Rusty strings

Posted by: newinstru?

Rusty strings - 12/09/12 03:34 AM

Thank you very much in advance for answering a couple of questions ( or pointing me to a post I haven't found yet):

How rusty is too rusty?

What is the overall effect of rusty strings on the sound or functionality ( or whatever) on the piano.

Posted by: Mark Cerisano, RPT

Re: Rusty strings - 12/09/12 07:42 AM

In my opinion, an instrument with very rusty strings has other problems that prevent me from clearly hearing any insufficiencies in tone produced by the rust. The major problem with rusty strings is breakage. If the strings are breaking, then they are too rusty.
Posted by: rxd

Re: Rusty strings - 12/09/12 08:29 AM

When I worked in a rust- prone district, I always bit the bullet and tuned, pitch raising if necessary. I was always pleasantly surprised. It seemed to me at the time that an even coating of rust or oxidation presented no problem. Rusting had to be quite advanced visibly before it became a problem. Isolated pits of rust, however, create weak spots in the string and consequential possibility of breakage.

I sometimes wonder if, when moisture in the atmosphere settles on the strings, does capillary action draw the moisture towards the termination points creating a rust spot where the string is weakened anyway by bending and metal fatigue. Perhaps our scientists can confirm or refute the possibility of this. Also, it seems, again, purely empirically, that the rusting process slows down past a certain point? Any opinions?.
Posted by: Emmery

Re: Rusty strings - 12/09/12 09:54 AM

Unlike the surface patina that forms on copper, rust provides no protection to the ongoing process of rusting/corrosion. The only "rust" that prevents further rusting is bluing, which if oiled, will provide some protection. (*Note, never oil anything related to the tuning pins/strings/termination points). When I encounter rusted strings I make sure the termination points get a treatment of CLP. Strings are always let down in tension a touch before going sharp. On pianos that are exposed to high humidity/rusting conditions I treat the strings with Eezox, it is about the only thing I know of that will completely stop the process and prevent future rusting. It is non/petroleum dry film based product that does not rely on adhesion alone to protect. It will not allow moisture/water under it because it is heavier than water and is the only product (for this protection) I'm aware of with this quality.
Posted by: Maximillyan

Re: Rusty strings - 12/09/12 11:08 AM

Originally Posted By: Emmery
Unlike the surface patina that forms on copper, rust provides no protection to the ongoing process of rusting/corrosion.

I agree with you,Emmery .I believe that we should not be afraid of rust on site of strings. String has broken, when it goes from its own elastic deformation in ductile. Rusty strings sound betray charm from the past
Posted by: That Guy

Re: Rusty strings - 12/09/12 11:31 AM

I also use CLP on the termination points. I'm glad to hear someone else does too Emmery. I'd like to hear more about the Eezox stuff. Where do you get it and how do you apply it?
Posted by: Emmery

Re: Rusty strings - 12/09/12 12:55 PM

Eezox is a sporting goods/gun care product. It does contain a minute amount of trichlorethylene and one should be familiar with its safe use. I wouldn't use a lot of it in a small enclosed space and generally ventilate a bit if using it but its listed as quite safe in normal working conditions.

Typically I clean rusty strings using automotive chrome polish/rust remover on rags. This works better than steel wool and leaves no tiny bits of steel dust. Then I apply a tiny mist of Eezox with spray on a rag and wipe the string down with one pass in each direction to ensure its fully but extremely lightly coated. The use of this product requires a very light coating of it, when the carrier dries within an hour, the part should be dry to the touch...if not you are using too much.


Link to product>>>
http://www.eezox.com/gun-care.html
Safety Data>>>
http://www.eezox.info/msds.html
Posted by: Grandpianoman

Re: Rusty strings - 12/09/12 01:38 PM

There is a product called TSI-321 for use with plastic http://www.tsi301.com/tsi321moreinfo.htm and TSI-301 for use with metal. http://www.tsi301.com/main.htm

A retired music box technician/repairman first told me about these products some 30 years ago, and I have been using them ever since with great results. Given the properties of both these products, they may be helpful for the piano technician.
Posted by: newinstru?

Re: Rusty strings - 12/10/12 12:47 AM

Thank you!
Posted by: Withindale

Re: Rusty strings - 12/10/12 01:48 AM

Originally Posted By: Emmery
Typically I clean rusty strings using automotive chrome polish/rust remover on rags. This works better than steel wool and leaves no tiny bits of steel dust. Then I apply a tiny mist of Eezox with spray on a rag and wipe the string down with one pass in each direction to ensure its fully but extremely lightly coated.


That sounds like a good procedure. Do you have any tips for the backs of the strings?
Posted by: Olek

Re: Rusty strings - 12/10/12 06:07 AM

Originally Posted By: Emmery
Eezox is a sporting goods/gun care product. It does contain a minute amount of trichlorethylene and one should be familiar with its safe use. I will use uldn't use a lot of it in a small enclosed space and generally ventilate a bit if using it but its listed as quite safe in normal working conditions.

Typically I clean rusty strings using automotive chrome polish/rust remover on rags. This works better than steel wool and leaves no tiny bits of steel dust. Then I apply a tiny mist of Eezox with spray on a rag and wipe the string down with one pass in each direction to ensure its fully but extremely lightly coated. The use of this product requires a very light coating of it, when the carrier dries within an hour, the part should be dry to the touch...if not you are using too much.


I had similar product (high grade lubricant) tested, and nice to you if is stop rust, and but I am surprized, cleaning rusted strings is not possible only half of the string surface is cleaned and forget the section under bass strings.
I
Above some point it is better to leave rust, as the tone is worse when just a portion of the wire have been cleaned.. If for thé aspect indeed anything will do, I use 3M scotch Brite or an ink eraser.. Sure oils or WD 40 are attracting dust, and that damp the tone.

The marketing of your product is not very convincing, but if the product works....

Old wire and steel is often less sensible to corrosion than the steel of today. I it is easily seen on old tools.


Link to product>>>
http://www.eezox.com/gun-care.html
Safety Data>>>
http://www.eezox.info/msds.html
Posted by: Emmery

Re: Rusty strings - 12/10/12 08:12 AM

Issac, I will only clean the rusted strings and treat them if the piano is in a place where it is afforded no other protection to the ongoing process of rusting. For example, I take care of a 1920's Steinway grand which sits in a house/cottage that is 100 feet from a large lake. Nobody occupies the home from fall to late spring and in the summer the piano sits 5 feet from a door that is generally left open. I see different kind of rust (appearancee) also. The Steinway's strings were kind of black with a touch of rust color. Another piano in which the owner was misting plants right above it had a brighter orang rust forming on the strings, rather splotchy as tiny droplets of the water only hit sporadically on the surface. If there is a change in tone, it is quite subtle. Like I said before, this is to stop the process of further rusting/deterioration and aesthetic in purpose.

I will feed a rag under the strings and yank the end up with a string hook. Looped around like this it can be pulled up and down to get the back side of the string. I haven't noticed anything bad happen to the tone yet and I will leave the overstrung lower portion of the tenor alone. I do not want to just clean part of the string as that may cause some problems with tone as you mention. I do treat the termination points of these strings so they are less likely to break or get caught up on tuning.
Posted by: Olek

Re: Rusty strings - 12/10/12 10:04 AM

Sure , those are some extremes situations, I have seen a grand Steinway mod A, 6 years old, instaled in the middle of an almost tropical plant at the 6thy floor of a building in Paris.

The pianos strings where in a very bad condition, alittle like if it was 30 years old.

No way to explain the owner that his investement was in peril...