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Relic cleaning - White Vinegar

Article about: by Steve T Can't wait to see the result Datrus ! I have a hard time waiting myself. I will start a restoration of this helmet afterwards.

  1. #91

    Default Re: Relic cleaning - White Vinegar

    Quote by Steve T View Post
    Nice Vegar Those German 20mm are just great ! Such a shame they made them out of plated steel......if they were brass they'd be as good as new

    Steve T
    If only, one of the shells were in pretty good condition(Which you can see), but most of them are of plated steel(It's like working with thick duct tape), one think I've noticed though is that the shells that have the biggest layers of rust/dirt around them are the most complete ones/in best condition. Like the one below(I'll get a picture of it cleaned up when it's done, I managed to pick off the layers):

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Best Regards

    Vegard T.
    Looking for militaria from 38. Batterie, Heeres Küsten Artillerie Regiment 977, also from 31, 32 and 36. Batterie.

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  3. #92

    Default Re: Relic cleaning - White Vinegar

    [QUOTE=Datrus;450593]So here is the end result of the helmet cleaning after 5 days. Quite ok i think, but oxalic acid will of course be better. It was more meant as a data point if oxalic acid for some reason is not available. It's possible to do this with venegar, even heaviliy rustet items. I even got the maker stamp out! It's an ET62.

    Previous pic

    Attachment 289461 Fantastic result! To get the makers mark is a bonus well done Lars and thanks again.

  4. #93

    Default Re: Relic cleaning - White Vinegar

    Is vinegar good at breaking down chalk deposits, or do you recommend another method? i have several pieces from the Somme that I haven't been able to remove it from.

  5. #94

    Default Re: Relic cleaning - White Vinegar

    ***Engage chemist mode****

    Well, chalk is calcite or calcium carbonate (CaCO3). Vinegar is acetic acid (HC2H3O2) in water. If you pour vinegar on a piece of chalk, the chalk will dissolve giving off carbon dioxide and the salt calcium acetate.

    2 HC2H3O2 + CaCO3 -> Ca(C2H3O2)2 + CO2 + H2O

    ***Disengage chemist mode***

    In other words, it should dissolve it, if it is indeed chalk.

    Last edited by Steve T; 05-27-2013 at 11:34 PM.

  6. #95

    Default Re: Relic cleaning - White Vinegar

    Thanks Steve...Impressive!

  7. #96


    Quote by Kanonier Tokarz View Post
    Guys don't clean brass by bathing your relics in vinegar you'll ruin the brass (brass alloy) cover(the casings will end up red like on the pictures) ! Spray them with just a bit of it mixed with water or use electrolysis method.
    It's probably not relevant to relics, but black powder shooters often soak the cases in vinegar - usually for a short time only, otherwise the outer layer is eaten away leaving a reddish or pink surface as previously mentioned.

    The best results I've achieved is to soak the cases in vinegar for half an hour or an hour maximum then wash thoroughly in water. After that, pop them in an electric case tumbler filled with crushed walnut shell medium, with 2 or 3 capfuls of Silvo liquid silver polish. Silvo does a better job of tumbling brass than Brasso brass polish, for some reason.
    Tumble them for a few hours and they come up almost like new. I wouldn't do it with anything that still had live primers, though, just to be on the safe side.

    Cheers, Willie.

  8. #97


    Great thread thank´s for the info. I would never have thought of white vinegar but my bullets came up a treat.
    At the moment cleaning up a German belt buckle which i found in the woods. Using lemon juice on this and it´s eventually going from complete rust to something resembling a buckle.
    I will post a before and after pics once it´s cleaned up

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