View Full Version : Cleaning up steel

Tony Ennis
12-14-2009, 09:33 PM
A guy on another forum says he wants to refurb a triangular steel "gong" at his scout camp. Apparently this thing rings bright and clear and he doesn't want to damage it. But in the 60s the gong was caught in a fire and "shows the scars." I don't know exactly what this means. He wants to polish it.

What's the way to do this with the least chance of marring the gong's sound?

12-14-2009, 09:35 PM
Steel wool and elbow grease.

Mike Burch
12-14-2009, 09:46 PM
A 3M Roloc disc in a 4" angle grinder. Start with a coarse one if it's bad, finish with a fine one.
Then a rag with a good dollop of cutter/polish to protect it.

12-14-2009, 11:59 PM
Better to just make a new triangle. Less work.

12-15-2009, 12:07 AM
Scrape away all the character until nothing but lifeless steel remains.

12-15-2009, 01:19 AM
Sounds like an excellent troop project at the next camp.

I agree though, leave it charred, and put up a plaque about it's history! That's what makes scout camp so special... all the stories.

12-15-2009, 08:06 AM
First it probably was never shinny it most likely had the smiths friend of a hot oil treatment.
Very simple to do, remove all the curd off the surface and rust.
Outside with it hanging over a dirt or box of sand.
Heat it up to around 400'-450'F and using a gloved hand with non synthetic rag wipe some oil on it, cooking oil will work, or some new fresh non synthetic oil over the entire surface.
You can do it in sections and you can do it more than once.

No you don't need to heat the metal red hot, as it does nothing more than burn the rag, you and make more smoke.

Also do not use used motor oil! As it contain a lot of heavy metals and other stuff from the engine wear. At that small size can be come part of the smoke. Like in soldering!

You can spray it on with a spray bottle, you can use a real pig bristle brush to apply not synthetic, or the a fore mentioned rag.

This way it should be good to go and some what rust proofed, for a number of years.

You also can run it through the rust/curd removerRust Removal using Electrolysis

Not a lot of work and not really a big deal. As that is what I would do if somebody brought it to me for restoration.

Weston Bye
12-15-2009, 08:24 AM
Descale it - soak in vinegar then scrub. Wash with fresh water, heat it up to 400, then rub down with a mixture of beeswax and boiled linseed oil as it cools down. This will make a black finish.

Tony Ennis
12-15-2009, 10:50 AM
Ok, it isn't a gong. It's a triangle.

today (http://www.fenderforum.com/userphotos/index.html?recid=66554)

and in 1966 :) (http://www.fenderforum.com/userphotos/index.html?recid=66553)

Ok, so it is steel. Looks like hex bar.

So we're talking one of
1. leave it be,
2. steel wool
3. electrolysis
4. descale

12-15-2009, 01:42 PM
Being that it doesn't look to bad, for the fire et al, choose the way to clean it up and knock the crud of it. which ever way is easier for you. they all will work. And the give it the hot oil treatment it will be be good for a couple of years. Before you will have to do it again.

The beeswax/ boiled linseed oil or other oil will work equally as good.

12-15-2009, 02:16 PM
Some of the local smiths use Johnson's Paste wax for a finish. The wax is applied as the work cools just about "spit sizzlin" hot. I have no idea how a wax finish would compare to the oil/beeswax blackening.

12-15-2009, 10:45 PM
As a blacksmith I make triange dinner bells all the time wire brush power or by hand warm until it will melt wax (a black heat) 450deg. hang the gong with sisal rope do not use wire or metal of any kind it will deaden the sound.