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removing rust from dies

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by bubbacrabb, Jan 31, 2013.

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  1. bubbacrabb

    bubbacrabb Member

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    I've temporarily been living in Oregon from Arizona. I head to Indiana next week, long story short I don't have room in or to set up my press and my box trailer leaked a bit. My dies have a very slight amount of rust on them, can I just give them the baking soda and tooth brush treatment like my knives and then maybe tumble them? I can't afford new dies I just want these things lookin better. They're just Lee dies bit only a few years old.
     
  2. GT1

    GT1 Member

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    Throw them in your tumbler, they will come out looking like new.
     
  3. 45lcshooter

    45lcshooter Member

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    A good metal polisher, and a dremel with a felt wheel. It makes them sparkle. I used Flitz on mine and they shined and sparkled. My dad gave me some stuff that they use in the metal shop at his work, I tried it and it had a mirror finish. A lot better than Flitz
     
  4. bds
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    bds Member

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    There's more to it than that.

    You'll need to take the die apart and clean the inside of the die surface (I use Hoppes #9 solvent and bore brush).

    You'll need to use crushed walnut media which is very hard with very sharp edges that physically remove the surface rust on the outside as the inside of the dies will be packed with walnut media and won't do much (That's why you check/clean the inside first). ;)

    I can't speak for other brand vibratory tumbler and motors but Cabela's (Berry's 400) tumbler has powerful enough motor to polish 3 sets of Lee dies without issues.

    I also use walnut media treated with NuFinish liquid car polish as the residual polymer coating on the die surface will prevent return of surface rust for 6 month to 1 year+ depending on the humidity level in the air.

    Here are before/after pictures of badly rusted Lee dies I cleaned and polished.

    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=586563

    Before rust removal/tumble polish:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    After rust removal/tumble polish:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  5. RainDodger

    RainDodger Member

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    I've had a very similary problem with Wilson case gauges and case holders. Sounds weird but I tossed a bit of Hoppes #9 I had, into my case tumbling media (maybe an ounce of Hoppes). The media was old, so I thought I'd try it.

    I tossed in the case holders and tumbled them for a while. They came out better than new. No rust, looked great. They looked so good that I ran a whole bunch of other stuff through also. I'd have no problem running die bodies through either.
     
  6. fguffey

    fguffey Member

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    Rust on dies, Lee is the worst, I have lee dies, I do not use them.

    I priced out a pile of dies to sell at the last Guns Gun show, no interest in Lee dies, I found one I had not seen in a whole, I was concerned until I was able to scrap enough rust off the die to identify it as a Lee, 300 Win Mag.

    Then it there is the culture, starts out with “This is what I do etc., etc..” Cleaning dies and bad habits, starts with a degreaser, I want all the grease on my dies I can get, inside, I am the one that uses a towel on a dowel, that is it. the rusty Lee die did not start out as being one of my dies, I purchased 40 pounds of junk, gages, dies, Wilson case holders for their trimmers, including the trimmer, and? Lee dies, I started separating the Lee dies as a good gesture, I was going to give them back after purchasing the assorted pieces of reloading equipment, the Dealer saw straight through my generosity, as in one ‘upsmanship’, he claimed he threw in the Lee dies for free.

    I did make an effort to clean the die. the inside of the die looked good except the first .200” above the belt portion of the die, it was swollen meaning the die was not sizing/touching the bottom of the case in front of the belt.

    I purchases a set of RCBS 44 Special/44 Remington dies for $5.00, the dealer said that is all they were worth because they were so ugly, the only part of the three dies that makes contact with the case is the carbide ring and crimp portion of the seating die. I left the dies with a friend, I pocked them up about a month later, the dies looked like he swapped them with a new set of dies.

    F. Guffey
     
  7. GT1

    GT1 Member

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    Uh, it never crossed my mind that someone would throw whole assembled dies in a tumbler.

    I guess I should assume everyone is a complete idiot.
     
  8. bds
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    bds Member

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    GT1, no offense ... I was alluding to the fact that the inside of the dies needs to be cleaned first as vibratory tumbling won't clean/polish the inside of the dies ALONG WITH
    Peace.
     
