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By AndyT
#1171225
Discussion recently touched on use of glassfibre brushes to remove rust. This reminded me that I took some photos a while back but had not got round to sharing them. So this is for anyone who's not familar with these.
I was told about them by a collector of old drawing instruments. He had a superb collection, all entirely free of corrosion, but still looking old, cleaned up with these brushes. It's a good example of where going through the grits with wet and dry paper would destroy the appearance of something.

The brushes are easy to find, in places such as eBay and Amazon. I believe they are often used by railway modellers and to clean electronic contacts. They don't cost much. What you get is a hollow plastic holder which contains a bundle of fine strands of glass. The glass strands can be advanced by twisting a ring, like a propelling pencil. You'll want to buy a pack of refills with your holder.

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For this demonstration, I used a Stanley bit depth stop. The nickel plating has rusted through here and there but is in reasonable shape. I wanted to remove the rust, leaving the plating alone. It's all too fiddly to use paper abrasives or a wire brush.

Here it is before I started

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and close up

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All I did was gently rub over the rust with the brush. The tips wear away to dust as the brush picks up the rust.

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And here's the finished thing. I've not removed every last trace but the areas which were black are now clear metal again. The brush was the only treatment I gave this - I didn't use any acid or other abrasive.

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I think it's a quick and convenient method. The brushes are cheap and widely available. I recommend them for tools like this or any other intricate metalwork.
By NazNomad
#1171236
Seen them used many many years ago at college for cleaning circuit board pads prior to soldering. They must work be like a microscopic version of the 'needle scaler' we're talking about on another thread?
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By Eric The Viking
#1171259
NazNomad wrote:Seen them used many many years ago at college for cleaning circuit board pads prior to soldering. They must work be like a microscopic version of the 'needle scaler' we're talking about on another thread?


Just loads quieter :-)
By Cheshirechappie
#1171267
Splendid stuff, Andy!

This thread needs adding to the 'Tool Restoration Techniques' sticky.

(By the way - a good follow-up treatment for metal items thus cleaned would be Renaissance Wax; if it works on armour it'll work on shoulder planes!)
By Vann
#1171820
NazNomad wrote:...They must work be like a microscopic version of the 'needle scaler' we're talking about on another thread?
Not really. The needle scaler uses hammer action to break away rust, paint, whatever. The glass fibre brush uses a sweeping motion.

What they have in common is the use of multiple "needles" to get into corners etc - but IMHO the similarity ends there.

When I worked as a draughtsman years ago (before we changed to CAD) we used those brushes to erase ink lines when altering a drawing. They worked really well on drawing film, but you had to be very careful on tracing paper and linen drawings.

Cheers, Vann.
By Seiken
#1171876
I've used these fibreglass pencils to clean circuit board tracks, electrical and switch contacts for a number of years (was an electronics engineer). If you are near a Maplins you can normally get one there.
By MJP
#1171932
One thing to beware of when using these brushes is that the tiny broken off glass fibres get into your skin and cause no end of irritation so I would advise always to wear gloves when you use a brush, and throw the gloves away when you finish.

Martin.
By Vann
#1171958
whiskywill wrote:...Linen drawings? You must be even older than I am.
Not necessarily, but the linen drawings were probably older than both of us put together.

When I first started working in the drawing office (1980) they still had original tracings of steam locomotives built in the 1860s. We would very occasionally make alterations to drawings of parts that dated back to before WW2 (dammit, we were still running carriages built just before WW2 up until 2014). IIRC most of the linen tracings were produced between the two world wars. They all got microfilmed during the late 1980s- and all those beautiful tracings went west (I think some went to railway societies) along with lots of tool catalogues, etc.

When I think of all the marvelous historic catalogues I could have picked out of the bin - if only I'd had the interest back then #-o

Cheers, Vann.
By Seiken
#1171964
Vann wrote:
whiskywill wrote:...Linen drawings? You must be even older than I am.
Not necessarily, but the linen drawings were probably older than both of us put together.

When I first started working in the drawing office (1980) they still had original tracings of steam locomotives built in the 1860s. We would very occasionally make alterations to drawings of parts that dated back to before WW2 (dammit, we were still running carriages built just before WW2 up until 2014). IIRC most of the linen tracings were produced between the two world wars. They all got microfilmed during the late 1980s- and all those beautiful tracings went west (I think some went to railway societies) along with lots of tool catalogues, etc.

When I think of all the marvelous historic catalogues I could have picked out of the bin - if only I'd had the interest back then #-o

Cheers, Vann.


Come on , linen drawings were still being worked on in the DO when I started in 1977, the change to drawing on mylar was just being made - I'me not old just mature!
By Vann
#1171983
Seiken wrote:Come on , linen drawings were still being worked on in the DO when I started in 1977, the change to drawing on mylar was just being made - I'me not old just mature!
I think there was still a part roll of linen in the tracings store room, but I never saw anyone do a new drawing on linen (and there was no reason to think that roll was newer than the 1870s tracings :mrgreen: ) but then I think the new plastic (mylar?) film arrived in the drawing office shortly after I did.

Cheers, Vann.