Electrolysis Cleaning Explained...

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Electrolysis Cleaning Explained...

Post by deanothehunter » Mon Feb 28, 2011 2:22 pm

Electrolysis cleaning explained…..my opinion !
Just for old copper/bronze coins or finds but only which you consider have no value.

Firstly you’ll need an old jam jar or plastic tub, a small power supply up to 6v you can go more but not advised in my opinion as voltage a little too extreme and can cause pitting if left too long a 6v battery with spring connecters on top will do as well if no power supply but also told mobile phone chargers perfect if you can easily tell positive from negative, then 4 small croc clips 2 lengths of wire preferably black and red.
For cleaning bicarbonate of soda from any supermrket and lemon juice never salt as this can and will kill copper coins by eating into surface.
Fill the jar with hot but not boiling water and add the bicarb and lemon about 1 to 2 t spoons of each and stir in.

Next connect the black to neg of battery or supply to coin or find and the red or pos to an old stainless spoon or piece of metal.
Place red pos with spoon into jar then switch on then dip the coin on black neg clip into water if it starts fizzing right away its working perfectly if not lift out coin or find and gently rub clip on edge to just remove surface dirt so it can make a connection then dip again it should now start fizzing. Always check every few mins and never leave and walk off keep watching at all times to avoid kids knocking over and causing a fire etc as they will be very much interested in what’s happening believe me :)) .

It works by the electric current travelling through the coin and exiting all over especially in copper and bronze, as it exits it causes small bubble which build up on surface where current exiting from and lifting any dirt and encrusted build ups with it which you’ll notice dropping into jar bottom but eventually the water will dirty and be more difficult to see through.

Only clean old worthless finds you just want to look better or other finds but if any copper coin has green patina leave well alone as this method will remove the green layer and in some cases remove vital detail that was only seen because of the patina so again leave these well alone they far better as they are.
Some old copper/bronze will look dark grey/black and in these cases come out a lot better with this method as you can see in pic with the floral metal plate I found, as well as the unreadable disk I found which turned out to be a worn George 111 half penny which looks better than when found believe me.

There is a lot of do’s and don’ts with electrolysis but in my opinion if like me instead of putting a worthless black disc into your collection why not put a cleaner ID’d coin in instead.
You will notice a black film build up on coin whilst its cleaning but this is easily removed with lemon juice on old soft cloth or towel, and never get polarity wrong or the coin will come out blacker and dirtier than before it went in, always remember black negative to coin never other way round :( .

Don’t if you have any doubts use this method but this was my opinion and my results…… but please no come backs saying I ruined my coin =)) … the choice is yours…but I have been more than happy with many finds that I could barely see what they were until I tried this method of cleaning.

Hope this is of help to you all and good luck if you try but as I always think if its an old worthless find its worth a go as last resort and less extreme than steel wool
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Re: ELECTROLYSIS CLEANING EXPLAINED......

Post by Dave8472 » Mon Feb 28, 2011 4:29 pm

I have used it with success on some old Livery Buttons that I could not get the crud off as well, but you are right it is very easy to mess stuff up, I over-cooked a couple of late 19th century presentation pieces slightly and lost a bit of detail, so as Deano says, do at your own risk !!
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Re: ELECTROLYSIS CLEANING EXPLAINED......

Post by deanothehunter » Mon Feb 28, 2011 8:29 pm

Dave8472 wrote:I have used it with success on some old Livery Buttons that I could not get the crud off as well, but you are right it is very easy to mess stuff up, I over-cooked a couple of late 19th century presentation pieces slightly and lost a bit of detail, so as Deano says, do at your own risk !!
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I only ruined 2 but in the early I know it all days =)) only cos they were green and when this came off detail went with it, but I learnt from that and only now use on really dirty stuff where it this method or nothing but never on anything other than copper and bronze never use on silver or gold...EVER.... although I have used on cupro nickel it works but they turn a golden bronzy colour which dont look bad and does make ID possible and better than the redish tone these type take on, but again only on what I consider to be worthless :)
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Re: ELECTROLYSIS CLEANING EXPLAINED......

Post by roadwarriormax » Mon Feb 28, 2011 8:39 pm

i have found this method only works well on stuff that is in a decent state to begin with ,and would never use it on roman coins ,but on some artifacts it works well ,worn and faint coins no point, you usually end up with a bright copper shine and all the detail has disapeard :)
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Re: ELECTROLYSIS CLEANING EXPLAINED......

Post by Oldest Swinger » Mon Feb 28, 2011 8:41 pm

Well instructed Deano m8 however I must take issue with your statement "never use on silver". I have often used on silver (though would not recomend doing to hammered or thin silver), the difference being for silver miss out the lemon and bicarb and use salt. Brings silver up a treat and have never had a bad result. As you state if you put salt in when cleaning copper then you will ruin your find.

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Re: ELECTROLYSIS CLEANING EXPLAINED......

Post by deanothehunter » Mon Feb 28, 2011 9:00 pm

Oldest Swinger wrote:Well instructed Deano m8 however I must take issue with your statement "never use on silver". I have often used on silver (though would not recomend doing to hammered or thin silver), the difference being for silver miss out the lemon and bicarb and use salt. Brings silver up a treat and have never had a bad result. As you state if you put salt in when cleaning copper then you will ruin your find.

Paul
I only say that mate as I been told it could end in disaster =)) and turn it a different colour but never been brave enough to try on anything other than copper and bronze and the odd cupro but thanks for that info always good to know what can be added and what cant :) , i would probably rather chance the foil trick on silver first and it rarely seems to be dirty enough to need electrolysis but having said that there are coins with only a percentage of silver so these are probably the ones that would benefit from it and look considerably dirtier than 100% silver, but if I found a hammie I would leave well alone as it may not be worth much cash wise but they are really at the top of my wanted list so I would wrap in cotton wool and probably talk to it... lol =)) =))
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Re: ELECTROLYSIS CLEANING EXPLAINED......

