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chrisski

Cleaning a mortar and pestle

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Can anyone give suggestions on cleaning a cast iron mortar and pestle?

I want to get the rust off. Don't know if I should sand paper, use steel wool, and finish with WD 40 and wipe the excess off, or maybe dip in carb cleaner. It was left outside in Arizona for a year, but stuff still rusts out here. Kind of a silly question, but I've not done much metal cleaning.

Thanks in advance for tips.

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I would just use assorted steel wire brushes, either drill mounted and or hand brushes, sandpaper or steel wool would work but not as fast IMHO, but the steel wool would be my second choice, I wouldn't use WD-40 or any other petroleum/oil products if you plan on panning the material after crushing/grinding, the oil will float any gold out of the pan.

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No way I'd use WD-40, or any other cleaning product. Maybe a wire brush wheel on a drill motor. You might also try electrolytic cleaning to get the rust off.

Jim

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JUst use the heck out of it. If you want the oputside to look good, use olive oil.

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Electrolysis works.

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Mine was rusted up also and I just used a wire wheel in my 4 inch grinder. I used it on the outside of the mortar then I hand rubbed some oil into it so the spray didn't get into the inside. I just left the inside rusty because using it cleans it up fast.

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Putting them in a sandblasting cabinet works too. I have done it several times with cast iron. The electrolysis method looks real easy and cheap. I will try that next time. I have an old "ERIE" griddle that I believe may be a first generation Griswold, that I saved from the scrap pile out @ my old Nome claims. The sandblaster was in/op at the time so I tried a wire wheel...was not impressed with the results. Electrolysis seems to be a good and easy way.

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Plop plop fizz fizz into the muriatic it goes and comes out nice and clean. Can use hydrochloric but 10% max. I use my wheel and good to go as my dremel does the insides just fine-John

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Thanks all for the tips. I think ill try electrolysis. I have everything but the washing soda. Muraic acid is also tempting. I think thats at the store for cheap for cleaning sidewalks. I'll coat the outside w olive oil after.

Unfortunately, I'll be away from home again and my next chance to do this will be the end of the year. I'll post pictures then.

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So I gave electrolysis a try today. Using the directions in Lve2fsh's link, I tried with an old cast iron grate. My battery charger is only 20amp, but in 2 hours time it had significantly reduced the crap on the half of the grate that was submerged. One tip I will share is don't use a newer digital battery charger. It doesn't see the circuit being created and goes into error mode. The higher amp chargers will make the process go faster. I like it....simple, cheap, and effective.

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I know you have it figured out but I soak small parts in CLR for a couple days and it works great.

AJ

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Of course I have a digital battery charger...

I'm wondering if solar panels would get the same effect? I've been thinking of getting a 15 amp panel or 45 amp set from Harbor freight. Theory would be hook it up directly, in the sun and not worry about whatever electricity is used. I could also start in the morning and come back in late afternoon.

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Use a 12 volt battery and connect the charger to the battery and let it run all night. I use this process all the time on my old engines to clean the rust off of parts. It will only take the rust, not the good metal.

Mark

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Can anyone give suggestions on cleaning a cast iron mortar and pestle?

I want to get the rust off. Don't know if I should sand paper, use steel wool, and finish with WD 40 and wipe the excess off, or maybe dip in carb cleaner. It was left outside in Arizona for a year, but stuff still rusts out here. Kind of a silly question, but I've not done much metal cleaning.

Thanks in advance for tips.

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Use a mixture of molasses and water. About a four parts molasses (dissolve it in very warm water) to one part water. It's also excellent to remove rust from any metal.

Edited by SunriseBoy

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