cleaning up copper rope

I recently brought home a good length of 1/4" copper stranded rope. The
stuff is just like rope being made of very thin copper strands. Very
pliable...to a point. When I found it at the junk yard and it was
pretty dirty, greasy and green tarnished. I thought no problem, I'll
pull my immersion in weak solution of Muratic acid trick on it to
clean it up. It has not worked. The copper has a red tinged dust or
coating between the fibers I can't seem to remove it easily. I've used
scrothbrite down the whole length of it with ok results on the surface
areas, but the internal areas still look dingy. Any Ideas for a total
rehab? To get it back to shiny copper. I was going to use it for a
finished sculpture item. I bought it cheap, so it dosen't really
matter, but sometimes its just easier to purchase virgin materials.
This stuff is pretty unique in my opinion. Thanks
-Mike
Reply to
mlcorson
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Try using an air erasor on it. This is a sandblast pencil like an airbrush that shoots very fine abrasive.
Reply to
bamboo
Better make sure you thoroughly neutralize that thing after dunking in acid.
Muriatic is a bad choice. Sulfuric or nitric would work better. Back in the '60s we used to heat pennies in nitric acid in chemistry lab and they sure cleaned up sweet.
GWE
Reply to
Grant Erwin
I don't know if you will ever get it back to being shiney. But you might try a short piece in some citric acid. You might find citric acid in a grocery store. One of the local stores has it. If not try using some lemon juice. I suspect dilute and a longer time might work best, but I really don't have a clue on that.
Dan
Reply to
dcaster
Ferric chloride would also work.
Reply to
Jedd Haas
People advocate salt and lemon juice for cleaning copper pots. There is/was a product called "Samae" which would brighten the bottom of a copper pot without scrubbing--that's the critical part--you can't scrub between the strands of a wire rope.
Reply to
Leo Lichtman
I wear a copper bracelet made from 1/8" (3 mm) diameter chain links (as opposed to the more usual copper band). During the summer the bracelet will turn green within an hour if I am outside and sweating as the salts react with the copper.
I have tried lemon juice and vinegar to clean it but by far the best cleaning 'solution' I have found so far is tomato ketchup. I simply squirt some into a small bowl, lay in the bracelet and then push the ketchup around with my finger to make sure it fills all the voids. Thirty minutes later I take an old toothbrush and give the bracelet a good scrub with the ketchup to get the oxide build up off the inner faces of the links. A rinse under a warm tap followed by a quick rubbing with a few drops of liquid dish soap to remove all traces of the ketchup followed by a second rinse and then drying with a paper towel and the bracelet looks like brand new again.
The bracelet will take several weeks to tarnish under normal conditions but sweat will 'turn' it within an hour!
I would suggest you try coating your rope with ketchup and then rubbing it with a toothbrush (or other stiff brush) after a suitable 'soaking' period. I think you will find that the ketchup will penetrate deep into the 'grooves' of the rope and the stiff brush will remove the oxide build up your soaking methods have left behind. The nice thing is it is environmentally friendly and you don't have to worry about splashing nasty acids all over yourself as you scrub at it with the brush.
HTH.
Reply to
Larry Green
Hoo, boy. Try 15¢ worth of vinegar (the active component of ketchup) before you try $2 worth of ketchup. To make it stronger, put some salt in it.
Regardless of what chemical cleaning method you use, I strongly suggest that your last step is boiling the rope in water and then pulling it straight out of the hot water and allowing it to self-dry which it should do within 60 seconds.
It won't stay clean very long, you know. Google on protecting copper or brass, there are many posts on this subject.
GWE
Larry Green wrote:
Reply to
Grant Erwin
| I recently brought home a good length of 1/4" copper stranded rope. The | stuff is just like rope being made of very thin copper strands. Very | pliable...to a point. When I found it at the junk yard and it was | pretty dirty, greasy and green tarnished. I thought no problem, I'll | pull my immersion in weak solution of Muratic acid trick on it to | clean it up. It has not worked. The copper has a red tinged dust or | coating between the fibers I can't seem to remove it easily. I've used | scrothbrite down the whole length of it with ok results on the surface | areas, but the internal areas still look dingy. Any Ideas for a total | rehab? To get it back to shiny copper. I was going to use it for a | finished sculpture item. I bought it cheap, so it dosen't really | matter, but sometimes its just easier to purchase virgin materials. | This stuff is pretty unique in my opinion. Thanks | -Mike |
I just got to thinking that you need two cleaning processes, one for the solids and one to address the corrosion. Have you given any thought to putting it through your dishwasher? You might have to come up with some kind of support and do it a couple times turning it over, but that might help clean out the deeper parts. Dishwashers work wonders, but since so few of us actually do dishes, the device is a complete stranger. After that perhaps a chemical cleaner, but you need to make sure it's diluted enough that you can do a good job of rinsing it all out thoroughly.
Reply to
carl mciver
UPDATE: I tried the vinegar and salt bath overnight. It did a really great job! I now have it in a solution of baking soda to nutralize the vinegar. Seems like its going to work. Thanks all. -Mike
Reply to
mlcorson

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