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Thread: Best method/solvent for cleaning rulers

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
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    Best method/solvent for cleaning rulers

    Over the years many of the rulers I use often have accumulated a bit gunk on them and some are now impossible to read along the length at points. I know I should have been more diligent and cleaned along the way, but I didnít. So Iím posting this query now.

    These are steel Starrett rulers. Iíve tried pretty much every solvent in my shop. Denatured alcohol. Rubbing alcohol. Acetone. Thinner. CMT orange tools 2050. Elbow grease and prayer. And largely all to no avail.

    Any serious suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I feel like Iím missing something obvious.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    So Cal
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    Have you tried goof off. Itís very hot stuff so be careful,unless the rulers are some kinda chemical stain I bet goof off will clean it.

    Good Luck
    Aj

  3. #3
    One sure fire way is to get a deburring wheel and then burnish the rulers with that. It will take all the "patina" off of the rulers but leave the clean rulers open to rust.

    Mike
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  4. #4
    I would test a little of the ink used to coat metal for scribing. Wipe it off quickly with alcohol ,or whatever it's solvent
    base is.
    Sounds like you might have to just scratch each line with a needle or scribe...then use ink to "refill" .
    Last edited by Mel Fulks; 05-20-2020 at 6:30 PM.

  5. #5
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    Starrett rules have a satin type coating on them usually. Anything with grit will remove this and cause rust to form (Ask me how I know this...). If they do in deed have rust, either 0000 steel wool with some oil or a red scotchbrite pad will remove the offending junk, you'll just have to wipe the rule with light oil or paste wax to keep them from rusting.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan Yeaglin View Post
    Starrett rules have a satin type coating on them usually. Anything with grit will remove this and cause rust to form (Ask me how I know this...). If they do in deed have rust, either 0000 steel wool with some oil or a red scotchbrite pad will remove the offending junk, you'll just have to wipe the rule with light oil or paste wax to keep them from rusting.
    If the problem is rust, I'd highly recommend soaking in something like Evaporust because it removes the rust and deposits a film that resists rust. It's not a great coating but it's better than bare metal.

    Mike
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    I would avoid soaking in anything or applying any solvent. I would first do the old elbow grease thing with 0000 steel wool or 400 or 600 grit emory sandpaper.

    This will leave the recessed line markings but clean up the surrounding surface creating a greater contrast between the two.

  8. #8
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    Peoria, IL
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    You can't identify the gunk? Different kinds of gunk, different kinds of cleaning methods.

  9. #9
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    Aug 2019
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Coers View Post
    You can't identify the gunk? Different kinds of gunk, different kinds of cleaning methods.
    the gunk must be glue of some sort. I just canít see what else it could be. The problem is really just on my 6Ē square. So Iím figuring likely when gluing up a drawer/box/whatever, in the frantic dash to square up the corners, I got some sort of glues on there. Although I use some CA glue in my work, I doubt itís glue other than PVA or hide. The gunk is pretty black though ó probably from dust on the glue?

  10. #10
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    Aug 2019
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Zellers View Post
    I would avoid soaking in anything or applying any solvent. I would first do the old elbow grease thing with 0000 steel wool or 400 or 600 grit emory sandpaper.

    This will leave the recessed line markings but clean up the surrounding surface creating a greater contrast between the two.
    I exhausted all the grease from these here elbows with steel and then 400 grit. Literally nothing came off.

  11. #11
    Pictures might help. Blackness sounds like some sort of chemical reaction. Glue on steel clamps will often blacken before it dries.

  12. #12

    Bar Keepers Friend

    Quote Originally Posted by Ollie McDottie View Post
    Over the years many of the rulers I use often have accumulated a bit gunk on them and some are now impossible to read along the length at points. I know I should have been more diligent and cleaned along the way, but I didnít. So Iím posting this query now.

    These are steel Starrett rulers. Iíve tried pretty much every solvent in my shop. Denatured alcohol. Rubbing alcohol. Acetone. Thinner. CMT orange tools 2050. Elbow grease and prayer. And largely all to no avail.

    Any serious suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I feel like Iím missing something obvious.

    Thanks in advance.
    If Bar Keepers Friend and a scotch pad will not clean it than nothing will. Like others before have stated you may have to apply some T-9 Boeshield or other rust preventative depending on what type of steel your rule is made from. I got stainless from the start and have not needed anything other than an occasional wipe with simple green.


  13. #13
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    Apr 2017
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    Tucson, Arizona
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    772
    Quote Originally Posted by Ollie McDottie View Post
    Over the years many of the rulers I use often have accumulated a bit gunk on them and some are now impossible to read along the length at points. I know I should have been more diligent and cleaned along the way, but I didn’t. So I’m posting this query now.

    These are steel Starrett rulers. I’ve tried pretty much every solvent in my shop. Denatured alcohol. Rubbing alcohol. Acetone. Thinner. CMT orange tools 2050. Elbow grease and prayer. And largely all to no avail.

    Any serious suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I feel like I’m missing something obvious.

    Thanks in advance.

    I've used Mek on some of my Starrett rules with great success.
    David

  14. #14
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    Nov 2003
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    Central North Carolina
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    1,611
    I cleaned up an old framing square and then wiped yellow paint on it, then before it dried I wiped the surface paint off carefully with a cloth pad dampened in paint thinner, leaving only the yellow in all of the grooves and writing. Then let the remaining paint dry. This framing square is now easier to use than my other framing square, so I reach for it more often than the newer one. Most any color of enamel paint will work. You don't need to use yellow, but it was my choice.

    Charley

  15. #15
    Vinegar removes dried PVA glue. Let it soak on there a bit. Then hit it with a sander and 220 grit. Will be good as new

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