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Rock tumblers - The easy way to clean WW2 relics

Article about: Hi all Thought I would share this method with you for cleaning WW2 relics. Whitehunter put me onto this a year or so back and it works extremely well on brass items such as cartridges, as we

  1. #1

    Default Rock tumblers - The easy way to clean WW2 relics

    Hi all

    Thought I would share this method with you for cleaning WW2 relics. Whitehunter put me onto this a year or so back and it works extremely well on brass items such as cartridges, as well as with other ground dug items.

    Take a ground dug item, like this No. 9 British switch. (Known as the "Lead Delay switch" or officially "Switch, No. 9, L Delay". Instead of relying on the action of acid on metal which was subject to temperature variation, it used a piece of metal under stress - the metal in question being a lead alloy that was extremely affected by mechanical creep. A piece of this lead was notched to a set diameter, the diameter setting the time delay. When the starting pin was removed, this wire was placed under tension by the spring-loaded striker, and began to gradually stretch. When it broke, the firing pin would strike the detonator and........BOOM !)

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    Now take one of these. A 3lb rock tumbler. Usually used to polish stones by the action of an abrasive compound acting on the stones in a rotating drum, the same principle can be applied to ground dug WW2 relics. The beauty of this method is two-fold. Firstly, it involves very little work from yourself ! Simply put the objects for cleaning into the drum and add an abrasive compound. I use very fine dry sand. Secondly, whilst it cleans the relics, it does retain that 'ground-dug' patina which so many other methods don't.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    So, after 24 hours, here is the result. I have put a handful of the sand I used to the left of this pile so you can see the colour change. The sand has polished the relics and caused the muck, dirt and rust to adhere to the sand.

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    Here are the relics with only one cleaning step now left. the only work involved on my part was putting them in the barrel with the sand and flicking a switch !

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    And here they all are after a quick scrub in hot water with a scouring (Brillo) pad.

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    Not bad for no work at all !!!

    I strongly recommend that, if you are a digger, you get one of these little fellers. Takes all the hard work out of cleaning all sorts of different relics. Obviously it works best on cylindrical objects, but it will clean virtually anything

    Laters

    Steve T

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  3. #2
    ?

    Default Re: Rock tumblers - The easy way to clean WW2 relics

    Strewth ,I used to sell mineral tumblers to differant metal working companies, sold one to the FX shop for the film Fifth Element to tumble rough edges off weapon parts, Simon Atherton was the guy who bought it , i think

  4. #3
    ?

    Default Re: Rock tumblers - The easy way to clean WW2 relics

    Does it do the dishes?

  5. #4

    Default Re: Rock tumblers - The easy way to clean WW2 relics

    Holy sh*t, that's cool! ;-)

  6. #5
    ?

    Default Re: Rock tumblers - The easy way to clean WW2 relics

    Doug , yes it does but there will be no pattern left

  7. #6

    Default Re: Rock tumblers - The easy way to clean WW2 relics

    Quote by davejb View Post
    Doug , yes it does but there will be no pattern left
    .....or dishes

  8. #7

    Default Re: Rock tumblers - The easy way to clean WW2 relics

    Like it. I like the way the brass still looks 'brassy' rather than going 'coppery' once its been in vinegar. I feel a purchase coming on!

    Cheers

    Martin
    "You will never know the whole truth" ~ Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski

  9. #8

    Default Re: Rock tumblers - The easy way to clean WW2 relics

    Good ain't it Good old whitehunter for putting me onto them............he is useful sometimes......

  10. #9

    Default Re: Rock tumblers - The easy way to clean WW2 relics

    Nice method. The fact that it preserves the patina is a real bonus.
    Looking for the photo albums of Leutnant Emil Freitag, 3. / G.R. 377

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