A few years ago, I posted a story about how I came across several hundred pounds of discarded dumbbells (original entry). I’m guessing that the weights were originally disposed of due to excessive rust. Below is a picture that was taken before they were cleaned.
Fortunately, I was able to clean up the weights and add a fresh coat of paint. To the casual observer today, the weights appear to be new.
Below are weight restoration instructions that were recently posted to my forum. The original source of this information is the Shenandoah homemade equipment site (excellent resource). I didn’t have these instructions two years ago, but I actually followed a very similar approach when restoring my weights.
I’ve summarized the original instructions with the bullet points below:
- Clean the weights with a hose and wire brush to remove any loose rust and grime.
- Dry the weights and then place them in a large container filled with Coca-Cola. Several days is recommended (the original poster did so for 4 days). He also recommended swishing the weights within the soda once each day.
- Remove the weights and then clean them under a hose once more. Use the wire brush again to remove any remaining rust that has been loosened by the soda.
- WD-40 can also be used to assist
- Finish by spraying the weights with a quality rust paint product. Rust-Oleum is one well known brand.
Here are the original plates:
Next, you can see the pan that was filled with soda:
Lastly, you can see the end result:
As you can see, it is quite possible to restore an old weight set. The use of soda may appear odd at first glance, but it was actually recommended to me by someone who worked at Home Depot. I too thought it was a strange, but it did assist in the process. I was a bit impatient however, so I only left them in the soda for approximately 40 hours. I’m guessing another day or two (as suggested above) would have saved me some scrubbing.
Old weight sets are a common item at many tag sales. If you come across a rusty set, there is a good chance that you can bring it back to life. With the rising cost of iron, a restored set can be a real steal.
After posting this entry, the following comment was added by one reader. In case the comment goes unnoticed, I will add it here:
A good “rust stop” paint can go on after wire brushing off the loose stuff, no Coke-soaking needed. Eastwood auto supplies sells one that I like, but there are many out there that chemically lock in existing rust so it won’t spread. A little more expensive than Rust-Oleum, but much faster.
If you really want to kill the rust, replace the Coke-soak with a 10-minute treatment with Naval Jelly:
Does the same thing, only much faster. Wear gloves!
Your local auto parts store will most likely carry things like this, especially if they do anything with restoration or classic cars. Talk to the folks there; they’ll probably steer you right.10 comments