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Philbert's Chain Salvage Challenge

Philbert

Philbert

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Philbert’s Chain Salvage Challenge

(*NOTE: several original links to this thread were lost. I have tried to replace some of the information. Links and photos embedded in some of these image rich threads may also have been lost)

In another thread, I made some kind of comment like, “most chains can be salvaged’. So I decided to take on a few personal challenges to see if I could live up to those words. Also to start a thread where other A.S. members can post chain saving / salvaging / scrounging ideas and methods.

I described my general chain salvage process in this thread: Philbert Meets the STIHL RS3
http://www.arboristsite.com/community/threads/philbert-meets-the-stihl-rs3.202969/
and a few A.S. members sent me used chains: some just needing attention; some diverted from the scrap pile (thank you guys!).

Clearly, some chains are not worth the effort. But playing with these ‘special needs’ chains may help me learn what can be done when needed or desired (e.g. a hard to find chain for an old saw) or when just feeling frugal.

Philbert
 
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Philbert

Philbert

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This chain came wrapped around the handle of a garage sale saw. For perspective, this saw actually had moss growing from the spot where the muffler used to be.

Part of the chain is recognizable. The rest is rusted into a solid, spiral hunk that cannot be separated or moved. All I know is that it is 3/8 low profile pitch chain. I can’t even count the links.

(*see attached photos)

photo 3.jpg
Chain Number One


1. Cleaning with the purple stuff (see thread above). It’s a Sabre! About 34 links are in surprisingly good condition. I could actually break these links off, sharpen them, and use them right away. Maybe the greasy coating protected them?

Too bad that the shortest loop I can use is 40 drive links (for a pole pruner). If this was a more common chain, I could maybe spin/splice it to another piece to make a longer loop.

photo 6.jpg

2. Tied an overnight white vinegar bath for the rust; this has worked for me on some rusty tools and on some vintage tie straps.

The vinegar dissolved some rust, but cosmetically turned most of the shiny metal black (this will wear off or can be scrubbed off of tools). Note that several of the chromed cutters are still shiny, even on the heavily rusted links.

I was able to separate the overlapped spirals of frozen chain, but not straighten anything.

Philbert

photo 8.jpg
 
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Philbert

Philbert

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Chain One (continued)

3. Tried the electrolytic rust removal route (discussed in other threads) for a couple of hours.

(*see attached photos)
photo 9.jpg


It’s a loop!!! (The Good). Really surprised me. Nothing that will travel around a bar, but several of the rivets loosened up, even if the links were still crusty. I can count 56 links, but got no more usable links from this process.

photo 11.jpg

(The Bad) The chrome spalled off on several cutters. So I am not recommending this rust removal process for chains.

Spall.jpg

WINNER?
- The chain

LESSONS? - Rust may be a bigger enemy of chains than rocks. Could have stopped with the success of Step 1 and salvaged part of the chain. This would make more sense if it was a more common chain (e.g. Oregon type 91).

NEXT TIME? - Still some other rust remediation methods to try!

Philbert
 
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CTYank

CTYank

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Any chance you'd try brushing on some "naval jelly" on the side straps and drive links? Might work, nothing to lose, and it can be targeted.
 
fearofpavement

fearofpavement

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I had a couple chains that looked about like that. I tossed them into the bottom of my gunk tank (parts washer) Checked on them after a few months. They were still rusted so pitched them back into the tank. About a year or so later, I happened across them and was able to free one up and the other I think I pitched...

One thing I have discovered is that if the chain is very rusty, it's not really worth much effort to revive. The reason for this is although about a minute of cutting wood will clean the dirtiest nastiest chain up nicely, if it was rusty, the rust will clean off but there will be a lot of play where the rivets were rusted but now are sloppy.

So my consensus is that for other than the rarest of chains, the time invested into salvaging a rusty chain would be better spent elsewhere.
 
Philbert

Philbert

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Thanks for all the quick (and positive) feedback!

Any chance you'd try brushing on some "naval jelly" on the side straps and drive links?
Naval jelly is one of the items in my rust arsenal. It is essentially phosphoric acid in a jellied base I believe. It tends to bleach steel lighter, but this is (again) just a cosmetic thing. I think that the label also warns about chrome, so we will have to watch the cutters.

Need more victims? Got at least 1 thats been hanging in the shed as long as I can remember...
Was I being too subtle about that?

Bring it to the Interfaith GTG Oct 5. If I can save it, and you still have a saw that goes with it, I might even get it back to you sometime!

