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  1. #1
    You mirin? VTLifts's Avatar
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    Hows your stainless barbell holding up? What/if any maintenance? Passivate?

    I recently purchased a REP Stainless deep knurl power bar. I love it and it's my only bar.

    I'm not looking to do much maintenance (hence why I paid up for stainless) but would like to keep it looking rust-free for years. I don't use chalk.

    Only thing I've learned for certain is don't use a metal wire brush, stick to nylon. Other than that it's not clear what, if anything, needs to be done.


    So curious what stainless barbell you all have, how long you had it, and how it's held up? Any rusting?

    I saw online some people swear to "passivate" the stainless by washing with soap & water, cleaning with a mild acid like citric, and you're done. If rust ever develops over the years, brush it off, reapply the acid cleaner, and wipe off. I can't find one manufacturer mention this.
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    Registered User rlundregan's Avatar
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    I have the Super Power Bar from American Barbell, I've had it for about 5 years. It's held up fine in my garage. It's always a good idea to brush out the knurling every once in a while to get rid of dust, dead skin, and other gunk that accumulates in it. I put 3 in 1 oil on mine and wipe it off once or twice per year, that's about all the maintenance I do.
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    Originally Posted by VTLifts View Post
    I recently purchased a REP Stainless deep knurl power bar. I love it and it's my only bar.

    I'm not looking to do much maintenance (hence why I paid up for stainless) but would like to keep it looking rust-free for years. I don't use chalk.

    Only thing I've learned for certain is don't use a metal wire brush, stick to nylon. Other than that it's not clear what, if anything, needs to be done.


    So curious what stainless barbell you all have, how long you had it, and how it's held up? Any rusting?

    I saw online some people swear to "passivate" the stainless by washing with soap & water, cleaning with a mild acid like citric, and you're done. If rust ever develops over the years, brush it off, reapply the acid cleaner, and wipe off. I can't find one manufacturer mention this.
    Got this from Reddit last year and it's pretty much what I do every month or 2.
    https://www.reddit.com/r/homegym/com...ells_dont_use/

    Tip: Passivating New Stainless Barbells (Don't Use Oils and Wire Bristle Brushes on SS bars)
    My home gym shares space with my home brewery in the basement. One thing I have picked up from home brewing is how to properly care for stainless equipment, including new equipment from the factory. I recently picked up a Rogue Boneyard Stainless Ohio Power Bar and went through the same steps as I did for my kettle. Given the growing popularity of stainless bars, I thought I'd share.

    Feel free to skip to the bottom for the TL/DR.

    As background, stainless steel works because the steel/chromium/nickel alloy can develop a natural oxide layer that prohibits rust. To create this oxide layer, the SS must be passivated, which is a process that removes free iron from the surface of the SS. The less iron on the surface, the more chromium/nickel exists, and these are the elements that react with oxygen to create the oxide layer. Without that oxide layer, stainless steel CAN and WILL rust.



    For those wondering, I did do a "magnet" test on the Rogue stainless bar. It is magnetic, which makes me wonder what type of stainless metal they used; it's not 304 or 316. Perhaps 405 or 409, which have higher iron content. 304 or 316 is better for rust protection, but I trust they used the steel they needed to get the PSI and price point they have on the bar.



    Step 1: Remove the Manufacturing Oils

    All manufacturers use oil to machine stainless, just like other metals. My bar came with a small layer of oil on it. However, unlike other bare metals, oil is not what keeps stainless rust free. It needs to be removed so that the oxide layer can form.

    Wash the bar with water and dish soap. A more aggressive cleaner such as TSP can also be used. I clumsily used my basement sink, but it would be easier to use a hose outside. Rinse and repeat until all oil is removed.



    Step 2: Use Barkeeper's Friend to Passivate

    Any mild acid will do the trick, but the cheapest and easiest is by far Barkeeper's Friend. Sprinkle it on the wet bar and scrub it into the bar with a nylon (not wire) brush. It should create a bubbly foam; add more BKF if not.

