My wife picked up a couple of Wassily chairs at an antique mall a while ago. Chrome and leather. The leather was old, brittle and broken and the chrome was covered with surface rust. We pulled one apart and took the leathers to a shop to have remade. While that was being done I had to get the chrome cleaned up enough to be passible.
I had heard and saw on YouTube about using Coke and aluminum foil to clean rust off chrome so I decided to give it a shot. I used metal cleaner in place of the Coke but it worked like a charm and you would never know how badly these chairs were rusted.
A couple pics of the rust.
What I used to clean it off. Cheap Dollar Store aluminum foil and Eagle metal Cleaner. I would imagine ANY cleaner or polish would work.
Nice Job Mark!! Terrific find too. Came out Great and love those style chairs...last a long time and comfortable. I had heard of the coke and foil thing before but never tried it. Interesting to use of the chrome cleaner and foil.
Best thing I ever used was a rubber block, my dad had back when. Not sure what kind of rubber but was about 60 durometer as I remember and about an 1" square and ~4" long with a wedge at both ends (Parallelogram) to get in tight places. All you had to do was dip it in water and rub on the piece with it. A few strokes and it was beautiful. Used it a lot on bike pipes and spokes. Also got off road tar like hot butter! The old school yellow erasers work too. An extra fine Cratex stick will work on deeper stuff but will tend to scratch the chrome a bit.
C-Bag: Could be the coke breaks down the foil to some form of ALO2 and the citric acids & carbonic acid (carbonated water - H2CO3) help lift the rust with some polishing.Looks great! Never heard the coke and aluminum foil thing before. Any theories why aluminum foil? I guess it's not obsorbent like a rag or a towel......but that's some thing I never would have thought to grab.
Thanks for posting this. ~PJ
Must be a chemical connection; especially with citric acid. The handcleaners with citric orange and mild abrasive work nicely this way. I get good results on grime what collects on machine tools - even on gun bluing, no hint of scratching. It wouldn't seem the abrasive is common pumice; Moh's scale is 6.0 near obsidian. Mohs Hardness Scale: Testing the Resistance to Being Scratched Can't hazard a guess on the foil. Rust is said to occupy 7x the volume of metal it displaced; explains why nuts freeze on a bolt, the two virtually bond. Rust breakers break down and convert or at least alter oxidation.
...we'll learn more by wandering than searching...
Hi Mark, Just wanted to say thank you for the tip on Al Foil and Coke. Definitely works. I'm restoring an old Drill press (49'-51' King Seeley Craftsman) and the chrome pieces had some bad spots that nothing I had would touch them including Dad's old rubber block. I gave your technique a try and it worked darn good. There were still some rough spots when I got done so I hit them on the buffer with some green rouge. They still show but are flat and filled in now and think the spots are actually substrate for the chrome..should be OK now. The spots work ok me considering it's that vintage and had been sitting in a horse stall on the ground for several years...ran fine and strong when I tested it before I got it. Here are some before and after shots of the chrome stuff. Please forgive the rough C-phone shots.
Thanks again, great technique! ~PJ
Last edited by PJs; 11-19-2016 at 11:40 AM.
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