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Naval jelly question...

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by crome robbins, Jan 21, 2011.

  1. crome robbins

    crome robbins

    Jan 21, 2011
    I just recently used naval jelly to clear up some rust on a old timer that I had sitting around. It worked pretty good except for a few stubborn spots. The only problem is, it left these weird gray spots on the knife, and now the knife has a weird chemical smell to it...not ok to me if I plan to use the knife for food. I've tried cleaning the knife with water and soap but still has the smell. What can I do to get rid of these spots and smell?
  2. JNewell

    JNewell Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 18, 2005
    Not sure about the smell, but I am sure about the spots - you are not going to be able to get rid of them, short of a high quality re-polish job. There's phosphoric acid (IIRC) in Naval Jelly and it etches the surface of the steel. Toss the [email protected] stuff first chance you get - it is just about the worst way to remove rust. :( :thumbdn:
  3. crome robbins

    crome robbins

    Jan 21, 2011
    thanks for the info...Yeah, I'll be sure to keep that nasty stuff away from my other knives..
  4. J.Davey


    Feb 10, 2004
    Couldn't agree more. While it's eating the rust, it's also eating everything else it touches. I used it one time, and that will be the last time.
  5. Hankins


    Dec 7, 2008
    Most likely has worked its way under the handle at some point.
    That stuff is Poison and you "DON'T" want it in your food. Get the MSDS for Phosphoric Acid and see how to neutralize it before it keeps eating your blade.
  6. JNewell

    JNewell Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 18, 2005
    I threw my jar away.

    That was 40 years ago...
  7. FAL'ER

    FAL'ER Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 31, 2010
    Yep, not so funny is that it's one of the main ingredients in a lot of soft drinks.
  8. Noctis3880

    Noctis3880 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 22, 2009
    I would suggest Brasso for that and your future rust removal. Mind you, I've never tried Brasso on heavy rust, but I find that it works fine for mild rust, being a liquid abrasive. But yeah, I think the only solution would be to wear away the surface layer of the steel to get rid of those spots.
  9. Toyz


    Nov 2, 2006
    If the rust isn't too aggressive, you could also try a Mr Clean Magic Eraser, steel wool, or a Scotchbrite pad.

    I don't use anything that has chemical properties on my blades.
  10. JNewell

    JNewell Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 18, 2005
    Kroil + bronze wool pad and/or copper sheet/tube edge.
  11. J.Davey


    Feb 10, 2004
    Personally, I still like Flitz.
  12. Phydeaux


    Mar 4, 2006
    I would flush it with water, lots of it. I'd even soak it to let the phosphoric acid diffuse out of the joints and cracks. You could even make a dilute solution of baking soda and soak you knife in it then rinse well with water.

    If you knife is stainless steel, the grey color is probably not necessarily bad. We used to treat SS tanks with various acids (phosphoric included) to "passivate" or create an oxide layer which actually will help protect the stainless steel.

    I've soaked an 01 tool steel knife in diluted phosphoric acid to make a patina, so one of these days i'll try using a soda (or pop as some call it:D) on an 01 blade.

    Just took a look at the MSDS. The Naval jelly in addition to the phosphoric acid had some sulfuric acid in it. The sulfuric acid is what makes it sting a little when you get it on your skin (i have spilled both phosphoric and sulfuric acids on myself). The sulpuric acid is probably what dissolves the steel the fastest and provides the residual stink.

    I think that David Boye knives etched by Francine were etched in a mix of sulphuric acid and another strong acid, maybe nitric acid. Beautiful work, unfortunately I think the site is down. Sorry about the tangent.

  13. shecky


    May 3, 2006
    Naval Jelly does the old patina thing exceptionally well. I've also used it to make stainless handles more grippy. The etching gives a slick stainless handle a blackboard-like texture.

    Wash it off with lots of water. You can scrub with baking soda to make sure the acid is neutralized. The fresh treatment does have that weird metallic funk smell. It goes away pretty quick IME. For removing rust on a knife, naval jelly is probably overkill, though. I'd probably use barkeepers friend, which does the job pretty well.

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