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The other day I posted the first photo of one of the locks from my 1870 Scott on another thread. I thought the lock was pretty clean but on a whim I tossed both of them into my sonic cleaner. Wow! Every time I do this I am stunned at what comes out! My sonic cleaner is a Lyman and I just use the detergent they sell. I don’t disassemble anything, just whole hog and then thoroughly dry with a heat gun on a low setting (hair dryer would work just as well). Amazing that after 150 years the locks remain almost brand new! What you see is the way it left the Birmingham factory, nothing else has been done.

BEFORE

[Linked Image from jpgbox.com]


AFTER

[Linked Image from jpgbox.com]

[Linked Image from jpgbox.com]


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I really need to get a better quality ultrasonic tank. Mine is cheap junk and lacks the power to do much of anything.

That looks great.

What will you lube it with? Oil or grease?


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Brent, I use a moly based oil but any good oil will be fine. Just use sparingly. If you can see it then it’s too much (IMO). It will wick into the tight places. I once saw JJ Perodeau simply smear Vaseline over the moving parts and called it good. He said in time it would wick everywhere. Whatever....


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Wow! Look at how the case colors pop. I’m going to have to try this.

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150 year old quality there.

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Old brown gun. Harrumph!

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Wow, did that ever make a difference. I need to get myself a cleaner.

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Parts from a 3 digit M1885 after a ultrasonic bath.

[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]


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I seem to recall an earlier discussion of sonic cleaners that mentioned possible damage to leaf springs. Is there a concern?


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question...

after cleaning of hardened parts, on old dirty guns, where does one stop with the cleaning process?

collectors like originality...dirt and grime are worth money...rust is not, usually...


birds are gone...dogs are gone...awl we got left are the gons...
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Originally Posted by rocky mtn bill
I seem to recall an earlier discussion of sonic cleaners that mentioned possible damage to leaf springs. Is there a concern?

Hahahaha Billy... it sounds as if your neurons could use a good ultrasonic cleaning to remove the heavy accumulation of amyloid beta plaques, tau tangles, and Liberal Democrat propaganda.

Your deranged mind is probably confusing ultrasonic cleaning with electrolysis rust removal, which can cause hydrogen embrittlement in springs and hardened parts. But the problem is reversible, if you know how.


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There are many ultrasonic cleaners on the market. Any recommendations? I don't intend to clean brass.

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I bought a L&R commercial grade ultrasonic cleaner almost 20 years ago, top quality stuff but I see the prices have gone way up, even on Ebay. My unit has a heater as well and is big enough for a double receiver. It works beautifully but I'm not sure most people would be able to justify the cost today.
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I got this one but it was not as expensive then either. I got it so I could do barrels as part of their prep for rust bluing. It has made a big difference .
https://www.lymanproducts.com/brands/lyman/turbo-sonic/turbo-sonic-power-pro-barrel-cleaner

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I want one large enough to hold a double gun receiver

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Originally Posted by LGF
I want one large enough to hold a double gun receiver

Well, don't get suckered like I did. I bought one off of ebay that was heated, timer, etc. Held a gallon for capacity. But it wasn't nearly as powerful as claimed and the price was too good to be true.

I've been stalking for one at the university surplus but no luck yet.


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Look for old dental offices that are closing. They use them and have ones with enough power to do the job. I’ve bought a dipole this way for $100.00 each. New they would be nearer $1,000.00 each. But make sure they work. Put a ball of aluminum foil in them and turn it on. Will bounce that ball all over place place and quickly build up heat. If the ball does not move it is nit working properly even if it sounds like it is. Don’t ask how I know.

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Look at the Lyman Turbo Sonic Cleaner 6000 at Midway. It’s on sale for $290.00. I just use the Lyman 2500 and it’s on sale for $106.00. My 2500 cleaned the locks I began this thread with in 16 minutes.

Last edited by Joe Wood; 01/27/21 10:02 PM.

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Perhaps a dumb question: as I won't use it often and also don't have much storage space, can a larger part like a receiver be cleaned in a smaller unit by leaving the lid open and running it through twice, with one end sticking out of the solution?

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Not a “dumb” question at all. If it’s a SXS or O/U the whole action will fit inside the basket. A longer action, such as a repeater, will probably not. I see no reason why part of it couldn’t stick out of the water. And yes, it will run with the lid off. The lid is handy to help keep the water warm.

Last edited by Joe Wood; 01/26/21 07:25 PM.

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I'm a believer:

From this.....

[Linked Image from photos.smugmug.com]


To this.....

[Linked Image from photos.smugmug.com]


The world cries out for such: he is needed & needed badly- the man who can carry a message to Garcia
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Wow! Canvasback, that is an incredible change!

