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Thread: Lyman mold cleaning with vinegar and salt

  1. #1
    Boolit Bub
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    Lyman mold cleaning with vinegar and salt

    I bought 10 surface rusted Lyman and H&G molds at a flea market for $250. In the past I have used "Evaporust" and "Metal Rescue" to clean my used rusty molds with varying degrees of success. I recently used an internet recipe of vinegar and salt to clean up some steel Harley parts with excellent results. The recipe is 1 gallon of vinegar and 1 cup of salt left for 12 hours. Follow with a dunk in a pint of water with 2 tablespoons of baking soda stirred in to neutralize the vinegar/salt. Finish with a very hot tap water rinse and blow dry followed by oiling with Mobil One. Has anyone used this method? I don't want to etch or damage the mold cavities as the Lyman mold steel is fairly soft.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master bruce381's Avatar
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    thinking big time rust from the salt I would stay with evaprust and do the same soak time?

  3. #3
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    I’ve pitted a surplus bayonet with white vinegar soak. I wouldn’t recommend this for the soft steel that molds are made from. Stick with evapo-rust. Another option would be to boil them in distilled water and then hit with a wire brush.
    Last edited by zarrinvz24; 10-05-2021 at 01:04 PM.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Last week I used citric acid to remove the light rust on my 55 year old Lyman iron mold.
    It did a great job in 20 minutes.
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  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    I wouldn’t use salt, it imparts chloride ions to the metal and causes rust in the future. At least this happens with iron pieces recovered from the ocean.

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master
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    A 50:50 mix of ATF and Acetone and fine brass wool
    Regards
    John

  7. #7
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    I’m a big fan of electrolytic rust removal, but evaporust seems pretty easy for someone without a charger.
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  8. #8
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    I wouldn't use Vinegar and Salt ...a highly Corrosive Acidic mix if ever there was one ...
    I'm thinking way to harsh and salty for a boolit mould ...you dont want to acid etch the cavities .

    We used Kerosene for long soaking and rust removal back in the day ... it is safe .
    ATF - Acetone @ 50/50 would be a safe soaking agent , it will get under and lift the rust .
    Use a toothbrush and 0000 steel wool to help remove rust while soaking .
    Don't rush the soaking ... days or weeks will not damage the cavities ... it may be slow but these soaking solutions will do no damage to metal surface or to existing blued surfaces .
    Gary
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by gwpercle View Post
    I wouldn't use Vinegar and Salt ...a highly Corrosive Acidic mix if ever there was one ...
    I'm thinking way to harsh and salty for a boolit mould ...you dont want to acid etch the cavities .

    We used Kerosene for long soaking and rust removal back in the day ... it is safe .
    ATF - Acetone @ 50/50 would be a safe soaking agent , it will get under and lift the rust .
    Use a toothbrush and 0000 steel wool to help remove rust while soaking .
    Don't rush the soaking ... days or weeks will not damage the cavities ... it may be slow but these soaking solutions will do no damage to metal surface or to existing blued surfaces .
    Gary
    Concur! Also, one can buy a dedicated medium firmness toothbrush for relatively little as well.

  10. #10
    Boolit Bub
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    Just did 4 Lymans (along with a Winchester iron handle 44 WCF single cavity mold) i got from a friend, who got them from an estate. He gave them to me because he knew I'd give them a good home. Guessing by the other contents in the box, they had been sitting for about 20 years.

    Started them with a soak in Kroil for about 10 days. 50/50 ATF and Mobil 1 got the nasty stuff off with a bronze brush, and went back and worked it with the 50/50 and 0000 steel wool. It took some time, but they came out beautiful. The cavities didn't have a speck of rust in them to begin with, thankfully.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master

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    EvapORust all the way.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhatForrest View Post
    Just did 4 Lymans (along with a Winchester iron handle 44 WCF single cavity mold) i got from a friend, who got them from an estate. He gave them to me because he knew I'd give them a good home. Guessing by the other contents in the box, they had been sitting for about 20 years.

    Started them with a soak in Kroil for about 10 days. 50/50 ATF and Mobil 1 got the nasty stuff off with a bronze brush, and went back and worked it with the 50/50 and 0000 steel wool. It took some time, but they came out beautiful. The cavities didn't have a speck of rust in them to begin with, thankfully.
    That's great! I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by how well older molds will cast, even when they look like crap. I purchased one that had survived a hurricane and spent a decent amount of time submerged in the flood. While it doesn't look the nicest on the outside, it casts like a dream. If you're a mold user, not a collector, you'll more than likely have great luck with them.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master 243winxb's Avatar
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    Cleans brass- "1 pint of water, 1 cup of white vinegar, 1 tablespoon of salt, and 1 teaspoon of Dawn detergent". Old NRA formula that needs deactivated/neutralize.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    When the CSS Hunley was found they had the whole submarine in a tank with I believe distilled water with an electrical current running through it. This was done to remove the salt that had penetrated the entire structure of the sub. Vinegar yes. Salt I would have to say no. Items found on shipwrecks made of iron like cannon also have to go through this process or they will basically rust away. Frank

  15. #15
    Boolit Bub
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    Thanks for the great advice everyone ! I'm going to buy some Kroil and experiment. I've got everything else in the garage. Time to put on my Dr Frankenstein duds!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by zarrinvz24 View Post
    Concur! Also, one can buy a dedicated medium firmness toothbrush for relatively little as well.
    Oral-B toothbrushes , at least the old ones , would not melt with Acetone .
    I'm not sure why the Oral-B's don't melt but the handle and brush bristles don't /didn't .

    New Oral B brushes don't look like the old ones ... I saved all my old ones for cleaning and know they wont melt . These new Oral-B's with multi-collored handles and such , I don't know ...
    might want to try a old new colored one and make sure they will pass the Acetone Melt Test .

    Your best soaking agent for rust is ATF and Acetone 50/50 . It's a penetrating oil like kroil ... the acetone just supercharges the penetrating action and ATF is the oil (Use Dexron - GM spec. ATF non-synthetic) .
    Gary
    Last edited by gwpercle; 10-08-2021 at 03:21 PM.
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  17. #17
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    If you get to where you are thinking of using a acid like vinegar...try it without the salt first.

    I recently cleaned up a old woodstove (made from Steel plate). It had been poorly stored in a unheated shed and the humidity/condensation put a pretty severe rust/pitting on the outside. After sanding most of the rust off, on a hot sunny day, I doused it with undiluted vinegar and wrapped it in clear plastic food wrap to prevent evaporation. Over the course of an hour or so, every 10 minutes, I'd peel back the wrap back a little and add more vinegar. You could see the rust bubbling out of the pitting. After that, I rinsed well, then deactivated the acid with baking soda/water rinse. After drying, I coated it with the first coat of special wood stove paint.
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  18. #18
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    See how it cleans up by going over it with an old wooden pencil before you use any chemicals.
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