After just 5 months in the deep South, the black bolts on my Reformer are rusting! Luckily, the parts shown in the image above aren’t load bearing, but it is kind of gross and is indicative of the humidity’s effect on your equipment.
While I worked at Balanced Body, I heard about studios on the coast experiencing rust on bolts, springs and tower tubes fairly often. Many people didn’t believe that, even indoors, their equipment is sensitive to the ambient environment.
How does it happen?
Rust develops when iron comes into contact with oxygen and water. There are many types of coatings that help prevent rust from forming. Chrome plating, zinc plating, and bluing are some forms. Plus, metal alloys like Stainless Steel are inherently rust resistant.
Unfortunately, black oxide bolts like the ones pictured above, are coated for aesthetic purposes only and have very little resistance to rust.
What to do about it
If you want to use the same hardware:
- Remove and clean the bolts, nuts or any other rusting pieces with a cloth, steel wool, or wire brush. Remove as much rust as possible because if you seal rust in it can still spread.
- Coat the hardware with Boeshield T-9* to keep it from rusting.
- Reinstall the hardware.
Alternatively, you can replace all your black hardware with stainless steel or zinc plated bolts from a hardware store. But, this would be time intensive to sort out which types of bolts, thread pitches and lengths you’d need for everything.
(I will explain how to remove rust from tower tubes in another post.)
Pro tip: Many DIY magazines and online sources recommend clear nail polish as a sealant for rust-prone parts. Yes, it can help slow the spread of rust and you often already have it around your house BUT sealing the rust in before you clean it won’t stop it from spreading. Also, coating your parts with nail polish will gum up the threads and make them hard to remove again, so I recommend not using this method for rust prevention.
*Boeshield was developed by The Boeing Company for lubrication and protection of aircraft components.