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Cleaning Dusty Rigging

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Hello,

Does anyone have a good technique for cleaning rigging that has sat collecting dust for many years?  I am working on a restoration of the Model Shipways Kate Cory and need to clean her up a bit.  Looking for advice on how to clean without destroying the rigging.  Any advice or direction to an existing post would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Mark

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Use progressively smaller brushes to remove the loose dust cobwebs etc. then vacuum with an empty biro tube pushed  through a piece of card and placed over the vacuum hose. The narrow suction can be more focused into crevices without tearing off fixtures and fittings.

 

Finally, I spray the rigging with matt varnish which turns the remaining dust particles on the rigging transparent and completely transforms the whole thing.

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Hi Mark, for the strong of heart and steady of hand, try a small blow torch.  This is obviously dangerous to the rigging but it has seveal advantages-it removes dust AND fuzz, and is fast.  Don't use this on lanyards or tiny lines such as flag hoists.  Do practice off model.  Keep the torch moving at all times and keep the flame a few inches away. 

Yes, I have had to replace a few lines. 

I will have to try Overdale's matt varnish spray idea.

Good luck and keep modelling.

Duffer

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I've used a clean, EMPTY airbrush before on plastic kits.  It seems to work reasonably well and is more controllable and gentler than the compressed air used to clean computers.  Start at a low pressure and work up to the highest pressure you feel is safe.

John Allen likes this

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I think the most important and perhaps the most expensive tool or material to use when cleaning a ship model is time, and you have to spend a lot of it. Beyond that I find I expend a tiny mountain of Q-tip cotton swabs when I clean a ship model, its a good thing they are inexpensive. getting deeper into the topic of dust removal, there are different types of dust found on ship models. If your lucky your particular species of dust will be light dry and fluffy, this will blow off with very little mechanical scrubbing with a paintbrush or cotton swab. The worst sort of dust is greasy and sticky, this stuff takes much longer to deal with and you will wind up having to experiment with different liquid cleaning products to dip your cotton swabs into. I like Overdale's idea of using matt spray varnish as a final step. The idea of using a blow torch though.....that will become one of the stories I tell when I talk to non-modelbuilders about this website!

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Thanks everyone for the great ideas!  I am working on a cleaning and restoration of the Model Shipways Kate Cory.  The ship was built in the late 70's or early 80's so the rigging is pretty fragile.  Given the variety of techniques suggested, I should be able to use one or all in getting her cleaned up!  My main concern was not to make matters worse.  The rigging seems to be in pretty good shape overall, just a bit dusty.  

Thanks again,

Mark

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Good advice there, guys, thank you...  :dancetl6:

 

Just to ask, I know that my Titanic is still relatively new (as per the pix in my sig) but obviously, she'll almost certainly be exposed to dust and the elements, since I did not place her in a glass case. In this case, what is the best way to clean her up, when the time comes? I'm particularly worried about Titanic's metal propellers, which can lose their shine if exposed to the dusty environment too long!  :)

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Thank you so very much. My wife has a shadow box with a lot of things in it. One for sure is The U.S.S. Constitution, and a N-scale train which needed dusting. You talk about a small brush. Low and behold I had one in my tool box.  

mtaylor likes this

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Hi Mark, for the strong of heart and steady of hand, try a small blow torch.  This is obviously dangerous to the rigging but it has seveal advantages-it removes dust AND fuzz, and is fast.  Don't use this on lanyards or tiny lines such as flag hoists.  Do practice off model.  Keep the torch moving at all times and keep the flame a few inches away. 

Yes, I have had to replace a few lines. 

I will have to try Overdale's matt varnish spray idea.

Good luck and keep modelling.

Duffer

Also make sure the line was not treated with beeswax if you are going to use a torch.
mtaylor likes this

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