Don't Use Steel Wool On Chrome

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For me this is one of those perennials where I just shrug and say:

opinions vary and are sometimes strongly held

or to quote from Patrick Moynahan

everybody is entitled to his own opinion but not his own facts
 

JCKOriollo

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BeaTniK said:
I've used 0000 steel wool, it works fine.
No issues and QUITE different than any differing grades.
I concur...

Mike Curotto
Mark Cooper said:
I use 0000 steel wool all the time and it works great. Any "patina" on chrome is most likely dirt and grime and rust and should be removed. Three cheers for 0000 Steel Wool!
Some restoration heavyweights right here...so who knows maybe Jack Lawton uses it too. ;)
 

CaptainCrunch

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I'm sure it's entirely feasible to wash your car using a rusty rake - and I bet there's video of a guy who does it.

I don't want to buy his car.

There's a near-infinite number of not-steel-wool options. And there isn't a vocal population who refuse to take a drum that hasn't been worked over w/steel wool.

It's not measurably better, it's not meaningfully faster, it's not in higher demand.
Even if I preferred it, and was 100% convinced I was right to do so, I wouldn't use it on drums I hoped to sell, simply because it's a dealbreaker for some.
And if I'm selling, I want to move product, not convince buyers I haven't damaged the item.

I can 100% certify I've seen chrome ruined by steel wool, and it might have saved minutes over the course of a project.
Not worth the risk.
 

bongomania

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xsabers said:
...we are talking about a specific grade that has its own unique qualities.
What are the unique qualities (aside from strand size) of 0000 steel wool? How do those unique qualities prevent scratching a softer metal? Or is the assertion that 0000 is a softer grade or alloy of steel?
 
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bongomania said:
...we are talking about a specific grade that has its own unique qualities.
What are the unique qualities (aside from strand size) of 0000 steel wool? How do those unique qualities prevent scratching a softer metal? Or is the assertion that 0000 is a softer grade or alloy of steel?
Good questions. It might also be valuable to find out how hard the successful users of 0000 steel wool press (on a proper measurement scale) and how long they rub on one area (stop watch time). That some people can use 0000 successfully doesn't seem to be the issue. Whether they can communicate the relevant variables to others so that others can use 0000 successfully seems to be the more important matter. Simple black and white arguments (it harms supras, no it doesn't harm supras) aren't really where things seem to be at from what I've seen.
 
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MonkeyGrass said:
Why is this so hard to understand?

Steel is stronger than chrome plating. That's not "anecdotal evidence". It's SCIENCE. It's not open to debate. Well at least not if you believe in the periodic table... :laughing6:
I'm not a materials scientist, but in my research work on cymbal alloys I was introduced to the Vickers hardness scale (HV) because that's something the lab tests. The property you are after is hardness not "strength". Most likely the Mohs scale (resistance to scratching versus something like the Vickers hardness scale which is resistance to deformation aka surface denting). And you are putting a lot of faith in the periodic table if you expect it to give you the hardness of different elements all by itself. Take Carbon for example. Consider the difference between the hardness of diamonds (Mohs scale 10) and of other forms of Carbon. All the same spot on the periodic table. There is a bit more to it.

Steel is 4-4.5 on the Mohs scale, and yes you might expect it to have a higher Mohs hardness value than Chrome plating. But it seems not. Opinions seem to vary a bit on what the value for Chromium is. I've seen claims of 8.5 which (if correct) means that in a rubbing contest between Steel and Chromium more of the Steel would be removed than Chrome. But here's the rub. Both lose material. It's just that one loses more than the other per unit time. We don't care if the Steel loses more material because it is just the means to an end. But we do care if the Chromium scratches and this is visible to the naked eye. Hence the need for better scientific evidence than we have so far.

It seems to me that the issue isn't whether Chromium is removed, but whether this happens evenly. If the removal is uneven, that is what we might call scratching: too much taken off in one line, not much on either side. That would leave a scratch we can see. Degree of scratching might have as much to do with the pressure used and the physical form of what we're rubbing with. Steel is 4.5 on the scale but I don't think anybody would be surprised if a steel nail could scratch a Supra shell despite the higher Mohs hardness of Chromium. Maybe 0000 is special and different because the strands are so fine. But maybe the people using it successfully use very light pressure and move it in a particular way. I know that I don't know what the key factors are. :dontknow:
 

Trev

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zenstat said:
Why is this so hard to understand?

Steel is stronger than chrome plating. That's not "anecdotal evidence". It's SCIENCE. It's not open to debate. Well at least not if you believe in the periodic table... :laughing6:
I'm not a materials scientist, but in my research work on cymbal alloys I was introduced to the Vickers hardness scale (HV) because that's something the lab tests. The property you are after is hardness not "strength". Most likely the Mohs scale (resistance to scratching versus something like the Vickers hardness scale which is resistance to deformation aka surface denting). And you are putting a lot of faith in the periodic table if you expect it to give you the hardness of different elements all by itself. Take Carbon for example. Consider the difference between the hardness of diamonds (Mohs scale 10) and of other forms of Carbon. All the same spot on the periodic table. There is a bit more to it.

