Away for a bit…

Busy vacationing in Norway for the next short while. Doing some photography, checking out some museums, and generally having fun. Going to visit The Viking Ship Museum in Oslo, and a couple of open museums. Maybe I’ll even find some woodworking tool somewhere? Who knows??

Lots of posts coming in the fall, including finally getting the workbench done!

Removing rust – the experiments (i)

In order to determine which of the chemical means of reducing corrosion works best, I set up a series of experiments.  The first one applied four different rust removers against the task of removing rust from a series of large and small vintage rectangular forged nails. The rust on these nails is fairly uniform, as opposed to plane blades, which can often form varying levels of rust, depending on the environment they are stored in, and their composition. Each nail is be submerged about one-third in a rust suppressing liquid – Evaporust, vinegar, molasses, and Coca Cola. The nails were left in the solutions in glass jars for 5 days.

Experiment 1: SMALL NAILS

The first experiment was done with small nails, approximately 2″ in length. Here are the nails before treatment:

And here are the nails after treatment with each of the four solutions. The result?

  • Molasses – The rust on the nail has been reduced substantially.
  • Coca Cola – There is no effect on the rust, in fact submersion in the Coca Cola has added a surface layer of flash rust.
  • Vinegar – Somewhat less effective than the molasses, the rust has been reduced, with a noticeable differential layer where the vinegar ends.
  • Evapo-rust – Cleanly and efficiently removed all traces of rust from the nail.

Experiment 2: LArge nails

The second experiment was performed with 4″ nails, in rougher condition. There were noticeably similar results. The side effect of these treatments is that as in the closed jar environment, vapours often have an effect on the portion of the nails not in solution.

  • Molasses – The rust on the nail has been reduced substantially.
  • Coca Cola – Again there is no effect on the rust.
  • Vinegar – Somewhat less effective than the molasses, the rust has been reduced, with a noticeable differential layer where the vinegar ends.
  • Evapo-rust – Cleanly and efficiently removed most traces of rust from the nail.

So from these experiments it is clear that using Coca Cola is not at all useful in the process of suppressing rust. It doesn’t work. Most colas have a pH of around 3.4, and is more acidic than vinegar, and citric acid. But it is essentially a  carbonated syrup.  Over a long period it may be effective in removing tarnish from some metals, but not in-grained rust. Apparently some people have had success using cola and aluminum foil to remove rust spots from chrome. Vinegar and molasses are somewhat effective given time, and more importantly they are cost effective, which is especially good for de-rusting large pieces.

 

 

Building a new mantelpiece (i)

I have always liked the mantelpiece in our house, especially as it was made of somewhat rare chestnut. The problem is that  the fireplace is a somewhat big feature, and the mantelpiece is both too large and the grain on the chestnut is quite conspicuous.

The mantelpiece is of quite simple construction: the bottom plate is joined at the ends using a 45° miter. The top plate uses a mitred-butt joint at the ends. The entire mantelpiece is held together with 2″ nails, no glue anywhere, with a series of 2″×4″ blocks in behind for support. It is not exactly well constructed, but then again these were not high-end houses during the period they were built in Toronto (mid-1920s).

With the pale, orange bricks, we chose to rebuild the mantlepiece using cherry. The new mantle will be 1″ shorter on either side and the front, to reduce its footprint. The inset has also been reduced from 1″ to ½”, and the four pyramids have been removed. The joints at either end of the top and bottom plates will both be mitred-butt joints, to maintain some of the aesthetic appeal of the original.