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ScaledBear

Scales and powder residue

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I just recently bought some Large Galvanized Steel Scales.  I noticed while working with them that my hand have this blue-ish residue on them afterwards.  I'm assuming it's probably just zinc, but what's the best way to clean the scales?  I've heard Mineral Spirits or warm soapy water.

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I hate to break it to you but galvanized is more or less un-cleanable. It's designed to oxidize to keep the steel from rusting so it will always continue to shed a grayish oxide, in fact the entire piece will eventually turn sort of a powdery grey color.

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Galvy ends up white and powdery and eventually red rusty. Don't buy it for longevity or attractiveness. It's just cheap, cheaper than stainless steel to produce. Zinc oxidises more easily than steel due to their order in the galvanic series, therefore will sacrificially rust white and powdery to prevent the steel from rusting. Eventually the layer of zinc will get eaten through and it's mild steel all the way. Some people have ended up, to preserve their work, chemically stripping the ugly zinc and retaining the shiny mild steel by oiling it and keeping it dry. You should probably oil and keep clean and dry (no sweat residue) the galvy to minimise the oxidisation, especially if you're in a warm maritime climate.

Edited by calyx

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You could fire it up in an oven or metal forge and burn the zinc off...but if you breathed the smoke it produced you would probably die.  I have a 60lb galvy shirt, hand wrapped rings, 14G 3/8"ID that I refuse to get rid of as a lesson as to why I will never buy galvanized anything again.  The only thing I can think of is to make or buy a tumbler that is large enough and sturdy enough to shine a steel shirt.  Short of that you're probably stuck with the residue.

 

Whitesmoke

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