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Theres gotta be a better way.

Joined
Jan 10, 2004
Messages
1,035
My ultra fine Spyderco stones clog with metal quickly and even though I clean them frequently with a scrubbing pad and soft scrub they are beginning to have a gray look.:mad: :barf: How can I get this embedded metal out? There must be a way to dissolve the metal and that will not hurt the ceramic stone. Thanks much.
 
I switch back and forth from cleanser to Kresto which is a hand cleaner with pumice. It's what we have at work but I imagine any hand cleaner with pumice would work as well. Instead of Softscrub, I would try a cleanser with more grit like Ajax, "Barkeepers Friend" or Comet.
 
For the most part an ink eraser does fine on ceramic rods, but ceramic is pretty impervious to common household cleaners including those that are acidic or base. I've found that one of the best is Scrub Free soap scum remover which has sulfamic acid .... this stuff cleans old, clogged hones like nothing I've ever seen.

Lime-Away, Naval Jelly, Comet, they all work. Many say just put your Sharpmaker rods in the dishwasher.
 
Lucky for you, there is. The Rust Eraser removes metal deposits from ceramic better than anything I've tried. It works great on Edge Pro stones too. SMKW carries them as well, I got mine at their retail store. Great product.
 
Sal said in a post a while back,

"OK to clean just about any way that works. Ultrasonic, autoclave, acid dip, brillo, Scotchbrite, etc.

sal"

I find that an old Nestea jar filled with a 5 or 10% soapy solution, I use 409, and a 10 or 15 minute ultrasonic bath really loosens the metal bits. I do a quick wipe-off with some green Scotchbrite and they are about 98% clean.
 
Lots of great ideas here. Thanks.
I can clean my ultra fine sharpmaker rods pretty well but the benchstone is harder to get clean. I will give some of these ideas a go.
I was hoping a chemist would give me a magic soak solution formula to dissolve the metal.:) I guess a little elbow grease is a must.:rolleyes:
 
Not a chemist, but a day-long soak in hydrochloric acid should remove all the metal. Do it outside, and don't breathe the fumes! Wear rubber gloves. Rinse with water, and then soak in a 50% water/ammonia solution.
Or, just scrub them with Comet.
Bill
 
Swimming pool supply stores and hardware stores under Muriatic Acid.
 
Lots of great ideas here. Thanks.
I can clean my ultra fine sharpmaker rods pretty well but the benchstone is harder to get clean. I will give some of these ideas a go.
I was hoping a chemist would give me a magic soak solution formula to dissolve the metal.:) I guess a little elbow grease is a must.:rolleyes:

I have the opposite issue, I feel like I can bear down on the larger surface area (that whole elbow grease thing!) of my Spyderco benchstones easier than the rods when cleaning. Then again, I just got the UF Benchstone and only used it on 2 knives, so I should reserve judgement until I try to clean it. BTW, I use Comet, and it works OK, but I will try some of the other suggestions. I know Cliff Stamp recommends oven cleaner, from what I heard the harsher the chemical the better it works.
 
Using very clean Sharpmaker stones and light strokes took my sharpening to the next level (based on push cutting tests). So I consider this cleaning issue to be very important. Waterless methods are good in that they can be used at the desk or workbench quickly after each knife.

I've been having good results with Hoppe's Nitro Powder Solvent (a drop on a paper towel to clean all four stones). It seems to work well based on the black residue that rubs off on the paper towel. I got the idea here in the Toolshed forum.

I've also seen ceramic stove top cleaner suggested but I haven't tried that.
 
My UF benchstone cleaned okay for awhile but I have used the heck out of it now it is full of metal and has a gray cast to it. It need to do an industrial cleaning job on it. It is a great finishing stone, I want to keep it so.
There are some great cleaning tips here I will try them. Thanks, but more tips are welcome.
 
