Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Testing Firearm Metal Preservatives, Preventing Corrosion and Rust on Guns and Tools

If you have a firearm, gun or plain steel tool you are probably concerned about corrosion and rust on it. Some people use a special gun oil, a wax or even just a simple spray oil or motor oil. I've seen a bunch of tests online where people test various metal preservatives, particularly those for firearms. Unfortunately, none of those really seemed to test to products I was interested in: EEZOX, Break Free Collector and Renaissance Wax. So I decided to do a simple test on my own and I added a few other protectants that were sitting in my garage.

A quick note: I'll explain at the end why I think the results might be bogus!

I just used regular washers, all purchased at the same time, coated them and put them outside in the San Diego weather (which isn't much!). I was reasonably careful with my testing, cleaning the metal with contact cleaner first, changing gloves in between the different products etc. 

Products tested:
Break Free Collector
Renaissance Wax
Turtle Wax Ice

Here is the "before" picture with the products on April 13, 2014:

And a close up "before" picture:

After a couple days, nothing was happening. The zinc coating was going to protect these for a while in the mild San Diego weather even without the protectants. So as others have done, I sprayed the washers heavily with a salt solution! I did this late in the evening so they would dry slowly overnight in the cool air, not in just minutes.

Poof, I got corrosion. I waited about a week and here is the result on April 22, 2014:

And here are the same washers after attempting to wipe them off. A little bit of the crud wiped off the washers.

My assessment from worst to best:
  • the control (no treatment)
  • Renaissance Wax (just as bad as the control)
  • WD-40
  • Turtle Wax Ice
  • Break Free Collector
BUT... there was a flaw in the test. On some of the washers, the salt spray beaded and on others, the salt spray sheeted off. So the washers with wax, like Renaissance Wax, might have ended up worse because they ended up being exposed to more beads of salt solution for longer as they slowly dried. You can also see how the bottom edge of the EEZOX coated washer did corrode, right where the salt spray would have accumulated.
Also, I'm concerned the salt spray test just isn't representative of the kind of corrosion environment my rifle will be exposed to. I'm not using it on the deck of a seagoing vessel in a storm and then hanging the rifle up wet! I'm more concerned with just time in ambient air and maybe fingerprint oils and the like. I have another idea for another test that maybe I'll try...

But for what it's worth (maybe not much given the beading issue), EEZOX and Break Free Collector crushed Renaissance Wax in this test.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Firearm or Gun Safety Rules Mug

I'm teaching my family some firearm safety and wanted something with the "four rules" on it. I didn't find anything I liked, so I made my own Firearm Safety Rules coffee mug.
I'm not a big graphics expert or anything, but I made a simple logo and rewrote "the gun safety rules" as I like them. And a bit of work online and poof I had a mug!
Here are some pics:

There are some famous sets of safety rules out there, I rewrote them as I preferred and came up with this:
Firearm Safety Rules
1. Always handle all firearms as if they are loaded.
2. Never point a gun at anything you are not willing to destroy.
3. Keep your finger off the trigger unless your gun is aimed at the target.
4. Positively identify your target, backstop and that the line of fire is clear.

If you would like one of these you can get one here:

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Gas Spring Strut repair for Hammerhead 42" Toolbox from Costco

The gas spring struts that hold the lid open on my stainless steel Hammerhead 42" Toolbox (model 2002-1800) from Costco just failed. Sadly, they leaked oil in the top compartment of the box, making a mess and melting the drawer liner. A big mess.

Amazingly I have the old toolbox manual and it lists the replacement as part number TB12U06. But I suspect I'm out of the warranty period.

The original struts measured:
eye to eye:   extended: 350mm (13.8"),     compressed 220mm (8.7")
stroke: 130mm (5.1")
10mm ball receptacle

I measured the force it took to compress one of the old ones on a bathroom scale. Of course it had been leaking so maybe it was a bit low. It seemed to take 15-20 lbs to compress it.

Removing the old struts just require lifting the metal band up a bit with a screwdriver and then the head pops off the ball.

I scoured the Internet and it seems gas spring struts like these are available, but the lowest force ones I found were 24 pounds each! The lid on my toolbox isn't that heavy, but I decided to try them: Suspa 24 LB Gas Spring C16-06389. About $30 for a pair on Amazon. (See addendum at the bottom for a better strut option!)

Here is a pic of the old and new strut. The new one is on the bottom and you can see it is just a bit longer.

Installing the new strut requires you lift the band on the head just a bit with a screwdriver so the head can pop on the ball.

Here is a shot of the new strut installed:

And here is the strut in action. You can see it is a bit too strong, the lid really flies open!

If you can find them, I instead recommend struts rated for around 15 pounds each.

Addendum: As recommended in the comments, I tried some different 10 pound struts from liftsupportsdepot.com. The struts I bought were part number SX140P10. These are also available through Amazon here. I have installed these, and I much prefer how the lid now opens in a much more controlled manner. I suspect a 15 pound struts would be perfect, but these 10 pound ones are much better than the 24 pound ones I started with. Get the 10 pound struts if you can't find 15 pound ones.