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Studio recovery after hurricane Katrina

My studio is still underwater from hurricane katrina. I need all of
the advise I can get on recovering as much as possible…hand tools,
rolling mills, bench shears, flex shafts, grinders, sterling sheet
and wire, stones, pearls…on and on.

All advise is appreciated. It is going to be my main area of concern
when we are allowed to return home.

Many thanks, Anne

I’m sure that you will get good advice for others. It’s certain that
the first thing is to dry everything as quickly as possible. If you
have electricity, take apart what you can and blow-dry, bake in the
oven, hot sunshine or whatever will dry things as quickly as
possible. If muddy but dry, clean with soap and water if that is what
it takes. There are oils that will repel water and products such as
Navel ? jelly that will remove rust. The longer the rust is on the
metal, the dipper it can destroy. You may need to steel wool and
sandpaper stuff. It will be a lot of work assuming that you have a
lot of stuff. Wood products…will you need to sanitize porous
things? Sun and clean air can deodorize woods if that is any help. I
should think that stones and minerals could simply be washed and be
ok. I would guess that books fiber and paper products would be
unsavable. So may be electical things such as the flexshaft.



Something that came up in the context of discussing how to help
salvage a flooded studio in New Orleans.

The “safety pickle” many of us use normally is Sparex #2, and it’s
intended for non-ferris metals.

Sparex #1 does exist, and is intended for steel and other ferris
metals. Does a great job dissolving rust, and is far less annoying
to use than naval jelly. (If slower) The last time I wanted any, I
had to order it directly from Krohn, and get a 30# drum of it, which
explains why it’s been several years since I ordered any. (OTOH,
30# was about $30) (It comes from Krohn Technical Products.
( But some of the standard suppliers
may be able to get it if you ask.

If any of the Rio people are reading this, perhaps this would be a
nice ‘public service’ item to stock for a few months.

A disclamer: I don’t work for, or have any interest in any of these
companies. I simply thought this was one of those weird bits of info
that probably isn’t very widely known, and it seemed like a good time
to mention it.

Brian Meek.

Dry papers and books slowly for best results. Photocopy valuable
papers as a precautionary measure because flood-damage may cause
rapid deterioration. If you don’t have the time to clean and dry
them immediately, consider putting them in the freezer to prevent
mildewing. Place wax paper between layers of paper bundles or books
so they can be separated easily when removed.

Wipe book covers with a solution of one part rubbing or denatured
alcohol and one part water.

Place books on end with leaves separated. When partially dry, pile
and press books to keep pages from crumpling. Alternate drying and
pressing until books are thoroughly dry. This helps prevent mildew.
Use a fan to hasten drying.

If papers and books are very damp, sprinkle pages with corn starch
or talcum powder to absorb moisture. Leave powder for several
hours, then brush it off.

For valuable books that are nearly dry, consider pressing the pages
with an electric iron set on low. This is a tedious process, but may
be worth the effort. Separate the pages to prevent musty odors. Some
chemicals help stop mold growth. Contact your county Extension
office for recommendations on use.

When books are thoroughly dry, close them and use C-clamps to help
them retain their shape. Wipe vinyl and leather book covers with a
light coating of petroleum jelly or leather or vinyl dressing.

For the other stuff; If muddy wash off with clean water-- use the
hose… You can dry metal tools and stuff many way -The quickest
ways are best… An oven set low 250 F or so shouldn’t hurt
anything, a heat gun or just the sun. Spray metal with WD 40 -=-
there are other water displacement oils but WD 40 is commonest.
You can even use a dish washer to rinse and dry if you have
one. Electrical motors will be recoverable but what you need to
do varies on how dirty they are. muddy use the hose. and follow
the tool stuff. then clean water use the oven. Motors and stuff
should be have bearings relubricated

Todays electronics should survive quite well. A little more gentle

I m have had TV remotes go thru the automatic clothes washer full
cycle - caught before the drier… left to dry and they work.

My daughter had a Mac LC soaked with condensation - wouldn’t work
removed to my hous e and let sit in the lower hummidity a while -
worked again.

