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Author Topic: BAD IDEA!  (Read 2247 times)

Posts: 62

« on: January 04, 2006, 05:07:01 PM »

This is a follow up to my previous post titled "cleaning old key" where I was asking how best to clean up and old Bunnell straight key I had.

Well Sam, I tried what you suggested.

> The best thing you can use on these keys is
> MURATIC ACID... Here is what you do :
> Purchase the MURATIC ACID . DO NOT mix water
> with like the bottle says . It Will weaken
> it and take you 5x's longer to clean it . Pure
> the acid in a plastic bowl (no the acid will
> not eat threw the plastic) big enough to
> submerge the key . Strip the key of the
> bakelite knobs and backbone . The backbone is
> nickel sometimes chrome plated steel . The
> acid will strip the plating and you will have
> to get it replated for about 10 bucks . Take
> the remaining key apart and put all this in
> the bowl (be careful this acid will burn the
> h*ll out of ya, something like rubber gloves
> or something to hold the parts other than your
> hand ) for about 15-30 min till clean. Once you
> submerge the key it will bubble and fizz and
> fumes will rise so do this outside . The acid
> will not eat through the key, only strip away
> the dirt and tarnish, laquer and give it it's
> true beauty . Once the bubbles stop and the key
> looks clean . Put it in another bowl filled with
> vinigar for a 1-2 min...

It didn't turn out quite like I'd hoped. In fact it turned out REAL BAD!

Here was my plan. Immerse the pieces in the undiluted Muriatic acid for a few minutes. Then soak them for a while in a baking soda solution to neutralize the acid. Then rinse them good in clear water.

I first tried an old empty 9mm case I'd picked up off the desert just to see what it would do. After 5 minutes it was noticably cleaner. So far so good.

Then I tried the two screws the lever pivots on. (Turns out they were chrome plated.) After just 5 minutes they'd cleanup real nice too.

So I was ready to do the base next. It started bubbling quite a bit like KG4HEB said it would. (Made sense since it was the nastiest piece.) After about three or four minutes it was bubbling A LOT! By the five minute mark the container was starting to get hot and the acid had turned blackish in color. So I pulled the base out to check it. You can see the results at:

Needless to say the base is a total loss. My understanding was that this base was brass. Thats certainly what it looked like to me. Now I don't know. So if anyone needs to clean and old key my suggestion is DO NOT USE MURIATIC ACID. I'm not sure what I'll use to clean my other key. If I find something that works I'll let you guys know. At least I didn't have much invested in this key.


Posts: 317

« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2006, 11:46:28 AM »

Next time try putting it in the dishwasher. Soap GOOD - acid BAD!

Posts: 2008

« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2006, 04:10:40 PM »

<<  My understanding was that this base was brass.>>

Brass is best cleaned with Brasso. If it's really dirty use soap and water and a toothbrush first.

Full strength acids will generally disolve brass, as you discovered. I can't imagine using muratic acid undiluted.


Lon - N3ZKP
Baltimore, Maryland

Posts: 56

« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2006, 01:53:41 AM »

ohhhh  that looks horrible.   Sorry to see that key destroyed.  Thanks for saving the rest of us.  I'll sure not do that.


Chris VK2ICJ
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