Here is a similar result. I don’t have a before photo but can tell you I thought all the colors on this old Sauer were gone. What a remarkable change a sonic cleaning made! Afterwards I used Formby’s satin tung oil to protect it. Incidentally, the workmanship in these side locks is incredible. Gun is from about 1895.

Once again, I just tossed the whole action into the sonic cleaner without disassembly and when finished washed it thoroughly under hot water and dried with a heat gun turned low. Kept it hot enough to be very uncomfortable to hold. I know a better cleaning could have been done with a complete disassembly but I didn’t want to risk marring the screw heads. Lightly oiled all visible moving parts.

[Linked Image from jpgbox.com]

Last edited by Joe Wood; 01/27/21 11:34 AM.

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Thanks, Joe, I just ordered one. Now to see if such glorious colors are hiding on any of my old girls.

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Joe, what cleaning solution do you use in your ultrasonic ?

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Lyman Turbo Sonic cleaning solutions for steel and gun parts. Rather expensive but I reuse the diluted solution. When finished I just put the fluid in a plastic container with a snap on lid. Sometimes I filter it through a coffee filter if there’s a lot of crud in it. Have never had to throw away the stuff and renew it. My bottle will probably last a lifetime (which ain’t saying much at my age).


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You guys who guys who use these cleaners .......... do you think this one would give maximum cleaning effect? It appears to be pretty much the same unit as Joe's 2500, but with a stainless steel exterior.

https://www.midwayusa.com/product/1064118839?pid=118839


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Stan, I have one of those and like it a lot. Big enough to put two entire pistol frames or receivers in at one time. Does an excellent job. I use Simple Green Pro for a cleaner but follow the directions on the jug of cleaner for mixing.


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Stanton, I think it would be great and would probably prefer it over my Lyman 2500 simply because of its larger capacity. I’d expect both to clean equally well.


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Originally Posted by Mike Covington
Stan, I have one of those and like it a lot. Big enough to put two entire pistol frames or receivers in at one time. Does an excellent job. I use Simple Green Pro for a cleaner but follow the directions on the jug of cleaner for mixing.


Originally Posted by Joe Wood
Stanton, I think it would be great and would probably prefer it over my Lyman 2500 simply because of its larger capacity. I’d expect both to clean equally well.

Thanks, both. That's my next gunshop purchase.


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I agree with Stan. And knowing what we have learned about ultrasonic cleaning bringing out hidden case colors, I won't be using steel wool or Frontier pads on actions and locks until I am certain that there are no case colors to remove or degrade.

As far as the thought that steel wool is softer than case hardening, so it cannot damage that hardened surface, consider this... high speed steel taps and drill bits become dull when used enough on mild steel.


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I've read , maybe on this sight, that ultrasonic cleaners can make those beautiful leaf springs crack. Has anyone found this to be true ?
Thanks

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Is there any reason not to use a solvent like Ed's Red in an ultrasonic cleaner? If combustion is a potential issue, one could put it and the parts in a jar, as in the video posted by Builder in another current thread.

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Originally Posted by terc
I've read , maybe on this sight, that ultrasonic cleaners can make those beautiful leaf springs crack. Has anyone found this to be true ?
Thanks


I have cleaned an awful lot of leaf springs in mine since I bought it in 2003 and have never had one break while using it.


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I think ultrasonic cleaners, and moreso heated ones, can aerosolize whatever liquid is in them and flash off solvents. So, maybe a little careful indoors? When they are run with covers, you may see significant droplets form on the under side. I think most that use a beaker or jar might do it to decrease the volume of cleaner needed and just run water in the tank, maybe with some sort of loose fitting cover on the jar? And, maybe careful with decent gun cleaning solvents, they might go after plastic baskets and other trim on the unit, maybe. Good luck with it.

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Originally Posted by terc
I've read , maybe on this sight, that ultrasonic cleaners can make those beautiful leaf springs crack. Has anyone found this to be true ?
Thanks


You are probably thinking about the electrolysis method of rust removal, which can cause hydrogen embrittlement in hardened tool steels and springs. This misinformation about ultrasonic cleaning was recently posted on this site by rocky mtn bill. But we may be at a tipping point where pointing out and correcting misinformation is less of a priority than preventing hurt feelings


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I have tried the ultrasonic several times with mudane results... I don't know what I am doing different. I just put an Ithaca Crass frame in today and the results after 15 mins are so insignificant I am not bothering to post photos.
Is it the solution? I see the Lyman referenced above @ Canvasback - What do you use?

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It will not reveal what is not there.

I use, spic and span and water. That’s it.

I always preheat the water, and I run as many cycles as I feel like running.

Occasionally if something is particularly grungy, I will take it out, dump the solution, make another batch, And do it again.

I don’t use anything flammable or corrosive.

When they come out they are hot as hell, and need to immediately lubricated to prevent flash rusting.

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