Updated: Jun 16, 2020
Since I got my vapor honing equipment several months ago I've been finding all sorts of uses for it beyond my primary passion of motorcycle restoration. As I experimented with various motorcycle parts and other items I had lying around the shop, I realized that the process could be used on all sorts of things beyond the motorcycle or automotive realm.
One of the first things I tried was cleaning up some aluminum cookware that my friends and I use for a large-scale annual camping trip. Over the years we've accumulated a handsome collection of restaurant-grade cookware that sees significant use each year. As such, it's developed, well, let's just call it a "patina" reflective of hard use and cursory cleaning.
Before last year's camping trip, I spent an enormous amount of time scrubbing each pot, pan and lid with scouring powder and a ton of elbow grease. The results were acceptable, but they really didn't look all that great even after all that work. And it was a LOT of work...
These pictures show what they looked like even after a ton of scrubbing followed by one season's use.
Not too bad, considering their age. But I knew vapor honing could make them better!
So, I went to work. Here are some shots after I got done.
Omigosh! They're like new!
Just after I tried this successful experiment, I was talking to my next-door neighbor. I told her about the pots and she smiled broadly and told me that just the day before, her husband left a pot of beef & noodles on the stove and forgot about it. She'd been able to get the worst of the burned-on mess out of the pot, but there was still a lot of hard, black crust on the bottom that she just couldn't budge. Would vapor honing help?
Off to the shop I went, pot in hand. Guess what? The black came right off her stainless steel pan and I got the entire piece of cookware looking like new. She was ecstatic.
I also cleaned up a heavily-tarnished aluminum colander, some aluminum measuring cups and a couple sheet pans for my wife. She was very appreciative!
How About Brewing Equipment?
Another of my avocations is homebrewing. I have a nice set of all-electric, stainless steel brewing equipment in a room down in my basement and have cooked up a number of great beers (and a few failures🤢) over the years. But as any of you who brews beer knows, I spend a lot of time cleaning my equipment. I take pride in how spotless I keep everything, but hard as I try, there are some things I just can't seem to get perfect. Like these pickup tubes from my mash tun and brew kettle, for example.
There's brewing crud cooked on in places I just can't reach.
I also have a hop screen for my brew kettle that's made of stainless screen cloth.
The seams are folded and crimped, and although I can scrub the outside, it's impossible for me to reach the inside or get down into the edges of the seams. Notice the brown/green hop trub just above the bottom seam in the picture above.
Likewise, the false bottom of my mash tun has hard-to-reach cutouts that are numerous and very tedious to scour by hand.
Enter vapor honing! Here's what the parts looked like after just a few minutes of work.
Then I tried a real oddball. I'm reworking an older restoration of one of my motorcycles. Although the rear tire still has plenty of tread, it was showing some signs of age. It was beginning to look a little brown and dingy on the sidewalls, there was some dirt down in the tread, and there was a bit of rust on the bead from where it contacted the rim. I figured I had nothing to lose and vapor honed it. All the brown and rust came right off, and the rubber looked like new. It was trivial to get the gunk out of the tread. A quick spritz and rub on the sidewalls with tire dressing, and I've got a Concours tire again. Nice.
So, it looks like vapor honing can solve problems far afield from the obvious uses. What creative things can it do for you? Call or e-mail me and let's discuss.