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Thread: My Shop is on Acid

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    ABQ NM
    Posts
    30,020

    My Shop is on Acid

    Sunday night I was working in the shop doing the final buffing and waxing of a big bowl, and I kept noticing a strange, fume-like smell. The smell was familiar, but I couldn't place it. I figured it was either the buffing compound or wax throwing me for a loop. I got done with my work, and in the process of closing up the shop, I found the source of the smell. A gallon jug of industrial strength hydrochloric acid had leaked and run all along the front edge of the garage.

    Now I don't typically keep things like gallon jugs of acid around, but this was something the previous owner had left behind, so I'd put it in my "hazmat" pile along with a few cans of old paint and other solvents that are illegal to throw in the regular trash. We don't have convenient Hazardous Waste drop-offs in my area, so I tend to accumulate them until they have a collection event in the neighborhood. (And I keep learning about them after the fact.)

    The hazmat pile was stacked on an open shelf that's part of the melamine/particle board cabinets that were installed by the previous owner. The acid burned through the shelf, and made a long, thin puddle that nearly reached the other side of the garage. I immediately put on my heavy rubber gloves and eye protection, and mopped up as much as I could with paper towels, then sprinkled a couple boxes of baking soda on it to neutralize it. (Soaking up the liquid with paper towels was no fun. The fumes were very strong.) Here are a couple pics I took today of the covered puddle...

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    Here are a couple shots of the hazmat shelf, and the pile of acid-soaked woodchips I scraped out from under the cabinet. I need to figure out a way to cut out most of the shelf and lay a piece of 3/4" plywood on the remaining part...

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    The acid also dripped onto my old Craftsman toolbox. I don't think it's gonna survive, but the tools inside looked OK. Here's a pic after I'd scraped off most of the baking soda I'd poured on it last night...

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    Anyway, today, I got all the soda and acid chips cleaned up. The epoxy floor paint protected the concrete from being etched, but it is discolored, and blistered in a couple spots where I missed putting soda last night. I'm not real worried about stains on the floor, so all in all, everything worked out OK.

    Or so I thought. The saga continues in the next post...
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    ABQ NM
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    30,020
    Just as I was finishing up the cleanup, I walked by my bandsaw and saw this...

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    That's a thin coat of rust on all the cast iron, as well as a couple of my Monster boring bars. Bad words were said.

    Then I checked the lathe. More bad words were said...

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    I keep all my cast iron surfaces in the shop waxed. In fact, I did everything just a couple weeks ago. (In my climate, every few months is plenty.) Anything that was covered or painted looked fine. Virtually all exposed steel or iron rusted. The tablesaw and drill press table were both covered, so they're OK. The jointer, not so much...

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    My Thompson gouges didn't have any problems (cryo-treated powdered metal), but even good stainless steel tools rusted if they were exposed...

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    So...my shop's a mess. (I can only imagine what my lungs look like.) I'm open to suggestions for a fast and easy way to remove all this rust.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Reno NV
    Posts
    13,363
    Zoiks! Thats not good!

    Last time I used muriatic acid was cleaning the sea life off the bottom of a boat. The fumes are bad, but dripping the acid down your arms is worse!

    I've usually use the T-9 stuff and BoeShield on my cast iron surfaces. Using the T9 and a scrubby does a pretty good job, and the boeshield keeps it pretty.

    Edit: Actually the Boeshield is T9. They have a product called "Rust Free" that I use, which smells bad, but they claim is non-toxic...
    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
    If all your friends are exactly like you, What an un-interesting life it must be.
    "A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of" Ogden Nash


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Inside the Beltway
    Posts
    2,666
    Yikes, Vaughn!

    I had no idea acid could do that! I guess the first thing to do is stop the damage from getting worse, and *then* research solutions.

    Man! I can hear the bad words all the way from the east coast!

    Thanks,

    Bill

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Inside the Beltway
    Posts
    2,666
    Geez...

    Don't want to get it out of proportion, but you should read this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydroch...kling_of_steel

    and this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrochloric_acid#Safety

    That stuff can pickle steel? Geez...

    Thanks,

    Bill

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Whittier, CA, USA
    Posts
    512

    Unhappy

    Oh that really sucks. I think the Boeshield Rust-free stuff is made for this type of problem but it's pricey. Maybe Evapo-rust from Harbor Freight. Obviously you will want to take care using chemicals and not damaging painted surfaces.

    I'm imagining if that happened in my garage the weeks of taking things out to clean and move back. How about your light fixtures and garage door hardware?

    Oh that really sucks. Let me know if you want help one day soon and start working through things. I can make the time.

    Oh that really sucks. After this I will never store acid in the garage.

    Dan Gonzales
    Whittier, CA, USA
    Dona nobis pacem

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    ABQ NM
    Posts
    30,020
    Thanks Dan...Evapo-Rust was the stuff I was trying to remember. I think I may take a trip to Harbor Freight sometime this week. Thanks for the offer to help clean things up. I'll see how things go, and if it looks too daunting, I'll be sure to let you know.

    The garage door hardware looks OK upon a cursory glance, but I need to look at the details before making final judgment. Looks like anything that was galvanized did OK. (Man, I'm glad I used galvanized pipe for my air piping.) I'm sure I'll be finding things (like the roller guides on the bandsaw) that I've missed in my initial survey, though. The Harbor Freight right-angle drill that I use for bowl sanding now has a chuck that's about as orance as the plastic case. And an 8" shaft extension to match. I'm curious to see if there's any internal corrosion in that, as well as any other motors. Fortunately though, the vast majority of my tools are in cabinets or drawers. It could have been a lot worse.

    I really do need to find a hazmat drop-off and get rid of some of the other fun stuff...things like the gallon glass jug that's about 1/4 full of trichloroethylene. (More leftovers from the previous owner. We used to use trichlor to dissolve the oil out of asphalt samples when I worked in the testing business.) I've also now got several old cans of paint with badly corroded bottoms. Those are leaks waiting to happen. (They're in a plastic tub right now.)
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Amherst, New Hampshire
    Posts
    10,604
    Gosh, I had no idea the fumes from that acid could cause that corrosion

    Not a fun clean up
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    bethel springs TN, but was born and raised in north east PA
    Posts
    3,132
    Well i wish i lived closer i would be right there to give ya a hand.. good luck i hope it don't take ya to long to get er done.
    Steve

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    ABQ NM
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    I just did a little Googling, and it turns out there's now a hazmat collection place open Saturday, Sunday, and Monday about 6 miles from here. Now that I'm properly motivated, I'll be doing some hauling next weekend.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

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