Phosphoric acid - (Naval Jelly) will remove rust. best to rinse and
get WD 40 on quick. If you can’t do a quick rinse spray soak steel
surfaces with WD40 with out the rinse. rinse later and respray with
wd 40.



I would suggest buying WD-40 in the one gallon container and use it
as a CLEANER for your tools. If rust has set in, use 0000 steel
wool in conjunction with the WD-40 to remove any surface rust that
may have developed on your tools. Do not expect the WD-40 to
protect the metal items for any appreciable amount of time. WD-40
is NOT an effective LONG-term protectant. It will completely
evaporate leaving almost no rust protection behind.

Once your tools are clean, wipe off the excess WD-40, then coat all
metal surfaces with a light machine oil such as 3-in-one oil. Both
products are readily available in hardware, auto, industrial, and
grocery stores. You might have a little trouble locating the gallon
size of WD-40, but the cost savings makes it worth looking for.
Most of the big box hardware stores carry it in gallons, many local
auto and hardware stores sell the gallons as well.

For LONG term storage protection use a light grease, such as RIG, a
gun storage grease. It is available at many gun shops, though I
suspect nearly any grease will suffice in a pinch.

To help salvage motors that have been submerged, WD-40 may be
sprayed/poured into UNPLUGGED electric motors as it is a good way to
flush water and crud from the inside of them as well. Allow the
WD-40 to dissipate before plugging in and running your motor, or you
could start a fire in your restoration attempt.

If your flexshaft has been submerged, treat the motor as above, it
would also be very beneficial to disassemble the shaft, wipe/clean
the shaft with WD-40, then regrease the shaft with a light coating
of grease. WD-40 could also be used to flush your handpieces as

Wishing you the best of luck in putting your studio back in order,

Steve (whose paycheck was signed by the WD-40 Co. for 15 years)

Steve’s Place
Jewelry Repair

I had to recover gems and cameos and items from flood in Pittsburgh.
I used a non-bleach based odor bacteria/viral killer odoban (only
available from sam’s club unfortunately) first concern for me is
always bacteria & virus killing.

I washed all items and soaked some of my wooden handles in it for a
few hours then dried as much as possible. the metals I cleaned with
simicrome and elbow grease. rust cleaned off with WD-40 and rags hmmm
electrical tools some were lost completely. You have to tear apart
the motors and clean and regrease and reassemble so it isn’t really
possible on some items.

Do please apply for Cerf

I did not know they were there to help. It would have helped me
recover faster. I still have a bit to go to replace all my stock I
lost as far as jewelry boxes and the like.

An American Cameo Artist

Your electric motors (flex shaft, buffer, grinder, tumbler, etc.)
may be saved using WD40. I was first introduced to it in 1961, when I
was stationed on Matagorda Island, Texas. We were hit head-on by
hurricane Carla. When we returned to the base everything was covered
with mud and silt–even second-story barracks rooms. WD40 saved a
tremendous amount of equipment. We sprayed it into distributors,
starter motors, generators, alternators, ad infinitum, and it worked
miracles. The average person thinks of WD40 as a lubricant, but it
isn’t. The “WD” stands for water displacement. Great stuff when used
for its intended purpose. Recovery after the type of hurricane you
have experienced it a long, hard, dirty job–but there is light at
the end of the tunnel.

Del Pearson

Designs of Eagle Creek in Beautiful South Texas where hurricanes have
often changed the landscape

For LONG term storage protection use a light grease, such as RIG,
a gun storage grease. It is available at many gun shops, though I
suspect nearly any grease will suffice in a pinch.

For longer term protection…LPS 3…kinda reminds you of Cosmoline
when it sets up a bit, depending on how thick…comes in an aerosol
spray or liquid…

Also…a generic Vasolene (sp?) petroleum jelly works pretty
good…wipes off easier for use, too…

Gary W. Bourbonais
A.J.P. (GIA)

My wife & I live about seventy feet (altitude) above the
neighbouring land but still part way down a hill. As a result of
problems with water flow we got flooded twice. I’ve also had to
repair electrical & electronic gear that has been flooded.

