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Rusty Scrims

Stewart McLain

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Maybe a dumb question but I inherited a small pile of scrims recently, many of which are pretty rusty.  Or were.  I sprayed them down with WD40 and it largely seemed to do the trick.  But then I started to think it was maybe not such a great idea since these would be going on hot lights.    A  little after-the-fact research shows me that WD40 is still combustible when dry.  So I guess my questions are, are these salvageable?  Would a water rinse help?  How does one clean a rusty scrim?  Thanks all. 

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It's steel mesh so by default it would rust. This is avoided in most cases by plating it with something; if it's gone rusty it's because the plating has worn off, or perhaps been defeated by too much moisture and heat.

I don't think you could really recover the plating, but you could dunk them in one of the commercial rust removal solutions (MC-51 is widely used). That might be a good idea, because the rust takes up more space than the steel, and it will make the wires in effect thicker and reduce light throughput, which would put your scrims out of calibration.


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isopropanol or some other alcohol should remove the wd40 remains easily I believe. 

another stuff which removes rust is oxalic acid (by converting it to soluble clear substances, it is handy when removing rust stains from stainless steel surfaces like kitchen sink etc) but it of course corrodes steel as well to do this so if the normal rust removal solutions work, then of course use the most gentle method of removal

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2 hours ago, Tim Tyler said:

How about high temp spray paint?


Which would also increase the diameter of the wires and alter the effect, but sure. Given the fineness of most scrims, I'd be a bit concerned about them filling in entirely.

Are these things really that expensive to replace? I don't think I've ever owned one.

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