  9. GuitarsAndGuns

    GuitarsAndGuns Member

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    My Lee Dies started rusting after I first purchased them. After tumbling them to remove the rust, I treated them with a dry lube and never had a problem since. I use it on my press too. I use either the Remington spray or Sentry Solutions Tuf-Glide. The Sentry Solutions works better but the dispenser is a little trickier, but it leaves no residue. With the Remington you have to wipe them down afterwards. Not a big deal either way. I do this every 3 months or so.
     
  10. mdi

    mdi Member

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    Then put a light coat of oil on them to keep them from rusting...
     
  11. Kevin Rohrer

    Kevin Rohrer Member

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    I soaked a rusty die in a solution of citric acid that you can buy in powder form in any women's hobby supply store for a few $. Soak it for a day or two and the rust disappears. Then rinse well in water, dry, and oil.

    Voila!

    This is a 'before' pic of the die.
    IMG_0373-1.jpg

    And after cleaning in citric acid. Any discoloration you see is oil.
    IMG_0515.jpg
     
  12. fguffey

    fguffey Member

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    I use vinegar, straight vinegar, about 5%, then there is the expensive stuff called table vinegar, about 15%, difference between 5% and 15%? time, 15% cleans faster/in less time. For those that do not know about time add water to dilute. I collect anything old, unlike most I do not clean with wire wheels, grinders etc., I clean old tools with Vinegar, most old wrenches take at least 8 hours, if I want to slow the process down I add water.

    F. Guffey
     
  13. J_McLeod

    J_McLeod Member

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    Good thread, I have the same problem. I started reloading when I lived in arizona and now I live in Tennessee and my Lee dies are starting to rust.
     
  14. JLDickmon

    JLDickmon Member

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    throw 'em in the tumbler.
     
  15. resqdoc

    resqdoc Member

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    Kano Labs, the makers of Kroil, makes a product called Exrust. It is amazing at removing rust like that pictured on in this thread. Works in just a few minutes.

    Keep it far away from bluing, a form of rust itself. I could not be more pleased with this product!

    http://www.kanolabs.com/

    My initial plan was to then tumble in my Thumler's tumbler with stainless media to clean inside and out. I have not found the need.
     
  16. savanahsdad

    savanahsdad Member

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    never had a Lee die rust ?? I have had RCBS dies rust (outside only), and about any brand of shell holders have rusted , when this happens I use "Permatex Rust Dissolver Gel " you can find it at most auto parts stores and at Fleet Farm, just put a little on an old tooth brush and clean rust away, rinse, dry and wipe with oil rag good as new ,
     
  17. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

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    Wow. Remembering why I'm glad I live in the desert.
     
  18. thump_rrr

    thump_rrr Member

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    Boeshield T-9 to prevent it and Boeshield rust free to remove it.
    They can be found as a 2 pack in the Sears tool section.
     
  19. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    I've had Lee and RCBS dies rust. RCBS was the worst. Had to work on those awhile with 0000 steel wool, the "guaranteed rust remover" is ultra fine steel wool and elbow grease.

    Builds character as you clean up after yourself, and you learn a lesson in the process; keep your dies oiled. :)
     
  20. mdi

    mdi Member

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    dbl post, oh my, I'm introuble now...
     
  21. mdi

    mdi Member

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    Yep, and some members insist that every i be dotted, every t be crossed and perfect spelling be in every post. Oh, and watch for syntax errors!
     
  22. Searcher4851

    Searcher4851 Member

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    I have RCBS as well as Lee dies. Never had a Lee rust yet, but the RCBS dies are more prone to rust. I just assumed it had to do with the grade of steel used.
     
  23. Faret

    Faret Member

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    Seen some stuff like rust solvent at menards in the paint dept. just dip them in and it is suppost to disolve the rust.
     
  24. c.latrans

    c.latrans Member

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    resqdoc beat me to it. Second for Exrust, works as advertised.
     
  25. Faret

    Faret Member

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    Metal Rescue is the name of the one at Menard's. Got some Krud Kutter "The must for Rust" Rust remover and inhibitor that I am going to try from Wally World.
     
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