Friendly Metal Detecting Forums   Deteknix
List all sponsors

Go Back   Friendly Metal Detecting Forums > Everything About Finds > Cleaning Your Finds

Reply
  
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 01-13-2014, 05:11 AM
steveg's Avatar
steveg steveg is offline
Elite Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Norman, OK
Posts: 1,137
Default electrolysis of old CW-era military buttons?

Hi, all...

Quick question -- I am BRAND NEW to electrolysis; I had a friend show me how he set up his electrolysis "rig," and so I did the same (an old much with a little salt water, old bent spoon dipped in the water, with one alligator clip connected to the spoon and the other to the object you are cleaning -- fed by a 9V transformer).

I tested it on a couple of old, crusty wheaties, just to see how it would work, and it did OK (though I found they are "crusty" in part due to some concrete that is adhered to them, and won't come off).

ANYWAY, it only takes a minute or two for the coins to clean; they bubble like crazy while "cooking" and then they are done.

So, I tried it on an old military button, and there was much less bubbling; still, after a minute or so, it was a little better looking, but I stopped right there, not wanting to damage it.

Do any of you clean your old military buttons this way, and if so -- how long do you let them "cook?"

Thanks!

Steve

__________________
Minelab CTX 3030, Minelab Explorer SE Pro
Norman, Oklahoma

Reply With Quote


  #2  
Old 01-13-2014, 09:31 AM
turtlefoot's Avatar
turtlefoot turtlefoot is offline
Headstamp Addict
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: The Ozarks
Posts: 7,122
Default

I have only used electrolysis on iron with great success. You will need to be very careful with other metals and you and pit and ruin them. You can be very successful with it though.

There is an online detecting radio show that I listen to when I get a chance and on evening they were talking about this. The amperage (I believe) and the "salt" content are very important to not destroy coins and relics.

Many of the relic hunters on this forum use the olive oil, lemon juice or hot peroxide methods on buttons.

Doug

__________________
Check out the "Headstamp Hunters" Social Group here on the forum!

Reply With Quote


  #3  
Old 01-13-2014, 09:37 AM
steveg's Avatar
steveg steveg is offline
Elite Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Norman, OK
Posts: 1,137
Default

Doug --

Thanks for the info. Yes, I recognize that you will "pit" the things you are trying to clean, if you let them "cook" too long. In my very limited experience, a mild salt solution, and being very careful with the time, is necessary.

The idea of hot peroxide (which I have used on a few old coins) is also a good one. I will try that on a button or two, and see how it works also.

Thanks!

Steve

__________________
Minelab CTX 3030, Minelab Explorer SE Pro
Norman, Oklahoma

Reply With Quote


  #4  
Old 01-13-2014, 10:37 AM
SevenOneSix's Avatar
SevenOneSix SevenOneSix is offline
Elite Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: WNY
Posts: 1,413
Default

Heres how mine came out. Not military but its and early 1800s button.

http://metaldetectingforum.com/showthread.php?t=166345
Reply With Quote


  #5  
Old 01-13-2014, 10:43 AM
Iron Patch's Avatar
Iron Patch Iron Patch is offline
Elite Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Dirtyville
Posts: 3,237
Default

Do any of you clean your old military buttons this way, and if so -- how long do you let them "cook?"



.....no, never, because you don't have to, and there's almost always a better way unless you are talking about shipwreck condition. Total bad idea.
Reply With Quote


  #6  
Old 01-13-2014, 11:51 AM
Seven's Avatar
Seven Seven is offline
Elite Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Monroe County Kentucky
Posts: 5,783
Default

I do electrolysis on iron artifacts with good results. I have tried an Indianhead and a flat button and the results were terrible. I'm glad I didn't use it on any good items. Some of you may get good results, but I wouldn't risk ruining a good find. The green patina, to me, gives character to the piece.

__________________
CTX 3030, Etrac, AT Pro
Subscribe to my YouTube channel at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCA5FzK74x-6gJlBRoL0jqw/videos

Reply With Quote


  #7  
Old 01-13-2014, 01:17 PM
steveg's Avatar
steveg steveg is offline
Elite Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Norman, OK
Posts: 1,137
Default

SevenOneSix -- thanks for the link to the post, and the pics. Very interesting.

Iron Patch -- what would you suggest as being a better way...that's what I'd like to find out, what is the best way. I'm pretty new to the "relic" thing...

