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Old 05-24-2008, 07:46 AM   #1
Pierre Descoteaux
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How to get rust off a rusty chain

I though I was lucky when a ship owner told me he could get me some old chains for my garage gym. They must have been in the ocean for a long while since the poor thing is all covered with rust. Anyone has a good idea on how to get it cleaned up? After a pathetic attempt with water and vinegar I'm moving up to CLR and a brush but some how, I'm doubt full.
Any ideas?
Thanks
Pierre
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Old 05-24-2008, 08:11 AM   #2
Tom Fetter
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Re: How to get rust off a rusty chain

How nasty is the rust? To get rid of flaking surface rust, put it in a barrel with a shovel of sand, and roll it around for a while. Won't make the surface bright and shiny, but will take off the excess. That's essentially the first step they use to remove surface rust etc. when people get boat anchor chains re-galvanized.

FWIW, if the chain's not galvanized you'll have recurring surface rust issues with it (even in dry climates), but a very light coating of oil will help. Maybe add a small amount to the sand barrel?
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Old 05-24-2008, 02:15 PM   #3
Eric Davis
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Re: How to get rust off a rusty chain

To get rust of a chain. We used to tie the chain on to a bumper and drive 5-10 minutes on a gravel road, reverse the chain end for end, and repeat. Go to the car wash, wash the chain, spray WD40 on it, and put it in a coffee can for storage. Maybe you could do soemthing like that.
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Old 05-24-2008, 03:12 PM   #4
Clay Jones
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Re: How to get rust off a rusty chain

Wire wheel and drill, hammer, and scraper. That should do the trick. Pound and scrape off what you can, wire wheel the rest.
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Old 05-24-2008, 04:33 PM   #5
Matt Thomas
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Re: How to get rust off a rusty chain

Keep it rusty. It looks more hardcore
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Old 05-24-2008, 04:37 PM   #6
Joey Powell
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Re: How to get rust off a rusty chain

soak in salt water for 2 days. Remove and lay out in the sun for 1 day.

Enjoy!!

seriously..WD-40, wire brush, can of rust-oleum paint.

PS. Rust does not come out or off of clothing/cloth
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Old 05-24-2008, 05:07 PM   #7
Kris Warner
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Re: How to get rust off a rusty chain

sand blast it.
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Old 05-25-2008, 01:52 AM   #8
Stephen Foster
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Re: How to get rust off a rusty chain

What are you planning on using the chain for? How big is it and how long is it? How bad is the rust? Could you make a sleeve out of canvas or some other heavy-duty fabric and slip it over the chain?

If you are sure you want to de-rust it, you could go to an automotive parts supply store like Autozone and get Evapo-Rust (it's acid-free). Not sure how much it costs ($15-$25/gal?) but it's supposed to do a really good job.

OR...

If you want to try a relatively inexpensive DIY home-brewed rust remover, mix molasses with water at a 9:1 ratio, that’s nine parts water to 1 part molasses, it’s will remove rust by a process called chelation.

Molasses contains chelating agents. These are made of molecules that are shaped a bit like the claws of a crab (the word chelating comes directly from the Latin word chele, meaning claw). They can envelop metal atoms on the surface of an object, trapping them and removing them. Molasses owes its properties to cyclic hydroxamic acids which are powerful chelators of iron.

More of these compounds are found if the molasses is derived from sugar beet rather than cane sugar. The plants from which molasses is made presumably use these chelating agents to help them extract minerals from the soil. Interestingly, there are aerobic microorganisms that use similar cyclic hydroxamic acids to scavenge iron. So plants and microbes appear to use the same chelation strategy to obtain their daily ration of iron.

Anyhow, you may have to microwave the molasses for 15 seconds or so at a time and check the bottle for heat, it will get hot enough to eventually run out. Be careful though, it heats up from the inside first. Check for pour-ability as you heat it up.

Scrape off any loose scale and soak the chain in the mixture for a couple of days and check the progress. It may take up to a few weeks, depending on how rusty the chain is. At some point the chelation molecules will hold all they can hold and it will stop working.

To sum it up, molasses is a cheap way to de-rust steel. It might be a little slower than commercial de-rusters though. The commercial de-rusters target only steel oxides, so they will not bother copper and brass. Molasses may attack other metals, so take care how you use it.

Have fun de-rusting.
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Last edited by Stephen Foster : 05-25-2008 at 02:00 AM.
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Old 05-25-2008, 01:54 AM   #9
Stephen Foster
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Re: How to get rust off a rusty chain

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joey Powell View Post
PS. Rust does not come out or off of clothing/cloth
Rust stains in clothing is definitely one of the most stubborn stains ever, but try one of these methods before throwing out your stained clothes. These methods of rust stain removal are safe for white fabrics, but test on colored fabrics before use:

Lemon Juice - suitable for light stains on delicate fabrics. Spread stain over a bowl of boiling water and sprinkle with lemon juice. After a few minutes, rinse well and repeat if necessary.

Lemon Juice and Salt - sprinkle stain with salt, rub with lemon juice and place in sunlight. Keep moist with lemon juice till stain goes. Rinse well.
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Last edited by Stephen Foster : 05-25-2008 at 01:57 AM.
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Old 05-25-2008, 04:40 AM   #10
Ian Peterson
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Re: How to get rust off a rusty chain

put it in a bucket or likewise container with some CLR (Calcium, Lime, Rust) remover for a couple days and it'll come out lookin like new. Then either paint it or leave it natural. I used this on alot of old car parts that are kinda irreplaceable or very expensive and they came out great.
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