Ax Head found in creek -- Worth much work in restoring?

ScribbleMuse

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I found this in a local creek yesterday. I'm thinking it's probably from the tons of logging done around the area and will be going back to the same area tomorrow to see if there are any other finds around, but it started storming as I found this one and so I figured I should head back out of the wild.

I'm happy enough to find an ax head as my first non-drink tab/can/melted-lead-thingee, and would probably just keep it as-is without too much problem, but if it CAN perhaps be restored to a better appearance, I also don't mind doing the elbow work. :) This has been soaking overnight in apple cider vinegar as suggested on the boards here, and while I know it'll take much more time in soaks and scrubs, I'm not sure if there will be anything even LEFT under the rust?

Thanks for looking and any advice! :)

ax1.jpg ax2.jpg ax3.jpg
 
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ScribbleMuse

ScribbleMuse

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Forgot to add... When I first got home with it, I sprayed it with the rust/iron cleaning spray that I use on rocks sometimes, I think it was Comet brand. Immediately fumes that smelled like sulphur almost choked me. Is that common with heavily rusted finds? I hadn't had this problem with any of the rocks I'd gathered out of the same creek/area, or really with any item I've cleaned with the cleanser.
 

TheElementOfSand

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Whatever you sprayed probably causes a chemical reaction to cease the creation of more rust. You can always try electrolysis on it, look it up and you will find tons of info about it on the site here. Also you could try just dropping it in a bunch of White Vinegar and see how well that cleans it up. In all actuality from what I can tell it probably wont come much cleaner but it may still be worth a shot. HH
 
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ScribbleMuse

ScribbleMuse

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Whatever you sprayed probably causes a chemical reaction to cease the creation of more rust. You can always try electrolysis on it, look it up and you will find tons of info about it on the site here. Also you could try just dropping it in a bunch of White Vinegar and see how well that cleans it up. In all actuality from what I can tell it probably wont come much cleaner but it may still be worth a shot. HH

Thanks! I have been poking at it and am thinking that it doesn't seem like anything gleaming or shiny will come out of it, so I think I will just take your vinegar soak advice and then rub it as much as I can, and just keep as an entry to my pile of things that will probably confuse the heck out of any future archeologist/treasure hunter who finds it all together... lol
 

republicfireguy

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I've used a soak in white vinegar followed by a wire brush wheel with my dremel to clean old tools I've found that I know won't be shiny and nice no matter what. It works pretty well.
 

Glenn C

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I partially agree with the cleaning process mentioned. I am no expert but been success cleaning and stabilizing the rust. I soak it in vinegar as well changing the vinegar over 2 weeks to a month if need be. Please don't grind your artifact with a wire brush imo. You can pick at after 2 week so you do not crack off a piece in which this rust is partially embedded. Use a tooth pick and toothbrush as you tools. Once it is free of rust clean it with mild soap and rinse with distilled water. It will want to rust and completely cover the artifact with a layer of rust within a half hour. I at this point put in a bath of a product evaporust. This I only use at the end as it tends to form like plastic like qualities over time. Soak it for half a day. This will stop the rust from coming back before baking.
Then put in the oven at 200 for 2/12 hours to dry it out. Smaller objects less time baking.
Once cooled down, apply conservators wax.

Works for me well. Some like electrolosis better.

Or you could be impatient and just grind away. I believe after 150 years in the ground it can wait a month.

IMO

Glenn
 
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MonkeyBoy

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I found this in a local creek yesterday. I'm thinking it's probably from the tons of logging done around the area and will be going back to the same area tomorrow to see if there are any other finds around, but it started storming as I found this one and so I figured I should head back out of the wild.

I'm happy enough to find an ax head as my first non-drink tab/can/melted-lead-thingee, and would probably just keep it as-is without too much problem, but if it CAN perhaps be restored to a better appearance, I also don't mind doing the elbow work. :) This has been soaking overnight in apple cider vinegar as suggested on the boards here, and while I know it'll take much more time in soaks and scrubs, I'm not sure if there will be anything even LEFT under the rust?

Thanks for looking and any advice! :)

View attachment 662343 View attachment 662344 View attachment 662345




For iron, I really like the vinegar soak, light brushing and then sealing with a wax. I use colored Briwax after heating the relic for a bit. I used to use a electrolysis setup for everything.. but after a buddy turned me on to this... MUCH easier!!

HH,
MB
 

Frankn

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ScribbleMuse, Here's my method and the results. Soak it in a bucket of water for a week. Take it out every day and wire brush it. At the end of the week wipe it dry and bake it in the oven at a low temperature. Below 212 if your oven can do that. To test it rap it in a paper towel over night. if the towel is dry in the morning, it is ready for the Rustoleom rust killing primer. Give it two good coats. let it dry over nite then apply a couple of coats of Rustoleom flat black . I mounted mine in a black walnut plack. It has a deck screw going in through the side and hidden. My ax head is 200 years old. I found it in the yard of a 200 year old home 10" down. Good luck with yours. Frank ax300.jpg
 
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Boilermaker27

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I guess everyone has their own way of doing things. I have found on large shell fragments from the civil war, a while in a good hot campfire tends to looses and pop off a lot of the rust, of course don't do this with an unexploded shell, just large fragments, then I hit it with rust mort. By putting large relics in a fire they are heated up and they expand as heated and this expansion loosens the rust, I would not do this method for anything but large civil war shell fragments. For something like this axe I would first hit it with my power washer and get all of the loose dirt and rust off the artifact. If you want to take it further then maybe a time under electrolysis, although, if cleaned with a pressure washer most of the loose rust and scale will be removed. I then inspect it to see if there is any more loose rust and if so I pick it off, I then use a product called rust mort. This stabilizes the rust and hardens it also, when dried it looks black, but it doesn't look like it is painted. I don't like painted artifacts and be sure that the rust stabilizer does not also contain a flat black paint. I have a large collection of horseshoes also and have used the power wash/rust mort on them also, some have turned a bit white and that may be from not being completely dried out when I applied the rust mort.
 

Frankn

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A word of caution! If you heat an object saturated with water over 212 degrees, it can explode. That goes for old iron and rocks as well. The water turns to steam and expands thus exploding to escape. Don't ask how I know this! Frank

hand print-2_edited-5.jpg
 
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ScribbleMuse

ScribbleMuse

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Just wanted to say thanks for all the suggestions and make sure that it doesn't seem like I'm ignoring it at all...

It's been a crazy time lately around here, and I haven't had a lot of time to do much else. I'm going back to the axhead eventually but since I haven't had the time I didn't want to potentially forget it in anything and maybe make it worse in the long run, so it's wrapped up right now.

Will update when I get to do more with it. :)
 

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