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Thread: Electrolysis VS Vinager to remove RUST ! Which one works best ?

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    Electrolysis VS Vinager to remove RUST ! Which one works best ?

    Continuing my 70s strat restoration, i have this currently unmanageable bridge in need of repair. Rust must be removed



    Which one of these methods gives the best results ? I'm very tempted to try the electrolysis one, just don't have a proper vented space to do so




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    The least agressive procedure would be soaking the parts with Deoxit or WD-40 and cleaning with a toothbrush.
    These parts need a tiny bit of oil applied with a toothpick every now and then.

    Definitely do not use an acid like vinegar.

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    Last edited by Helmholtz; 05-19-2020 at 09:54 PM.
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    I had good luck removing rust from a Hot Rod Deville control plate (chrome plated) using soapy water and 0000 steel wool. Might be hard to do with smaller bits and pieces.

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    i been suggested WD40 and a toothbrush before i just have some doubts that will be totally effective as i've tired it before on rusted car parts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by brunobliss View Post
    i been suggested WD40 and a toothbrush before i just have some doubts that will be totally effective as i've tired it before on rusted car parts.
    Doesn't hurt to try.
    I've used Deoxit with success on much more corroded strat bridges. If necessary use a brass bristle brush instead of the toothbrush.

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    You've got a lot of bubbling rust there where moisture has crept under the nickel and pushed it away from the steel. To properly remove the rust you'll remove a lot of the nickel as well, which isn't good. The problem with bubbling rust is that it keeps on rusting underneath and can present scalpel-sharp edges where it delaminates. A conservative approach is to dismantle the individual parts and use a brass suede brush, sometimes along with metal polish (I use Solvol). I also have some phosphor bronze Dremel brushes which are good on screws and tight corners but be careful - a lot of cheap brass brushes are electro-brassed steel and are too harsh. You get a burnished finish and the rust removed - it looks like a guitar that's patinated in use rather than neglected.

    I've used a number of other methods to remove rust from nickel-plated parts - alkali electrolysis and various acid dip combinations using hydrochloric, phosphoric and citric acids, but these leave the parts looking too clean and also can lift the remaining poorly attached nickel. For guitars I still like the more controlled brass brush method (sometimes in combination with a glass fibre pencil) and then treat the parts with WD40 or better still ACF-50. You don't want the parts looking over-restored or to do anything detrimental to the structure or appearance.

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    Last edited by Mick Bailey; 05-20-2020 at 09:43 AM.

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    Plus one on the use of WD40 and a brass brush or even very fine steel wool. It's very effective for light surface rust, however if the plating is broken it will only do so much. Works a treat on old chromed bicycle fenders.

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    I'd just clean it up with a toothbrush and some WD40. If there's some rust left, so be it. At least the WD will help keep it at bay. The finish and everything else about the guitar has a well used/aged look. There's no reason the bridge can't and shouldn't be the same. I wouldn't worry about making it shiny and pretty. That's not going to happen. Just make it look the best you can and get it functional. Hell, there are people rusting new parts on purpose to get reliced looking guitars

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    Replacement Allen screws for adjusting saddle height are cheap and available. Nothing special about them so no point in cleaning them. Besides, they may not even be the sort of height you want, so now's the time to get some that deliver the right height and don't cut into your picking hand.

    Once the retaining screws and spring are out, the grime and rust under them may well come off more easily than you expect; at least enough of it will to look decent again. The intonation adjustment screws may not be worth restoring either.

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    Alright, i'm going ahead with the toothbrush and WD40 as i have both around. Will probably do a small video series restoring this guitar. Thanks again guys, will post as soon as i got news

    PS: should i leave WD40 acting on the parts for a while or just brush it as it goes ?

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    Last edited by brunobliss; 05-24-2020 at 10:35 PM.

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