Post by GREGGOWREX » Tue Mar 01, 2011 11:39 am

Just tried that Deano :) it works a treat :))

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Re: ELECTROLYSIS CLEANING EXPLAINED......

Post by deanothehunter » Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:02 pm

greggowrex wrote:Just tried that Deano :) it works a treat :))

greg
Glad to hear it mate, if you concentrate on what you are doing and check at regular intervals it should never be a disaster but should make it look a whole lot better :)
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Re: ELECTROLYSIS CLEANING EXPLAINED......

Post by GREGGOWREX » Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:07 pm

Yeah I used a batt charger 6 volts on trickle ...as you mentioned 2 tps of bicarb ....I didnt have any lemon juice but it still looks 100% better ...... :))

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Re: ELECTROLYSIS CLEANING EXPLAINED......

Post by deanothehunter » Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:18 pm

greggowrex wrote:Yeah I used a batt charger 6 volts on trickle ...as you mentioned 2 tps of bicarb ....I didnt have any lemon juice but it still looks 100% better ...... :))

greg
Thats good then mate lemon is a good general cleaner anyway and smells nice =)) but vinegar or any citrus fruit juice should work as well as it makes these active ingredients fizz more and remove more dirt and the hot water dissolves them quicker and gets them going better than cold and you would'nt do the washing up indoors in cold water, I have made some old coins that were unreadable look better and be easily dated, I just like experimenting =))
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Re: ELECTROLYSIS CLEANING EXPLAINED......

Post by beaubrummell » Sun Apr 28, 2013 2:20 pm

Hi
I'm going to give this a go on some cruddy coins (no value). However, my phone charger I intend to use has a black and a white wire in side the main cable. Do you know which I should attach to the coin ?

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Re: ELECTROLYSIS CLEANING EXPLAINED......

Post by busterhamer » Sun Apr 28, 2013 3:11 pm

if your not sure which is pos or neg then have a guess and if the spoon fizzes instead of the coin you have them the wrong way round, swap them over and away you go ::g ::g
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Re: ELECTROLYSIS CLEANING EXPLAINED......

Post by batz52 » Tue Jul 02, 2013 7:48 pm

Hi can you please tell me, yesterday I used electrolysis for the first time and discovered that salt is no good on copper coins.
So after reading this thread I'm trying bicarbonate soda and lemon juice mixed with water. Strangely the spoon is now fizzing and the coin isn't?
I'm connected properly the same as yesterday?
Is this because of a different solution? Or do you need to change the spoon occasionally?
Would appreciate some help please.

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Re: ELECTROLYSIS CLEANING EXPLAINED......

Post by jonspade » Tue Jul 02, 2013 8:55 pm

thanks for the info ::g
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Re: ELECTROLYSIS CLEANING EXPLAINED......

Post by plasticpete » Wed Jul 03, 2013 7:09 pm

I'm using an old stainless steel fork for the positive terminal and they BOTH fizz! The coin fizzes a bit more, but I can't say there's a vast difference. Am I doing something wrong (electrolyte is bicarb and vinegar), how long do you cokk it to get the brilliant results above?

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Re: ELECTROLYSIS CLEANING EXPLAINED......

Post by slurryoffagrape » Wed May 18, 2016 8:55 pm

Just passing this on as I’ve read it several times when I was researching this…. Check it out for yourselves.:-

It is a VERY bad idea to use stainless steel or chrome as an anode (+ve). It produces chromates in the electrolyte solution. The chromates are cancerous and can cause burns. It’s also illegal to dispose of the solution down drains and apparently should be dried and the residue placed in sealed containers and disposed of at a collection site.
Hole? What hole?

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Re: ELECTROLYSIS CLEANING EXPLAINED......

Post by slurryoffagrape » Wed May 18, 2016 8:56 pm

If your solution turns yellow, that is a sign of chromates
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Re: ELECTROLYSIS CLEANING EXPLAINED......

Post by Euro Detector » Tue Oct 10, 2017 1:06 pm

slurryoffagrape wrote:
Wed May 18, 2016 8:55 pm
Just passing this on as I’ve read it several times when I was researching this…. Check it out for yourselves.:-

It is a VERY bad idea to use stainless steel or chrome as an anode (+ve). It produces chromates in the electrolyte solution. The chromates are cancerous and can cause burns. It’s also illegal to dispose of the solution down drains and apparently should be dried and the residue placed in sealed containers and disposed of at a collection site.
Good tip ::g
If an old stainless steel or chrome object such as an old spoon or fork is not suitable to use as an anode, what would be a valid alternative?
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Re: ELECTROLYSIS CLEANING EXPLAINED......

Post by Koala » Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:30 pm

Euro Detector wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 1:06 pm
slurryoffagrape wrote:
Wed May 18, 2016 8:55 pm
Just passing this on as I’ve read it several times when I was researching this…. Check it out for yourselves.:-

It is a VERY bad idea to use stainless steel or chrome as an anode (+ve). It produces chromates in the electrolyte solution. The chromates are cancerous and can cause burns. It’s also illegal to dispose of the solution down drains and apparently should be dried and the residue placed in sealed containers and disposed of at a collection site.
Good tip ::g
If an old stainless steel or chrome object such as an old spoon or fork is not suitable to use as an anode, what would be a valid alternative?
Anything made from iron or steel ::g

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Re: Electrolysis Cleaning Explained...

Post by Koala » Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:32 pm

Not that I use this method on coins. But cleaning up old horseshoes I give away its great

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