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An alternative to oxalic acid ? The helmet results are in and the winner is ...

Article about: Good evening Chaps I trust that I find you all well and enjoying our hobby In a previous thread, I mentioned that I was intrigued by the use of oxalic acid to remove surface rust and reveal

  1. #1

    Smile An alternative to oxalic acid ? The helmet results are in and the winner is ...

    Good evening Chaps

    I trust that I find you all well and enjoying our hobby

    In a previous thread, I mentioned that I was intrigued by the use of oxalic acid to remove surface rust and reveal any paint / decal remnants on a relic helmet. However, I have seen countless threads related to the dangers of oxalic acid and due to my clumsiness resulting from a disability, I decided against using this solution. I had the good fortune to meet with someone in the vehicle paint industry (we have numerous large factories in my area) and, after listening patiently to my story, he advised me to simply use swimming pool "shock treatment" acid.

    I was dubious to say the least but, being on holiday, decided to give it a go. I used between 170 to 250 grams of swimming pool "shock treatment" powder acid in a plastic medium sized packing / camping create. Although safe to handle (being applied to swimming pools) I none the less used clear goggles and long length plastic gloves. In the end, I was quite happy with the results ... I am convinced that oxalic acid would deliver much better outcomes but weighing that against the safety concerns I feel that the results I achieved were quite good. See for yourselves the before and after shots of my two "Battle of the Bulge" German helmets ...

    Helmet 1 was interesting as I thought there would be zero paint left and I not only found some factory green but also the remains of what was the single eagle decal (the pictures don't do this aspect justice). Helmet 2 revealed quite a bit of paint and was interesting in that not only did the remains of two decals become visible (tri-colour ? and the eagle) but also two tones of green paint. This is very interesting in itself as the helmet was therefore most likely an early issue that ended its days in the Ardennes in 1944.

    A final conclusion is that the brim on both helmets seemed to retain the original paint the best ... not what I would have thought would happen, but there it is. Now to find some beeswax and put the two lids into a proper display case. I must say that these relics are growing on me. I still enjoy my replicas to represent different camo/units but the relics have so much more character and cleaning and close study reveal little bits of history as you go along.

    Thanks for all of the input with my previous threads. I am saving to buy a nice relic from the ads on the side in the not too distant future.

    Regards

    Andrew
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    Last edited by Andrew Reichmann; 01-24-2013 at 11:05 PM. Reason: Picture upoload failure

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  3. #2
    ?

    Default Re: An alternative to oxalic acid ? The helmet results are in and the winner is ...

    pictures before and after would be nice.

  4. #3

    Default Re: An alternative to oxalic acid ? The helmet results are in and the winner is ...

    Hi Steve

    Thanks for the quick response. I had a small problem with the photo uploads but I have just reposted with the correct pics :-)

  5. #4

    Default Re: An alternative to oxalic acid ? The helmet results are in and the winner is ...

    I would be careful using pool shock treatment Andrew - not because of what it can do to you but what it can do to the helmet.
    It is after all, calcium hypochlorite which is a bleaching agent - and, as such, it will not only clean off some of the rust, it will fade any paint left on the helmet.

    Yes, it will allow you to scrub off some of the rust hiding the paint but too strong a concentration and it will only end in tears......... and that doesn't make it the winner!

    Regards, Dan
    " When you're chewing on life's gristle, don't grumble, give a whistle "

  6. #5

    Default Re: An alternative to oxalic acid ? The helmet results are in and the winner is ...

    hello andrew you mention before and after photographs ,can you highlight which is which just to get it into my thick head also i must say you've been on a mission to find an alternative to oxalic , kind regards james

  7. #6

    Default Re: An alternative to oxalic acid ? The helmet results are in and the winner is ...

    I would be interested to see how the lids look after the beeswax application. Does the wax not build up as white deposits in the corrosion pits?

  8. #7

    Default Re: An alternative to oxalic acid ? The helmet results are in and the winner is ...


  9. #8

    Default Re: An alternative to oxalic acid ? The helmet results are in and the winner is ...

    Hi Col James

    Thank-you for your mail. Not sure if I have loaded the photos incorrectly but I titled each one photo either before and after and which helmet it was. Let me know if the photos above don't show this and I will repost.

  10. #9

    Default Re: An alternative to oxalic acid ? The helmet results are in and the winner is ...

    that wont be necessary andrew ive just had another look at the pictures and can now tell the difference with the before and after shots

  11. #10

    Default Re: An alternative to oxalic acid ? The helmet results are in and the winner is ...

    Hi Lebus12

    Yes, very similar to what I used ... granular shock treatment. Worked like a charm as you can see from the pics. I didn't expect to see ANY paint on the really rusted lid and tested that one first just in case the experiment went to hell in a hand-basket :-) Soaked the lid for 30 minutes or more and BAM, there was paint evident on my old rusty lid ! The 1st one I did in 170 grams with water. The next one I did at 250 grams with similar if slightly better results. The water was approximately 4 times the volume of the helmet.

    I am sure ox acid would achieve even better results but with a child and pets around I can't use such a potentially dangerous approach :-)

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