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Thread: Removing paint and tape from used kegs

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Posts
    82

    Removing paint and tape from used kegs

    I have a number of used kegs I want clean up and re-brand with my own markings. What is the best solution for removing old tape and paint?

    Also, what water/chemical solution is best to use on cleaning up the exterior of a lot of gunk covered stainless and copper vessels and stands.

    I'm trying to bring some old brewing equipment back to life the most efficient way possible.

    Cheers,
    Steve

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    672
    For purchased used kegs I suggest an angle grinder with a twisted steel wire brush. For dirty tanks I would try a high pressure sprayer first.
    Joel Halbleib
    CBO "Chief Brewing Officer" / Zymurgist
    Bluegrass Brewing Co
    636 East Main St
    Louisville, KY
    www.bluegrassbrewing.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    31

    abrasive pads

    We used an abrasive pad that was attached to an angle grinder to remove paint stripes on some used kegs that we have bought in the past. It was a hook and loop system (similar to velcro), we purchased the fixture that held the pads at a welding shop along with the pads. They come in a couple of different grades, i would suggest the least abrasive. Be careful if you use a wire brush, make sure it is stainless steel and has never been used on carbon steel. If it was used on carbon steel it will impregnate carbon steel into your stainless kegs or equipment and you will develop rust spots that you can not ever get out.

    As far as chemicals, i would recommend a passivating acid such as a phos/nitric mix. Check with you chemical supplier for what is available in your area. I have also heard that a mixture of yeast and acid works well for polishing copper, but i have never tried it myself. Anyone want to elaborate on this technique?

    good luck

    brad farbstein
    real ale brewing co
    blanco, tx

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Homer, Alaska
    Posts
    93

    Don't use twisted steel!!!

    As RealAle made note a wire brush will impregnate little bits of iron etc. and forever rust!!! Don't do it!!
    Make sure whatever you use (abrasive pads, grinding wheels, etc.) are virgin and from a clean source or you will contaminate your stainless!
    Higher temps from an industrial blowdrier/paint stripper (or live steam) can soften and loosen tape/stickers but don't scrape with anything but virgin non-magnetic stainless or plastic. For paint 3M velcro abrasive pads are ok but expensive and smear/burn/melt the paint as much as remove it. Until someone comes up with the eco earth friendly solvent to wipe it off with I suggest you clean it and paint over it. 3M abrasive pads are the ticket for general dirt/grime. Use hot water, elbow grease, and if you need an acid use vinegar (you can even make your own) or for the other side try a mild hot water baking soda solution and a scrub brush.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Posts
    82

    thanks

    Thanks for the info folks... I will give the 3M or similar abrasive pads a try.

    Cheers,
    Steve

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Richmond, VA
    Posts
    227
    I'm a welder. There are such things as 304 stainless wire cup brushes for use on a grinder. That should take the paint off toot-sweet. To loosen up old tape, try acetone. Goof Off works well, too. After the acetone or Goof Off, if there's any residue left, hit it with the wire brush. Using abrasive pads are fine, but you'll leave very rough spots. The wire brush will also abrade the surface, but not nearly as violently as the abrasive pads. When you use the wire brush, make sure you wear eye protection and long sleeves and gloves.

    Buena suerte.
    Mike Hiller, Head Brewer
    Strangeways Brewing
    2277-A Dabney Road
    Richmond, VA 23230
    804-303-4336
    www.strangewaysbrewing.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Santa Rosa CA USA
    Posts
    963
    Old spent yeast spilled on my truck while taking it to a dairy, managed to eat through every layer of paint and primer down to raw steel. Haven't ever seen that before, but it could be less labor than a wire brush.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    54
    Lets take this question and flip it now...Does any body know what the best paint to use on kegs is?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Kawasaki, Japan
    Posts
    40
    sounds old school, but one of the best things for cleaning metal, and expecially copper. is tomato ketchup (to a lesser extent, scrumpy cider works good too)

    don't waste money on fancy metal cleaning potions, ketchup really cuts through it!
    as a kid my mum used to restore a lot of old copper things, ketchup makes them super shiney!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    672
    I have heard stories of old brewers using yeast as a rubbing compound on their copper vessels.
    Joel Halbleib
    CBO "Chief Brewing Officer" / Zymurgist
    Bluegrass Brewing Co
    636 East Main St
    Louisville, KY
    www.bluegrassbrewing.com

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Santa Rosa CA USA
    Posts
    963
    Especially yeast with coal ash...maybe today substitute DE or a brown scrubbie.

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