I did a serrated steak knife marathon sharpening session this afternoon and my Sharpmaker stones were pretty full of metal when I started. They were almost black along the corners and gray in the middle by the time I finished. BTW these were my first serrated knife sharpening attempts and I'm amazed at the results. About an hour ago I used a gray foam wet sanding sponge to clean all my Sharpmaker stones (medium, fine and ultra fine). They are all now absolutely sparkling white (and brown). I used a Scotchbrite pad at first, but the stones didn't clean up completely. The only thing that has worked perfectly so far was the sanding sponge. You can buy them at any home improvement warehouse or discount retailer.

Muratic acid sounds like a good idea too. You can buy it at Lowes in the pool area for around $2 a gallon. Use it outdoors and wear gloves.
 
I second the 'Rust Eraser.' Keeps my Sharpmaker and DoubleStuff hones all clean. Before that, Barkeeper's Friend was my Sharpmaker's friend.
 
Hydrochloric acid may work for carbon steel, but a lot of stainless steels will just laugh at it. Besides, acidic environments promote rust, and the fumes from HCL are nasty. Better to keep your knife sharpening equipment and knives away from acids.... bases like sodium carbonate will help prevent rust though so it isn't unuaual to add a bit of that to the water used for soaking waterstones.

You can keep the clogging on the spyderco rods down by lubricating them with water or a little dish soap... that will help keep the metal from sticking in the first place.

The rust eraser or a rubberized abrasive (you can find small rubber abrasive wheels for drills in the hardware store or you can get cratex blocks http://www.moldshoptools.com/catalog/list.php?category_id=257 ) should work well for cleaning them once they are glazed.
 
I agree- HCL causes lots of rust. That's one of the reasons I said to use it outside.
SODIUM (salt) carbonate also causes rust. There is no reason to use it. It certainly won't prevent rust!
I added the post about HCL because you guys seem to go way overboard about things. Brake parts cleaner will also work. A cheap ultrasonic cleaner will blow the particles out. Comet cleanser will work. A "Rust Eraser" will work. An ink eraser will work. Oven cleaner will work (it's also pretty noxious.) WD 40 will work. Sulfuric acid-based drain cleaner will work. You can even soak them in Clorox to bleach them. Resurfacing the stones will work best.
Bill
 
I agree- HCL causes lots of rust. That's one of the reasons I said to use it outside.
SODIUM (salt) carbonate also causes rust. There is no reason to use it. It certainly won't prevent rust!
I added the post about HCL because you guys seem to go way overboard about things. Brake parts cleaner will also work. A cheap ultrasonic cleaner will blow the particles out. Comet cleanser will work. A "Rust Eraser" will work. An ink eraser will work. Oven cleaner will work (it's also pretty noxious.) WD 40 will work. Sulfuric acid-based drain cleaner will work. You can even soak them in Clorox to bleach them. Resurfacing the stones will work best.
Bill

Neither Sodium Carbonate nor Sodium Bicarbonate will cause rust. While they are salts, they are not "table salt" (sodium chloride). Rather, they are both acid netralizers. Added to an acidic solution, they will netralize the acid and make the solution neutral (neither acid nor basic i.e. pH 7). As a general rule, steels withstand bases and neutral solutions far better than acid solutions.

As an industrial chemist and materials engineer (I've worked as both), I believe the acid soak would work, but I do not recommend it. There are safer options that also work.

The best answers I have read here so far are the "rust eraser" and the "barkeep's friend". Comet should remove the residual metal, but it contains bleach which can get trapped in the pores of the ceramic and then come in contact with the knife blades. I prefer to keep thin precision steel edges away from any type of chlorinated solution as chloride ion promotes the rust reaction (that's why table salt is bad). Comet probably would not hurt it, but why take the chance when there are better options.

For my own part, I have some crock sticks that I have used on my kitchen knives for a numer of years. I use Bon Ami with a Scotch Brite pad on them. Like "barkeeps friend", it has no chlorine in it. It's worked for about 20 years now.
 
This forum is a gold mine! To be able to tap into the experience and intelligence here when you have a problem is just great. I tried several of the suggestions here and my stones are in good shape now. Thank you all very much.
If anyone has more sugestions keep them coming. This is very interesting.:)
 
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