If the gear has really been soaked then it may not be salvageable
but you can try. Some suggestions will make people wince but they
have been used successfully.

If the gear is still in the water or very wet, consider putting them
in a container of clean water until you are ready to work on them -
totally under water - open any panels etc and let them get totally
flooded. If they are covered in water, then corrosion damage is
going to be less than if they are only half dried out. Rust will not
occur on a totally wet item. The rule with expensive cameras that
had been dunked was to put them in a plastic bag of water & take
them to the repairer like that & it still applies. Remove any
batteries though.

Next get alcohol or the proper electrical solutions used to clean
motors etc but leave no residues. As you dismantle equipment ensure
that you make plenty of diagrams of wiring and screws etc and note
the positions of screws and the length of them. Poking screws
through a piece of cardboard with notes will help to keep them
together. One screw that is a little too long in the wrong place can
write off a piece of equipment & manufacturers may use many
different length screws of the same appearance & thread in an item.
Mark wires & parts as required with a permanent marker. Wash items
in soapy water then clan water & then use alcohol or proper
solutions to dry them off. Remark any markings that may disappear
when you use alcohol or solvents!

Clean and thoroughly dry as you go. Motor windings and armatures can
be put in the oven at a very low heat for a few (or several) hours
to dry them out. A hair dryier or heat gun on VERY LOW heat can also
help dry items.

Circuit boards that are really “dirty” with flood water crud can be
put in the dishwasher WITHOUT any detergent. If there are buzzers or
relays (little plastic cases with a tiny hole in them) then the hole
is best covered with a good tape to give it a bit of waterproofing.
If the item is a relay that the case will come off without
difficulty then remove the case and let it get a clean.

Check bearings as you disassemble and write down the bearing sizes.
They may need replacing and it helps to not have to strip the item
to order a bearing. Rotate the bearing and feel for any roughness. A
couple of temporary methods to get a bearing working even if it is
only long enough to see if the motor is OK. Plastic seals can often
be popped off and some grease or oil used to re lubricate the
bearing. If the bearing has metal seals then a trick that was often
used by electrolux door to door salesmen can be used. Drill a small
hole in the seal and use a syringe or something to put some grease
or even just a little oil in. This may ease up the bearing but it
will not last long.

When testing equipment ALWAYS use a Earth Leakage (Ground Fault
Interrupter) device. If there is too much moisture or another
problem, it will trip and save the equipment. You may have made a
mistake or need to dry it out more or… Similarly, a circuit
breaker trips so much faster than a fuse so circuit breakers are a
great help too.

Lastly, if items are rusty, there is a easier and better method than
nasty chemicals or wire brushing etc. This will even work with
massively rusted items. It is the “electrolytic” rust conversion
method and it turns severe rust into a fine black rust that can be
brushed off. A light wire brushing is often all that is needed. It
works by passing a small electric current through a solution and
actually reconverts the rust. A small battery charger will supply
all the current needed and it works great without a lot of elbow
grease. Use washing soda in the solution as it works well even if it
takes a while & is far safer than lye. Although the FAQ mentions a
stainless steel electrode DON’T use a stainless steel electrode as
that makes the old solution poisonous. See the following link.

A dehumidifier also works well if you can get a hold of one. These
are a basically just an air conditioner unit that is used to pull
the moisture out of the air. I found that one of them dried out
piles of tools faster than I could dry them off. I’d open the tool
boxes etc and start wiping them off but it was amazing how much
moisture the dehumifier could pull from the sealed room.


Drying books and papers

Put them in the freezer and leave them. The same process that leaves
your steak freezer-burned will pull all the water out of your paper
based products. It is not fast but it leaves the least damage of
anything I have ever seen. It also frees up your time to get
something else cleaned up.

Good luck - Justine

Now that is good to know! Too bad I didn’t know about WD-40 when I
went to rescue equipment but hey life is learning!

An American Cameo Artist