "do you weight train?" from my students...

All the best,
brittf
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Old 12-13-2009, 02:15 PM   #10
Brian Russell
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Re: Upkeep of Raw (uncoated) Bars...

Haha, actually I am a former 240 pound couch potato turned Mountain-biker, climber, swimmer, 5-10K runner, and now CrossFitter. That is wild that we share the same stats and have the same endurance activites.
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