Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums Repair, Restoration, Parts, Cleaning Restoring/Cleaning R.R. locomotive bells

  • This topic has 8 replies, 3 voices, and was last updated 9 years ago by Anonymous.
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    • #10453
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      There’s a great article in the ‘Railroadiana” website about restoring locomotive bells. Well worth reading if you’re about to undertake the process. http://www.railroadiana.org/pgCleaningAndRestoration.shtml
      It’s well written by a Railroad collector who’s “been there, done that.”
      We have permission to send you to the site.[/list]

    • #12753
      dunrobin
      Participant

      Thank you. I looked at the site and tried it. I got a pink bell. Which means it is bronze anyway. I got the bronze look back with extra fine steel wool, brasso and WD-40. It took me three and half hours on the lathe turning at 160 rpm, but it looks really good. All the old machining marks and dings are still in the bell and it shines.

    • #12754
      dunrobin
      Participant

      Hi. I just finished restoring a bronze steam locomotive bell. The advice on Railroadiana.com is okay but he missed a few things. First of all what is your bell made from? If you have industial toilet bowl cleaner put a dab on the inside of the bell, just a q-tip dab. If the spot turns pink/copper it is bronze. If there is not change the bell is brass. Muratic acid diluted will remove any heavy tarnish, but if the bell is bronze you will get a pink bell that will take forever to get the bronze colour back if you don’t have a lathe. The best thing to do is to us stuff called NeverDull. It will clean anything in no time at all and will not harm any finishes unless it is plated. Works better than brasso. To keep the polished look go to an indusrtial janitorial supplier and ask them for a brass protecter. I don’t remember the name, but it will coat it and keep it from tarnishing longer. Car wax will work too. I polished mine with dielectic silicon after cleaning it. My bell will be inside though. It may work for outside too. Hope this all helps.

    • #12755
      Peter Hyde
      Member

      I am interested in your method of using industrial toilet cleaner to prove whether or not a bell is bronze or brass. What is the chemical involved? I am not sure which toilet cleaner in the UK would be equivalent to yours! I have used NevrDull. Whitechapel Bell Foundry recommend the use of Autosol to clean their bronze bells. I have used it for several years and prefer it to NevrDull. Any other tips on how to tell the difference between bronze and brass? I have always considered the lengh of time the bell note rings to be pretty conclusive.

    • #12756
      dunrobin
      Participant

      Hi. I will check at work and get you a name of the toilet boil cleaner and the chemical if it is on the bottle. I have never seen Autosol in stores in Canada. Another sure fire way of checking is diluted muriatic acid. The acid just cleans the tarnish off of brass, but it turns bronze pink. Test a small spot inside the bell. The ring method is not always acurate. I rang my bell before I restored it and was sure it was only brass. It turned out to be bronze. I always thought bronze had a deeper ring to it. I never knew about the length of tone though. The die-electric silcone really brought out the bronze look and should keep the elements from tarnishing it for a long time. I will get back to you asap.

    • #12757
      dunrobin
      Participant

      Hello Peter. I found out what I used.
      The name of the product is Toilet Boil Cleaner 23% HCL
      Ostrem Chemical out of Edmonton AB makes it.
      I have been told they have changed the formula though.
      The main ingredient is Hydrogen Chloride.
      The second ingredient is/are Ackyl Dimethyl Amonium Chloride .05%
      So I would guess the Hydrogen Chloride is the chemical that turns the bronze pink.
      That would probably make sense as Muriatic acid is dilute Hydrochloric acid and it is probably related to Hydrogen Chloride.
      I tested on a known hunk of brass and it did nothing.
      Hope this helps.

    • #12759
      dunrobin
      Participant

      Hi. What is you question? I don’t quite understand. Sorry.

    • #12760
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Dear Dunrobin,

      I had the same question as you did and then I noticed that loralee had put a link at the bottom of her posting. That means she is advertising a product. We do not allow free advertising on our website so I will be deleting her posting as soon as I send this off. Bottom line: Her posting is spam.

      Admin (Carolyn)

    • #12758
      dunrobin
      Participant

      Thank you!

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