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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Larry Green wrote:
| 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
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.