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Discoloured bone buttons


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Hi all.  I am trying to clean the bone buttons on a 20 key Lachenal.  In the past I've successfully removed general brownish grime with fairy liquid and/or toothpaste, but two of the buttons on this instrument are very discoloured, a sort of greyish colour which seems to be deeply ingrained in the bone.  I've searched all the very informative threads here, but could find none that specifically addresses this problem  Any ideas?  Thanks in advance. John.

Edited by catswhiskers
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Hello , Let me have your name and postal address and I will send some Lachenal anglo buttons ; please let me have the diameter to ensure the right size.

Regards.

Mike Acott 

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Mike's answer to the button cleaning problem is probably the best answer, ie. replace them ! but, if you wanted you could try making a strong/thick "paste" from Bi-carbonate of Soda or Baking Powder and water.  I have had some success with this. 

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13 hours ago, Peter Smith said:

I would be a bit wary of using Milton, as its diluted bleach (speaking as a chemist)! I would guess denture tablets should be OK, though I have not tried them.

Peter

I bow to your superior knowledge. OP please ignore my suggestion.

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16 hours ago, Clive Thorne said:

I bow to your superior knowledge. OP please ignore my suggestion.

I was not criticising your suggestion but urging caution. Milton is good stuff and it might work well e.g. in a diluted form.

(Its certainly good for sore throats as my mother taught me 60 years ago!)

Peter 

Edited by Peter Smith
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I’m guessing that UV light might work too, the type of devices that are used to whiten teeth. One problem might be if the buttons are stained with something dark, metals etc, something that doesn’t whiten with UV light.
In that case you’d probably get more contrast in the shading.

Edited by simon ds
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You might also try the new household bleaches formulated with hydrogen peroxide, which is also used in medicine.  Better yet, buy H2O2 at the drug store, which I believe is stronger than the residential products.  

 

Another suggestion is Oxalic Acid, an organic acid that is often used to whiten materials, as an alternative to Chlorine bleach.  I'm particularly cautious about Chlorine bleach because of it's tendency to combine with the ever-present hydrocarbons, resulting Chlorohydrocarbons compounds, many of which are proven carcinogens.  So unless you're adequately protected, I'd shy away from Chlorine.  So why do municipalities chlorinate public water systems?  Exactly!

 

Tom

www.bluesbox.biz

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21 minutes ago, ttonon said:

Another suggestion is Oxalic Acid, an organic acid that is often used to whiten materials, as an alternative to Chlorine bleach.  I'm particularly cautious about Chlorine bleach because of it's tendency to combine with the ever-present hydrocarbons, resulting Chlorohydrocarbons compounds, many of which are proven carcinogens.  So unless you're adequately protected, I'd shy away from Chlorine.  So why do municipalities chlorinate public water systems? 

 

You also need to be very careful with oxalic acid as it is poisonous.

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10 minutes ago, alex_holden said:

 

You also need to be very careful with oxalic acid as it is poisonous.

Well okay, though I do laugh.  What isn't poisonous, Chlorine bleach?  In fact there are uncountable organic oxidizers used for all kinds of things, even available over the counter at drug stores.  A typical example is ethanoic acid used to get rid of fungus on toenails.  So the term "poisonous" has such a broad meaning it's not very useful.  Better would be "toxic," and in virtually all instances, the toxicity is the very reason people use these things.  For instance, ethanoic acid is toxic to the fungus that attacks toe nails.  

 

So Alex, forgive me for my chuckle, but it seems we hear now a bit too much concern for ways to protect people from hurting themselves in this post-Trump environment, resulting in much redundancy, like being careful to tell people not to drink the ethanoic acid, even though you'd have to squeeze the tiny bottle into your mouth and get past the searing, painful discomfort.  Does such redundancy work, I mean when there are so many natural defenses at play?  I have doubts, no matter how much redundancy there is.  I hope I'm not being redundundundundant 🙂

 

Tom

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26 minutes ago, alex_holden said:

 

You also need to be very careful with oxalic acid as it is poisonous.

Of course, thank you for your concerns (chuckle).  I'll nominate you as our entire Health and Safety Department.

Tom 

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3 hours ago, ttonon said:

Of course, thank you for your concerns (chuckle).  I'll nominate you as our entire Health and Safety Department.

Tom 

It seems to me that "in this post-Trump environment" we need a Health and Safety Department.

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7 hours ago, simon ds said:

Nice one Alex, I was just thinking of high doses of rhubarb crumble with orange sauce, and it’s oxalic acid content, definitely something to consider (delicious 😀)

 

Apparently you would have to eat quite a lot of rhubarb leaves at one sitting to get a lethal dose, though you might feel unwell from a more moderate amount.

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Thanks to all for your many helpful suggestions on cleaning my bone buttons, not to mention the interesting discussions of poisoning in the post-Trump era. (Though thankfully we didn't actually have a Trump era here in Wales!)

I'm pleased to report my discoloured bone button problem has been solved by the kindness of a Cnet member who has sent me some replacement buttons.

Now I have nothing to lose, I might experiment on the discarded buttons with some of the (less poisonous) suggestions and report back any success or failure. 

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