Please note

Because of the lack of published trowel and masonry tool histories, the information here is based on other sources that may be less reliable and certainly are incomplete. These include eBay and tools that I purchase myself that are the starting points for my research. I will write what I know as I learn it. If what you read here interests you, please check back often and look for revisions and corrections. Scanned catalogs are either mine or by Rose Antique Tools and used with permission, and are on Google Docs as pdf files. A few are links to other websites. Your photos and information are welcome. Please click on any picture to enlarge it. Comments are welcome, but any with links will be deleted as possible spam.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Removing Concrete and Mortar With Sugar-Based Products

Cleaning old concrete and mortar from tools by scraping or with acid is difficult and can result in damage to the tools. Recently I learned there are several cleaning products containing cane sugar which are made to dissolve or soften concrete and mortar which have set. Here are links to 6 products available in the USA and one each in the UK and Australia. There are probably more products available, and if I learn how to mix your own concrete dissolver I will post it here.

Sakrete Concrete Mortar Dissolver cleaned the lettering
Here are some suggestions after trying the Sakrete product:
The surface should be dry; water, tar, oils, or wax will keep the remover from working.
Expect the dissolver to work slowly and unevenly, depending on the hardness of the material.
If the dissolver is able to work, a white crust will form as the concrete or mortar dissolves.
Brush or scrape off material loosened by the dissolver before adding more dissolver.
Use tools like a brass brush and wooden or plastic scraper.
The dissolver evaporates slowly, so spot applications are effective if you let them work.
It does not eat steel, brass, or bronze, and does not appear to cause rust while it's working.
Be patient, this may take days on some tools.

Sakrete Concrete Mortar Dissolver
US products:
Chisel concrete remover
Consolver Concrete Remover
Five Star® EZ-Cure® Concrete Remover
Mean Klean Concrete & Mortar Dissolver
RoMix Back-Set concrete removermanufacturer's video
Sakrete Concrete Mortar Dissolver

United Kingdom:
SpeedyClean Concrete Dissolver

CSS Crete-Off Concrete Dissolver

Sugar also acts as a concrete retarder, and was used on an accidental spill in London Underground’s Victoria Line, enabling the mess to be shoveled up before it set.
Article in the UK Telegraph on how sugar acts as a concrete retarder.

Kramer Brothers brass groover, cleaned with Sakrete Dissolver

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