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Author Topic: Verdigris  (Read 1714 times)
« on: May 07, 2015, 01:58:06 AM »

Hi everybody. We've already covered the topic of general track cleaning. Now,my next question on the subject is what's the best way to permanently remove verdigris, which is the green patina that forms on brass in wet or humid environments. I have some sections of track that came from Michigan which have a tendency to get this patina in certain areas if I don't stay on top of them, which I usually don't as this track is mostly used for display purposes. This track was used outdoors by the previous owner and I personally only use it indoors and never outside. I normally sand it off with 2000 grit sandpaper which gets rid of the verdigris for a while, but it eventually comes back. Is there any way to permanently get rid of it once it gets started on your track?
Loco Bill Canelos

Model railroading since 1947

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« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2015, 09:07:36 AM »

Can't help with the permanent removal.   If you track is for display I can suggest painting the sides a blackish brown color and the tops the Rustoleum silver color.  If you occasionally run don't paint the tops. Painting the ties can also make them very realistic looking.   I use the small bottles of acrylic paints from Wal-Mart which cost only 50 cents each  I get a matte brown and a matte black  I tend to go for a more black than brown.  I just squeeze out some of each color onto a small piece of cardboard and mix the colors as I go.   I f realism is what you are after this looks great.   

When I get a new piece of rolling stock, I also paint the couplers with the red primer spray cans or brush paint them by mixing matte red acrylic with brown Acrylic till I get a good rust look.  Depending on the car I also paint the trucks using spray gray, black, or red primer.   It is easy and a fun quick project.

Have Fun!


Loco Bill,  Roundhouse Foreman
Colorado & Kansas Railway Missouri Western Railway
Semi Official Historian; Bachmann Large Scale
There are no dumb or stupid questions, just questions!
Chuck N

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« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2015, 08:19:12 PM »

I have been using brass track outside for over 30 years, Colorado (dry) and Vitginia ( humid).  I have never encountered the green copper oxide you are referring to.  I think that there must be a foreign substance in the ties or joiners.  You didn't say where it occurs, only that it happens.

My guess is that some salt got into the track and humidity activates it.  My suggestion would be to soake it in several water baths to dissolve any salts trapped in the track.  Another possibility would be, if the track is small enough, put it in your dish washer and run it through several rinse cycles.

« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2015, 10:22:17 PM »

Hi, Chuck.The verdigris is on the sides and the tops of the rails and also in between the ties. It takes it a while to build back up again  I've owned this particular track for about 5 years and it's had the problem ever since I've had it. I've tried sanding it with 2000 grit sandpaper, and  using a wire brush with Dawn and hot water but it always comes back over time. I'm next going to try removing the rails from the track bed and then brushing, sanding and then soaking the rails and ties. I'll then allow them to air dry over night, reassemble, and see what happens . I have 6 of these particular tracks. They are in 3 foot sections and only a small section of two of them is affected by this. I was hoping that somebody might have a better and easier solution to getting rid of this little issue.
Thanks for your help. I appreciate it.
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