Seven -- I hear you on the "green patina." I have no problem with that; the button I tried it on was pretty crusty; it had a crust of some sort that hindered seeing much of the detail. I zapped it for just about 1-2 minutes, and some of that crust came off, revealing some better detail. I stopped right there, as I'm concerned about messing it up.

How long do you do your iron artifacts?

Steve

__________________
Minelab CTX 3030, Minelab Explorer SE Pro
Norman, Oklahoma

Reply With Quote


  #8  
Old 01-13-2014, 02:08 PM
The Rebel's Avatar
The Rebel The Rebel is offline
Elite Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Southwest, CT
Posts: 5,224
Thumbs up

Like IP says, DO NOT do it.

I've never done the electrolysis thing, but my feeling is NEVER use it UNLESS the object is totally iron.

My best way to clean my buttons:

IF NO GILT: Hot soapy water & toothbrush. Once clean I use a brass wire brush & then coat with olive oil.

WITH GILT: Hot soapy water & toothbrush. Once clean I coat with olive oil.

__________________
SPECTRA V3i, BH 505, Pro-Pointer. Lesche Digger. Join The V3I Drivers Group.
Oldest Copper: 1694 William & Mary Halfpenny.
Oldest Silver 1663 1-Reale Cob.

Reply With Quote


  #9  
Old 01-13-2014, 02:08 PM
The Rebel's Avatar
The Rebel The Rebel is offline
Elite Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Southwest, CT
Posts: 5,224
Thumbs up

Like IP says, DO NOT do it. I've never done the electrolysis thing, but my feeling is NEVER use it UNLESS the object is totally iron.

My best way to clean my buttons:

IF NO GILT: Hot soapy water & toothbrush. Once clean I use a brass wire brush & then coat with olive oil.

WITH GILT: Hot soapy water & toothbrush. Once clean I coat with olive oil.

__________________
SPECTRA V3i, BH 505, Pro-Pointer. Lesche Digger. Join The V3I Drivers Group.
Oldest Copper: 1694 William & Mary Halfpenny.
Oldest Silver 1663 1-Reale Cob.

Reply With Quote


  #10  
Old 01-13-2014, 02:28 PM
Iron Patch's Avatar
Iron Patch Iron Patch is offline
Elite Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Dirtyville
Posts: 3,237
Default

Originally Posted by steveg View post
SevenOneSix -- thanks for the link to the post, and the pics. Very interesting.

Iron Patch -- what would you suggest as being a better way...that's what I'd like to find out, what is the best way. I'm pretty new to the "relic" thing...

Seven -- I hear you on the "green patina." I have no problem with that; the button I tried it on was pretty crusty; it had a crust of some sort that hindered seeing much of the detail. I zapped it for just about 1-2 minutes, and some of that crust came off, revealing some better detail. I stopped right there, as I'm concerned about messing it up.

How long do you do your iron artifacts?

Steve

It's always a case by case basis so there is not just one answer. Peroxide or lemon juice will clean the vast majority of those that need cleaning.

Now picture this one if I would have let you guys and your electrodes at it.


Reply With Quote


  #11  
Old 01-13-2014, 02:38 PM
Seven's Avatar
Seven Seven is offline
Elite Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Monroe County Kentucky
Posts: 5,783
Default

Originally Posted by steveg View post
SevenOneSix -- thanks for the link to the post, and the pics. Very interesting.

Iron Patch -- what would you suggest as being a better way...that's what I'd like to find out, what is the best way. I'm pretty new to the "relic" thing...

Seven -- I hear you on the "green patina." I have no problem with that; the button I tried it on was pretty crusty; it had a crust of some sort that hindered seeing much of the detail. I zapped it for just about 1-2 minutes, and some of that crust came off, revealing some better detail. I stopped right there, as I'm concerned about messing it up.

How long do you do your iron artifacts?

Steve
Steve, it depends on how big and how bad the iron is crusted. I have left some for I know 48 hours. My power source is a 10.5V 200mA wall charger so it takes it a while.

__________________
CTX 3030, Etrac, AT Pro
Subscribe to my YouTube channel at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCA5FzK74x-6gJlBRoL0jqw/videos

Reply With Quote


  #12  
Old 01-14-2014, 03:42 AM
steveg's Avatar
steveg steveg is offline
Elite Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Norman, OK
Posts: 1,137
Default

OK, guys, I got it...if it's not IRON, don't do it.

