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Thread: How to do Electrolysis of a saw blade

  1. #1
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    Question How to do Electrolysis of a saw blade

    Can someone explain how to set up an electrolysis system for a hobbyist to clean saw blades?
    Thanks
    Dennis

  2. #2
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    Hi Dennis

    It is very straight forward, all you need is a plastic container a bit bigger than the saw blades, some water, some baking soda, a few pieces of sacrificial steel, some wire leads, and a DCV battery charger.

    OK the solution, you want washing baking soda, the cooking stuff will work, but the washing stuff works better. What you are looking for is "sodium carbonate". One tablespoon per US gallon of water, adding more washing soda does NOT speed the process up, but adding more amps on the DC source will, to a point.

    You want to put some extension leads on your battery charger, to keep the stock ones clean, and so you can place the charger a ways away from the tub.

    You need a positive electrode, this is some sacrificial steel of some sort, re-bar works well, but any chunk of mild steel with work fine, it does get covered with rust.



    Mix up your soup, if you can, make the water warm, not hot, but warm, as the washing soda does not mix in the cold water so well (or did not for me).

    Now this is just an idea, that just popped into my head, so I dunno if it would work or not, but, if you had a 5 gallon pail, and you could cut it down to only 6" tall or so, then I'd bend a couple of pieces of steel in such a way that they are along the bottom, so they sit near the edges of the bucket, then attach the negative lead to one piece of steel and a jumper lead over to the second piece.

    I'd then put a stick, say about 2" wide across the top of the cut off pail, I'd drill a hole in the center of it, and put a wire down into the pail, this is your connection point for your negative lead. I'd suspending the blade by the center hole, maybe a large washer on the end of the wire or something?

    As long as the wire from the negative lead is touching a blade, you could, I guess, put 3 or 4 blades in at one time, I'd want a space between each blade, so they are not touching.

    When ever you unhook the clips from your tub of soup, make sure the charger is unplugged, you do NOT want a spark around all the hydrogen and oxygen coming off the tank.

    Make sure that the suspended parts and the electrodes on the sides of your tub NEVER touch.

    Really it is a very simple process, and with a decent battery charger, it works well. You do NOT want to be using a "Trickle" charger.

    You should see bubbles coming off the steel, and there is a build up of soapy brown foam (from the rust) on the surface.

    And please remember, those bubbles are full of Hydrogen and Oxygen...............



    Need I say more

    Please tell us how it worked out.

    Cheers!
    Last edited by Stuart Ablett; 11-08-2007 at 01:10 PM.
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
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  3. #3
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    Hi Dennis, Stu's post details the process nicely. You should be able to find washing soda by the laundry detergent in the grocery store.

  4. #4
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    Carbide tipped blades??? I have never got this answered but I have always questioned what happens to the brazing/brass that holds the carbide on. I have heard/read some conflicting info, but that it will break down aluminum.

    I am not sure it is a good idea on those blades but I don't know. So I wouldn't do a carbide tipped blade till that question was answered.
    God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,
    the good fortune to run into the ones I do,
    and the eyesight to tell the difference.


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  5. #5
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    I think that if you did this every week, I might worry about it, but once or twice a year

    Wayne posted this...........

    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Watling View Post
    After reading a thread on this site about cleaning glued up clamps using electrolysis I recalled a conversation with a fellow at FS Tools here in Canada about cleaning saw blades. He told me they use electrolysis to clean the blades sent in by customers, at that time I had little knowledge of just how easy it was to set up such a system and for very minimal cost. I used sodium carbonate purchased from the local pool supply shop, it is actually called 'Soda Ash' and is one and the same product.

    One thing to note is that this process will clean everything from the blade including paint.
    Emphasis added by me.


    I'm sure that if you contact the makers of the blade, they will tell you NO WAY, but I'm sure they they will also tell you that you have to use Kevlar coated gloves, a full face shield and have paramedics on hand just to remove the wrapper from the blade, and you would then need a team of factory trained techs to install said blade on your tablesaw, after said saw was inspected in factory of origin within the last two weeks for defects...........

    My point is that I could not see any maker ever saying "Yeah, no problem" because of the "Lawsuit happy" society we now live in.

    It is a good point, and one that needs looking into, but from Wayne's post, I thought he was saying a sharpening service DOES this to clean customer's blades?

    As always, use all information provided at your own risk!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  6. #6
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    Hey, Wayne and I must be on the same wavelength
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  7. #7
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    You say to not use a trickle charger. My charger has 2/10/50 volt settings. The 50 is only for short bursts to start an engine and the charger gets hot quickly, so I wouldn't use that. Then, if I read you correctly, the 2V would be inadequate and the 10V would be setting of choice. Right?
    "Folks is funny critters."

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  8. #8
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    Great info and a very timely post. I'm looking to do the same thing to a Systimatic dado set.

    Thanks!
    Got Wood?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Watling View Post
    [FS Tools] did say they now use ultrasonic sound waves together with an acid bath to clean the blades
    Any chemists out there? What's the main difference between putting a piece of steel in an acid bath versus putting it in a "base" bath (sodium carbonate) and applying an electric current?

  10. #10
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    I will have to admit I have not seen the electrolysis method of cleaning used in my industry. I do know several people using either acid (lye) baths or ultrasonic methods for cleaning. I myself don't like anything in the shop I can't use my bare hands in or pour down the drain so I stick to cleaning with a combination of abrasives and Simple Green and Castrol Super Clean. It may not leave stuff shiny but it cleans it well enough to work.
    Scott's Sharpening Service
    Glendale, AZ

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