Might try some evaporust too.
Evaporust has been mentioned in a few threads here on A.S. I have only seen it for $20 a gallon, so I have not tried it yet. Do you have any experience with it? Anyone know how it treats chrome?

I think that we will find some more rusty chains to try things on . . .

Philbert
 
xtremez

xtremez

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rust remover

I actually just bought a gallon of the Evapo rust less than a week ago. I did it just for the reason you are. I had a couple chains that were hanging out in the back of my jeep far too long and were caked in rust. They looked far worse than the two chains you have pictured. I put them in a bucket and dumped the gallon of evapo in and in 4 hours they looked like new chains. All the chrome was intact. Only thing I noticed was a black film on the chain but that burned off the first time I ran them in wood. Amazing stuff. It got me excited. I started digging up every rusty thing I could find.
 
tedmister2

tedmister2

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nice thread.

I find a month or so soaking in a ziplock bag of oil does wonders for old weathered or rusty chains. When finished the oil is black and the chains are shiny. Also a bit of acetone in the oil seams to help as well as some marvel mystery oil for good measure. Any other soaking ideas?
 
zogger

zogger

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I never tried it either, but just read a buncha reviews on evaporust. Seems decent.

Says one gallon can do 300 lbs of rusty tools..that's a lotta chain loops!
 

CWME

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I dug out an old chain that came on a parts saw I got a while back. It had some rust on it and a few frozen drive links. It is soaking in evaporust now so we can see ow it does.
 
Philbert

Philbert

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I actually just bought a gallon of the Evapo rust less than a week ago. . . I had a couple chains . . . I put them in a bucket and dumped the gallon of evapo in and in 4 hours they looked like new chains. All the chrome was intact.
I will have to try it. Might be the liquid Fiskars?

I an finding it locally for about $9/quart or $23/gallon (same regular price at a local discount auto parts store as at HF with their 25% off coupon!)

I find a month or so soaking in a ziplock bag . . .
The guy in the video just2fat referenced mentioned the same thing. I think that that is a great idea for lots of chemicals.

I dug out an old chain that came on a parts saw I got a while back. It had some rust on it and a few frozen drive links. It is soaking in evaporust now so we can see how it does.
Let us know. Could be that the chrome was not tightly bonded to the cutter on that Sabre chain I tried (?) but I think that the electrolytic reaction kind of sputtered it off. Really interested to hear if you get the same positive results that xtremez did. If so, one jug could pay for it self with the first good chain it saved.

There have been some other, rust related threads here on A.S - might be more, but this is probably a good time to reference some:

- http://www.arboristsite.com/chainsaw/206952.htm

- http://www.arboristsite.com/chainsaw/181637.htm

- http://www.arboristsite.com/chainsaw/110719.htm

- http://www.arboristsite.com/chainsaw/238699.htm

So this is clearly not a new problem, and there still may be other things to try.

As fearofpavement's comment suggest - some chains may have light surface rust, some may have deep pits, and some may just be linear plies of iron oxide. But it is good to have a few options in your bag of tricks.

Philbert
 
Philbert

Philbert

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Chain Number Two

This chain was given to me at a GTG in a bundle with several other chains. Fortunately, some of the other loops had more life left in them!

Really nothing to work with here. The chain body/chassis (drive links, tie straps, etc.) is in surprisingly good shape for the amount of tooth wear. But the cutters are uneven, and most are worn past the wear indicators. If I evened out and sharpened the cutters, many would fly off when they hit wood,

This chain wouldn’t even hold up for use as a stumper or race chain. I suppose that the remaining cutters could be ground off for use as a drive chain with a Lewis winch or Log Wizard! If this was a rare chain, it might be worth saving for parts (tie straps and drive links), but this Oregon 91, bumper tie strap chain is about as common as nitrogen in air.

I don’t know if this chain was heavily used, or if someone ground away lots of tooth with each sharpening. Because of the uneven cutter lengths and angles, and differences in R and L cutters, I suspect that it was free-hand filed, at least toward the end of it’s career.

WINNER? - Whoever got that much use out of the chain!

LESSONS? - Chains are a consumable part. At some point, ya’ gotta buy a new one.

Philbert

(*see attached photos)
photo C2.1.jpg

photo C2.2.jpg

photo C2.3.jpg
 
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CWME

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image.jpg


First time posting a photo from my iPad. Hope it came out. There was a good amount of rust in this area of the chain and the links were frozen. All freed up and the rust will wipe off now. This was an overnight soak but I have used this same solution more than a few times now.
 
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