Peroxide, lemon juice, olive oil to preserve after a little brass brushing...but NO electrolysis! Got it

Thanks, Seven, for the info on the iron electrolysis. I will try that...

Iron Patch -- is that the SAME BUTTON, dirty, and then clean? If so, WOW!!!

Steve

__________________
Minelab CTX 3030, Minelab Explorer SE Pro
Norman, Oklahoma

Reply With Quote


  #13  
Old 01-14-2014, 05:22 PM
Iron Patch's Avatar
Iron Patch Iron Patch is offline
Elite Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Dirtyville
Posts: 3,237
Default

Originally Posted by steveg View post
OK, guys, I got it...if it's not IRON, don't do it.

Peroxide, lemon juice, olive oil to preserve after a little brass brushing...but NO electrolysis! Got it

Thanks, Seven, for the info on the iron electrolysis. I will try that...

Iron Patch -- is that the SAME BUTTON, dirty, and then clean? If so, WOW!!!

Steve

Yes, same button.


I don't see a use for a brass brush unless it's to grind off the crud on pewter. Other metals you don't need it and there is a better way. Olive oil tends to be messy and does a bad job. Wax is better, or Vaseline because it's easier to work with and you can apply in a way to highlight the high points. Olive oil is basically more along the lines of a drowned rat result. Is ok for some coins that are pretty slick to begin with, but as I said I rarely need it and I clean a lot of stuff, most of which I buy so trust me when I say I know what I'm talking about and doing because if I didn't I'd be throwing money away... and I don't have enough to be doing that!
Reply With Quote


  #14  
Old 01-15-2014, 04:59 AM
steveg's Avatar
steveg steveg is offline
Elite Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Norman, OK
Posts: 1,137
Default

Your button turned out BEAUTIFUL, Patch.

Thanks!

Steve

__________________
Minelab CTX 3030, Minelab Explorer SE Pro
Norman, Oklahoma

Reply With Quote


  #15  
Old 01-15-2014, 10:16 AM
Iron Patch's Avatar
Iron Patch Iron Patch is offline
Elite Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Dirtyville
Posts: 3,237
Default

Originally Posted by steveg View post
Your button turned out BEAUTIFUL, Patch.

Thanks!

Steve

Thanks. I was more than pleased with the result. I had about 98% of the corrosion off in the first hour, but spent over a week isolating the very small spots to get rid of the rest. It's wasn't too much time every day, but was the longest I spent on any one button.... but once it's done it's done and will be good forever.
Reply With Quote


  #16  
Old 05-29-2018, 09:33 PM
BLOODHOUND1970's Avatar
BLOODHOUND1970 BLOODHOUND1970 is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Goldsboro, NC
Posts: 60
Default

Originally Posted by Iron Patch View post
Thanks. I was more than pleased with the result. I had about 98% of the corrosion off in the first hour, but spent over a week isolating the very small spots to get rid of the rest. It's wasn't too much time every day, but was the longest I spent on any one button.... but once it's done it's done and will be good forever.
worth every minute! Beautiful!
Reply With Quote


  #17  
Old 06-27-2018, 01:20 PM
Usa's Avatar
Usa Usa is online now
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Missouri
Posts: 368
Default

Be careful and do it right and electrolysis works on about anything.

__________________
Best find~ 1883 IHP . . Motto~Christ,Family,Metal Detecting. May each on reach one as a challenge for the immediate future.I believe with all my heart that standing for America means standing up for God who has so blessed this land- Ronald Reagan.When we cease to be one nation under God we will be one Nation gone under.-Abraham Lincoln.

Reply With Quote


Reply


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
2 Military Buttons BlueLine Help To ID My Finds 7 04-23-2013 05:33 AM
Military Buttons dahrens Help To ID My Finds 2 01-17-2012 04:38 PM
Military buttons? SeekingOldies Help To ID My Finds 2 08-31-2011 08:37 AM
Some Old Military Buttons Zoidberg661 Coinshooters and Relic Hunters 6 04-22-2010 03:36 PM
Military Buttons I.D.. Lightningjack Help To ID My Finds 2 04-01-2009 02:09 PM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 01:14 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.