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I have a question please.

In the antique firearms collection world, if you acquire a 100 year old piece and then proceed to very thoroughly clean it, by using cleaners or chemicals to remove every bit of grime, grease, rust spots, etc. , then  you have ruined the value of the piece (cut it value down to about 40%)  because you have removed the 100 years of built-up "patina."    (Antique folks love patina.)

Most of the tinplate cars at the flea market definitely have such a "patina", and often an unsightly one.  (And no joke, some of them smell pretty bad.)

What is the protocol here please.  If I buy one, should I scrub off the patina or not?  (Some of those rust spots are raised rust.)

Thanks for all information.

Mannyrock

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It all comes down to personal preference Manny ... but in older tinplate items of value , cleaning should be done minimally and in such ways that you don't adversely affect the original finish .. Of course that all comes with the proviso of ...are you buying for your own enjoyment? , or collecting hoping to make a profit later on ?... Each path will take you in seperate directions regarding cleaning , or god forbid ( lol ) restoring

Something is only ever original once and if you personally love shiny shiny and plan to reduce the value of what you have , then by all means repaint or "restore" ... of course thisis all relative to the value of a piece .

No one is gonna go apeshyte if you clean and steel wool a Marx caboose , but do that to a 1910 Georges Carette loco will be a different story lol ( as you flush $100 bills down the toilet with each wipe of a silicone waxed rag lol )

Once you buy something , its yours to do with as you please , but yeah the same Gun example DOES apply to the older rarer stuff ...

Last edited by Fatman
@Will posted:

Speaking of rust remover, I see HD has quite a few products under a search for "rust remover". I am guessing there work somewhat differently. Is their a commonly available product that people have used with success? I am thinking mostly of prewar couplers and trucks, not necessarily a total restoration.

All I can do is pass along my own experience - I am new to the painting/refinishing portion of this hobby. Evaporust works great for me, but generally takes overnight - on some REALLY BAD cases it took 3 days, but the stuff I was cleaning was so badly destroyed by rust (giant pits on wheels, part of the flanges missing), I ended up tossing them anyway!!!

I will say this - be very careful of putting chemically blackened stuff (like diesel side frames) in Evaporust - the blackening got removed right along with the rust on mine!

George

Evaporust works great.  Just have to lift your product out of the bucket every 24 hours, and check it in bright light, to see what the status of the cleaning is.

What I really like about Evaporust is that once you have finished with your project, you just put a funnel in the container bottle and dump the Evaporust right back into it.   It's a little brown, but still potent.   The instructions say to do this.

I think I saw an ad once that said one gallon can remove a half pound of rust.

Mannyrock

Mannyrock, actually there have been several occasions when I purchased a rare and valuable car for much, much less than one would expect because it was filthy and I knew I could clean it up with no problems.  The Bing car below was one of those items - I wish I had taken a picture of the car before I cleaned it - the roof was a dirty gray/brown, and the sides were just plain dirty. 

Bing_Car_Reefer_Old_Dutch_Cleanser_2

  If you look closely at the doors you can see what looks like damage to the litho wood side treatment - it's not - it is some kind of partial litho print failure - the doors on the other side have the same pattern.

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@GeoPeg posted:

I will say this - be very careful of putting chemically blackened stuff (like diesel side frames) in Evaporust - the blackening got removed right along with the rust on mine!

This is actually because the blackened finish is very similar to rust. In fact, one method to blue metal is called "rust bluing", where the item is rusted in a controlled manner and then the rust is converted to that blue finish.

@Will posted:

Speaking of rust remover, I see HD has quite a few products under a search for "rust remover". I am guessing there work somewhat differently. Is their a commonly available product that people have used with success? I am thinking mostly of prewar couplers and trucks, not necessarily a total restoration.

I've found the most effective rust remover for unpainted parts to be white vinegar.  I leave the parts in it for at least several hours, overnight is most effective, and the rust brushes right off.

But use it carefully.  It's also an effective paint remover.

I get some prewar items that are so abused cosmetically that they can't be sold for any real money.  Those are my restoration candidates.  To remove old paint, I soak them in white vinegar and leave them overnight. 

Malcolm Laughlin

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