Restoring "Boat"anchor Metals

David Stinson arc5 at IX.NETCOM.COM
Sat Jul 3 15:16:59 EDT 1999

(This story is about "boatanchors" in two ways:)

Last month I had the pleasure of touring the U.S.S. Cairo museum
in Vicksburg, Mississippi.  The ironclad yankee gunboat patrolled
the Yazoo river during The War for Southern Independence-
part of the ruthless northern oppression of
the peace-loving people of Mississippi.

Brave defenders of Home and Family, using native cunning and
a talent for scrounging parts (virtues they would pass down
to their boatanchoring decendents),  placed an electrically-fired
torpedo in the river and waited for the smoke-belching dreadnought.

The explosion blew-off a sizable hunk of
the arrogant gunboat's port bow and the infernal machine
plunged headlong into the muddy depths of the Yazoo.
No one was killed but many waterlogged blue-bellies
suddenly found themselves in the infantry.

A century later the gunboat itself and many artifacts were
recovered from the river and are now on display at the
Vicksburg Military Park.  The steam engine that ran
the paddle wheel is a National Historical Engineering landmark
and is the last remaining marvel of its kind.
You can even see where the boilers blew when they hit the
cold, dark waters of the Yazoo. If you've ever wanted
to step inside an ironclad, I highly recommend a visit.

(Here comes the Boatanchor part:)
Most of the small iron artifacts look almost new.
The preservationist used an electrolysis process
that actually turns the rust back into solid iron.
I don't yet have all the information on exactly
how it works, but it got me to thinking....

Is there any process similar to this that can restore
copper, aluminum or other metals?  Can, for example,
an oxidized aluminum panel be restored in this fashion?
Can the damage done to a Drake copper-plate chassis
exposed to salt air be "undone" using electrolysis?
Perhaps a solution could be "daubed" on the oxidized
spot and a charge impressed on it?

TNX ES 73 DE Dave Stinson AB5S

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