Steel is 4-4.5 on the Mohs scale, and yes you might expect it to have a higher Mohs hardness value than Chrome plating. But it seems not. Opinions seem to vary a bit on what the value for Chromium is. I've seen claims of 8.5 which (if correct) means that in a rubbing contest between Steel and Chromium more of the Steel would be removed than Chrome. But here's the rub. Both lose material. It's just that one loses more than the other per unit time. We don't care if the Steel loses more material because it is just the means to an end. But we do care if the Chromium scratches and this is visible to the naked eye. Hence the need for better scientific evidence than we have so far.

It seems to me that the issue isn't whether Chromium is removed, but whether this happens evenly. If the removal is uneven, that is what we might call scratching: too much taken off in one line, not much on either side. That would leave a scratch we can see. Degree of scratching might have as much to do with the pressure used and the physical form of what we're rubbing with. Steel is 4.5 on the scale but I don't think anybody would be surprised if a steel nail could scratch a Supra shell despite the higher Mohs hardness of Chromium. Maybe 0000 is special and different because the strands are so fine. But maybe the people using it successfully use very light pressure and move it in a particular way. I know that I don't know what the key factors are. :dontknow:
Wow. And you play drums? :)
 

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When you buy a 50 year old drum, how exactly do you know everything that's been used to clean the drum so you will know not to buy it ?
 

topher465

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I'll chime in again - I never use steel wool of any grade on a shell. From my experience, it scratches the shell. However, drum shells and drum hardware such as hoops rods, and sometimes lugs, seem to be plated differently, which is why you often see heavier rusting and corrosion on hoops, rods, and lugs vs. the shell. I use both baths and a wool to clean hardware, depending on the job. Someone had asked the question "why not chrome polish and a rag?" That's a finisher - however if a hoop is rusted, oftentimes polish and a rag isn't enough to remove the rust. Side note: one time I tried a brillo pad on a hoop to test it out - very bad idea.
 

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i've used 0000 steel wool with wd40 on a couple of old snare drums and it worked great...the wd40 prevents scratching and accelerates removal of gunk and corrosion
 

CaptainCrunch

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BeaTniK said:
What tastes to avoid ?
Well, "drummer-flavored" is a rough one all by itself.

And god forbid they actually got the lead singer to help load out - don't even know where those guys have been, but I don't think they washed their hands afterward.

Now, Simichrome or Flitz notes, with a subtle hint of soft flannel cloth in the finish, that's what I like.
 

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BeaTniK said:
When you buy a 50 year old drum, how exactly do you know everything that's been used to clean the drum so you will know not to buy it ?
It's actually incredibly easy to hold the drum up in to the light, and see the micro-scratches.


CaptainCrunch said:
I'm sure it's entirely feasible to wash your car using a rusty rake - and I bet there's video of a guy who does it.

I don't want to buy his car.

There's a near-infinite number of not-steel-wool options. And there isn't a vocal population who refuse to take a drum that hasn't been worked over w/steel wool.

It's not measurably better, it's not meaningfully faster, it's not in higher demand.
Even if I preferred it, and was 100% convinced I was right to do so, I wouldn't use it on drums I hoped to sell, simply because it's a dealbreaker for some.
And if I'm selling, I want to move product, not convince buyers I haven't damaged the item.

I can 100% certify I've seen chrome ruined by steel wool, and it might have saved minutes over the course of a project.
Not worth the risk.
Thank you, Cap'n Crunch. Some folks here just don't get it. There is absolutely NO NEED to use steel wool. It doesn't save time, it doesn't provide a better result than a number of other, safer methods. It's been proven repeatedly that even 0000 steel wool can and will scratch chrome. Those who refuse to believe it, keep sticking your heads in the sand. Or get better glasses. I won't be buying any of your drums.

I've spent more than enough time tilting at this particular windmill. Carry on, gents.

Mike C - just... Wow. :crybaby: :dontknow:
 

CaptainCrunch

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This is just one of those things we're going to squabble about endlessly on here.

I just don't see an upside to using it, and I'll lowball or return a drum that's got damage I can see, even if the seller can't.
The nature of "damage" is all we're really arguing about.

I don't see there being much disagreement if there was a snare with two super sun-faded panels that weren't disclosed because the seller "didn't think it was a big deal", or a bass with a big chip in the wrap "but it's covered when the head's on, what's the fuss?"

One man's "I literally cannot see the problem here" is another man's "Dealbreaker".
 

Rich K.

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The important question is...
When using steel wool, do you hold it the same in your left hand as you do in your right?
 

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