Cleaning a ruler
#11
  
I have an old Starrett ruler for my square that has some discoloration/pattern on it that is a bit distracting.  Anyone have any suggestions on what the best way to go about removing this is?  My first thought is fine sandpaper (only on the readable faces).

   

Mark

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#12
  Re: Cleaning a ruler by msweig (I have an old Starre...)
(03-16-2020, 03:59 PM)msweig Wrote: I have an old Starrett ruler for my square that has some discoloration/pattern on it that is a bit distracting.  Anyone have any suggestions on what the best way to go about removing this is?  My first thought is fine sandpaper (only on the readable faces).



Mark

I've had good luck doing two things:

1) Use a mild solvent to get off the dirt. Alcohol, blue shop towels and elbow-grease.
2) Use a medium or fine grit of Sandflex Rust Eraser block. Be aware, that this may cause some loss of the black enamel (?) down inside the engravings but on the whole, I think it was a fair trade off in bringing some old Brown & Sharpe gear back to life.

The few times I've done something stupid and somehow allowed glue to dry on the beam, I did a little picking with a razor knife prior to solvent and scrubbing.

And I go ahead and wipe it down once in a while with my oily rag that I use for wiping down blades and chisels after sharpening.

YMMV
Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things. -- G. Carlin
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#13
  Re: Cleaning a ruler by msweig (I have an old Starre...)
(03-16-2020, 03:59 PM)msweig Wrote: I have an old Starrett ruler for my square that has some discoloration/pattern on it that is a bit distracting.  Anyone have any suggestions on what the best way to go about removing this is?  My first thought is fine sandpaper (only on the readable faces).



Mark

you might try a metal polish  jerry
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#14
  Re: Cleaning a ruler by msweig (I have an old Starre...)
No sandpaper. As suggested, get thee some metal polish, like Autosol (its from Germany, but there are domestic alternatives) and with a little elbow grease you will have a much improved scale.
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#15
  Re: Cleaning a ruler by msweig (I have an old Starre...)
(03-16-2020, 03:59 PM)msweig Wrote: I have an old Starrett ruler for my square that has some discoloration/pattern on it that is a bit distracting.  Anyone have any suggestions on what the best way to go about removing this is?  My first thought is fine sandpaper (only on the readable faces).



Mark

I've had success here with a fresh single edge razor if it's actual surface rust.  A razor can leave scratch marks so use caution.  Typically I'll follow up with very very fine sandpaper provided it was backed with something hard.  I've got a chunk from a broken sharpening stone that I use for a sanding block for things of this nature sometimes.  I like to go end to end in one direction only.  For lesser quality rules that don't have the markings blackened then sanding definitely does not seem to improve readability. 

A.
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#16
  Re: Cleaning a ruler by msweig (I have an old Starre...)
Nothing to add about stain removal. But I will say, I think the original bare steel Starrett tools were designed to discolor, gray and even stain a little. Shining them up makes them difficult for me to read. I did stupid stuff like buffing micrometer barrels. Unreadable. Old Starrett is like new satin chrome Starrett. Its supposed to be dull. Be careful sanding.

If anything, I would use Arkansas hones and WD-40. Joel sold me a couple boxes of little strips of hard and soft Arkansas years ago. I'm not sure I could tell them apart now. But Arkansas has enough variation of grit to it that surfaces never really get shiny using it. It produces a smooth dull gray most of the time. I like that gray. Pretty sure CS wrote about it years ago - regarding whether it was a disadvantage or not. That's what I would do.
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#17
  Re: RE: Cleaning a ruler by adamcherubini (Nothing to add about...)
(03-17-2020, 09:28 AM)adamcherubini Wrote: Nothing to add about stain removal.  But I will say, I think the original bare steel Starrett tools were designed to discolor, gray and even stain a little.  Shining them up makes them difficult for me to read.  I did stupid stuff like buffing micrometer barrels.  Unreadable.  Old Starrett is like new satin chrome Starrett. Its supposed to be dull.  Be careful sanding.

If anything, I would use Arkansas hones and WD-40.  Joel sold me a couple boxes of little strips of hard and soft Arkansas years ago.  I'm not sure I could tell them apart now.  But Arkansas has enough variation of grit to it that surfaces never really get shiny using it.  It produces a smooth dull gray most of the time.  I like that gray.  Pretty sure CS wrote about it years ago - regarding whether it was a disadvantage or not. That's what I would do.

Totally agree that I don't want it shiny (I hate glossy stuff).  Just a bit easier to read as in some locations the pattern is making it distracting.

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#18
  Re: Cleaning a ruler by msweig (I have an old Starre...)
(03-16-2020, 03:59 PM)msweig Wrote: I have an old Starrett ruler for my square that has some discoloration/pattern on it that is a bit distracting.  Anyone have any suggestions on what the best way to go about removing this is?  My first thought is fine sandpaper (only on the readable faces).



Mark

0000 steel wool and WD-40.  What this doesn't remove, stays.  Use a light hand.  No sandpaper.
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#19
  Re: Cleaning a ruler by msweig (I have an old Starre...)
(03-16-2020, 03:59 PM)msweig Wrote: I have an old Starrett ruler for my square that has some discoloration/pattern on it that is a bit distracting.  Anyone have any suggestions on what the best way to go about removing this is?  My first thought is fine sandpaper (only on the readable faces).



Mark

..........................
Just my opinion but that "discoloration" is likely shallow pitting of the steel caused by oxidation/rust..to totally remove it will require removing some of the rule's surface. I usually go to a medium grit "deburring wheel" on a bench grinder to do that..but it can quickly remove the etching also if not careful, and it can "round over" sharp edges...I have also used a belt grinder to resurface planes and plane irons, as well as chisels that are pitted/discolored badly. Sometimes it is so deep that they can't be removed without causing damage to the tool. Crazy

A "cold blue" for firearms, made by Birchwood-Casey {walmart} can help restore a darker color to steel if a bright sheen is not wanted..not perfect, but some like it better than seeing random discoloration.
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#20
  Re: Cleaning a ruler by msweig (I have an old Starre...)
I did not have the Autosol that Rich said the first one so I used Goo the orange cleaner and it worked wonderfully good.

Then my BIL bought some Autosol and it worked just as good.

Now I use the Goo cleaner to get all the crud off and then just use my buffing wheel on the lathe and WOW shine without the loss of the black lines.
IF I ever did take off the lines I would get some of the black (I do not remember what it is called but kike the Blue for machinist work) on the whole thing and block sand the dye off.
It is always the right time, to do the right thing.

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