Brass corrosion on cartridges


#1

I am not sure if this subject is of topic. If so, please forgive me.
I own a small cartridge collection (876 to be precise


#2

On some of the older specimens decomposition of the powder may be to blame. I’m sure someone else can give you some advice on how to preserve the specimens. This is not off topic in any way, it is the sort of question the forum is here for. What sort of cartridges do you specialise in?


#3

Oak is notorious for causing this problem, it’s in the fumes it gives off. Having the front side closed off with glass just agravates the problem.
If you want to keep the cabinet, you will need to be able to provide some fress air circulation. 4-6 of the round “sofet” vents, available at your home center, will do a lot to help slow future corossion.
As far as cleaning of your existing corossion, there is a tuterioal on the home page, that gives materials and methiods.


#4

The criteria of my collection is more or less this one: cartridges of small calibres for light weapons, I try to collect different bullets in each calibre, but I don


#5

The problem is definitely the wood the cabinet is made from. If you want to continue to use the cabinet, it MUST have ALL the wood surfaces sealed with 2-3 coats of lacquer or varnish. The fumes will completely destroy lead bullets in as little as 2 years in a humid climate.


#6

But the strange part is that the wood is indeed covered with varnish. In fact it is not massive wood but birch-veneer plywood. I suspect that the vapours of some sort of glass cleaner were the reason for this quick oxidation because the surfaces that touch the window are also affected. Nevertheless, I noticed now that I should have made some vents in the cabinet like tailgunner suggests. Now I can only guess the long and fastidious work I


#7

It could be the glass cleaner, but I still suspect the wood. Plywood is glued together with a formaldehyde based glue. Formaldehyde fumes also are known to oxidize lead. However, glass cleaner with ammonia could be the problem. Ventilation of ANY storage for ammunition is a good idea. You might even want to put a small fan, such as from an old computer, in the case to force air movement.

I know of no easy way to clean the oxidation off your cartridges. Wiping them with a soft cloth with a light oil such as WD-40 should remove most of it and provide a coating to help prevent future corrosion.


#8

Really fascinating information about the dangers of how to store / display ammo, especially the types of wood being used. I had no clue that Oak was caustic. Funny thing is that I have been pondering construction of a oak display case. Thanks your “ON TOPIC”, question and expert responses, I have learned a valuable lesson in advance. Thanks!

Jason


#9

[quote=“APFSDS”]Really fascinating information about the dangers of how to store / display ammo, especially the types of wood being used. I had no clue that Oak was caustic. Funny thing is that I have been pondering construction of a oak display case. Thanks your “ON TOPIC”, question and expert responses, I have learned a valuable lesson in advance. Thanks!

Jason[/quote]

Actualy it’s acidic. Tannic acid IIRC


#10

Here’s a WAG. I’m betting the tanin in the wood is the culprit. Varnishing/sealing would more than likely help. As would the ventilation. Concluded this by the consistent degradation of cartridges kept in leather (tanned) holders. And I remember reading something about that somewhere. I think. Maybe.

Rick


#11

AHH! Tailgunner beat me to it!


#12

I would not trust my collection to ANY wooden storage, especially oak. Varnished or not and regardless of age. I have heard that very old oak would have had the tannin dissipated but I’m here to tell you that you should never trust an oak cabinet no matter how old it is.

Storing new items in an oak case to give them an antique patina is an old trick of nefarious antique dealers.

Ray


#13

GREAT INFORMATION!!!


#14

But the strange part is that the wood is indeed covered with varnish. In fact it is not massive wood but birch-veneer plywood. I suspect that the vapours of some sort of glass cleaner were the reason for this quick oxidation because the surfaces that touch the window are also affected. Nevertheless, I noticed now that I should have made some vents in the cabinet like tailgunner suggests. Now I can only guess the long and fastidious work I


#15

I must mention another factor that I suppose must played a major role in this event.
I used to have my collection displayed on shelves made of wood, but in the open air in a dry place.
When I changed to another house, I designed a new the cabinet, this time closed by glass doors. I suppose that the lack of ventilation, associated to the fact that the new house itself is more prone to humidity than the previous one, produced the fast oxidation of the cartridges.
After reading some of the advices forum members posted, I compared the cartridges stored in 2 different cabinets. The more affected are the ones kept in the smaller cabinet, that is also the one with a bigger ratio of wood and less ventilation.
I am now planning some


#16

Where can I get an oak box? This sounds ideal for putting the patina back on rounds that have been polished.


#17

[quote=“Falcon”]
Where can I get an oak box? This sounds ideal for putting the patina back on rounds that have been polished.[/quote]

Any decent used furnature store, should have something you could use.
Or simply bang together a few pieces of oak wood into a simple box shape. It wouldn’t need to be very large, cigar box size or smaller would work for everything smaller than the 20mm stuff (and it would work on even a few of those)


#18

[quote=“Ray Meketa”]I would not trust my collection to ANY wooden storage, especially oak. Varnished or not and regardless of age. I have heard that very old oak would have had the tannin dissipated but I’m here to tell you that you should never trust an oak cabinet no matter how old it is.

Storing new items in an oak case to give them an antique patina is an old trick of nefarious antique dealers.

Ray[/quote]

Many rounds have been ruined by antique spool cabinets. They look great but ruin the shells unless you coat inside and out with polyurithane or similar plastic coating.

Wood and cartridges do not mix well. Plastic is better metal is best if it is well painted otherwise you run the risk of reaction between metal types.


#19

[quote=“Tailgunner”][quote=“Falcon”]
Where can I get an oak box? This sounds ideal for putting the patina back on rounds that have been polished.[/quote]

Any decent used furnature store, should have something you could use.
Or simply bang together a few pieces of oak wood into a simple box shape. It wouldn’t need to be very large, cigar box size or smaller would work for everything smaller than the 20mm stuff (and it would work on even a few of those)[/quote]
I might try making one if I can get hold of the oak. I would only need to do stuff up to fired 20x110RB Oerlikon S and 20x110 Hispano cases.


#20

Ground walnut shells are also supposed to work. I don’t clean or age anything so I don’t really know but I have heard this.