Internet Horology Club 185
Rust removal by electrolysis

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October 13, 2015, 06:03
David E. Booth, Jr.
Rust removal by electrolysis
I just tried using electrolysis to remove some rust on a winding crown for a 1908 Waltham watch. It worked like the proverbial magic charm. I haven't yet tried it with any clock parts, but we all know how the lantern pinons in American clocks frequently seem to be rusted inside the lantern. I am going to try this with a junk part, to see if it will work to clean up the trunions without hurting the brass hubs or attached wheels.

For the watch parts, I used 2 "D" cells for power, and a chunk of scrap iron as the sacrificial anode.

When I made the electrolyte solution, I didn't measure: I just dumped what looked like about a tablespoon of Washing Soda into a gallon of water, and shook it up. As the guy says in the attached file, "This ain't rocket science."

My container is a plastic pint ice cream container.

I just attached clip leads to one end of two pieces of wire, and taped the other end of the wires to the positive and negative poles of a pair of "D" cells that I taped together end to end to give about 3 VDC. I was pretty careful not to touch the two leads to each other, since there is no "Off" switch. :-) I used wooden spring clothespins to hold each lead against the inside of the container. OF course, for bigger stuff, you'd' probably want a gallon container, and maybe more power, and heavier clips to hold the stuff in the container so they can't touch, but the principle is the same.

Here's a pdf file of the best article I found.

Electrolysis pdf

October 13, 2015, 06:25
Mike Haig
David this looks a very good solution which I'm sure will be extremely useful in saving watch parts.

I've saved the article for future reference.

Thanks for posting

October 13, 2015, 09:00
Lorne Wasylishen
Very interesting David, great find and thank you for posting.