    Rinse the bar thoroughly and dry with a rag. I did this two times to be safe, but only once is needed. Boom--you have a passivated, bare stainless steel bar.



    Step 3: Maintain using Barkeeper's Friend

    At this point, your sole goal is to maintain the passivation. This oxide layer will get scratched from use, but should redevelop. If minor rust does begin to form, spot treat that area with Barkeepers friend. Do not use oil to remove the rust, and ABSOLUTELY DO NOT scrub it with a wire bristle brush. Barkeeper's Friend will easily remove it and re-passivate it in the process.



    As a side note, I love the look and feel of the Rogue SS OPB. Mine came from the boneyard and to this day I have no idea why it was in the boneyard. At $290 shipped from the Boneyard, it's a great value.



    TL/DR: Wash your bar with dish soap to remove manufacturing oils. Then scrub it with Barkeeper's friend and rinse. Enjoy rust-free, super grippy bar.
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    Registered User DarthCholo's Avatar
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    woah. so much for maintenance free. I've had my Rep Stainless EX since before Covid and haven't done anything to it. The sleeves a little dirty from cast iron plates, but that's it. I live in California where humidity is not an issue. Prior I had a bare steel rogue bar and i would oil it about every few months to keep it shiny.
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    Originally Posted by DarthCholo View Post
    woah. so much for maintenance free.
    I've done nothing to my REP Deep Knurl barbell aside from wiping it off with a wet rag when it first came, and I've have had zero issues after 7 months of frequent use. Barbells should be used and abused so I'd fight the urge to overthink things here, if any rust started to form after a few years you can easily knock off with a brush and some WD40 or 3in1 oil. But everyone who has owned something stainless knows it can eventually rust, but it requires far less maintenance than bare/coated barbells when used in austere environments.
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    Originally Posted by urbanlifter View Post
    I've done nothing to my REP Deep Knurl barbell aside from wiping it off with a wet rag when it first came, and I've have had zero issues after 7 months of frequent use. Barbells should be used and abused so I'd fight the urge to overthink things here, if any rust started to form after a few years you can easily knock off with a brush and some WD40 or 3in1 oil. But everyone who has owned something stainless knows it can eventually rust, but it requires far less maintenance than bare/coated barbells when used in austere environments.
    Same with my PowerSpeed bar, though I've had it a couple months less. That Barkeepers friend stuff looks pretty useful though. Anyone know if it's good on bare steel?
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    Originally Posted by urbanlifter View Post
    I've done nothing to my REP Deep Knurl barbell aside from wiping it off with a wet rag when it first came, and I've have had zero issues after 7 months of frequent use. Barbells should be used and abused so I'd fight the urge to overthink things here, if any rust started to form after a few years you can easily knock off with a brush and some WD40 or 3in1 oil. But everyone who has owned something stainless knows it can eventually rust, but it requires far less maintenance than bare/coated barbells when used in austere environments.
    Same with my PowerSpeed bar. What's the point of getting a stainless bar if you are going to be doing maintenance to it all the time? I get my stuff to beat the hell out of.
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    Originally Posted by VTLifts View Post
    Only thing I've learned for certain is don't use a metal wire brush, stick to nylon. Other than that it's not clear what, if anything, needs to be done.
    never understood this. Your bar and it's knurling are certainly more resilient than a metal wire. Hell when I cared to refurbish bars, metal brushes gave the best results.
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  9. #9
    You mirin? VTLifts's Avatar
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    Glad to hear you all are having no problems with the REP Stainless bars. I was admittedly worried they used a cheap stainless to get the price down and that it would begin to show after regular use.

    Low maintenance is exactly why I got stainless, so I don't plan to do more than maybe a post session wipe with my shirt / rag.
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    Originally Posted by Cleveland33 View Post
    never understood this. Your bar and it's knurling are certainly more resilient than a metal wire. Hell when I cared to refurbish bars, metal brushes gave the best results.
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    All I know for certain is that it's fun trying out new equipment, so if you manage destroy the REP barbell in 3-5 years just buy another and restart the process. If it rusts/bends it will become a good landmine bar, with the market competition someone is likely to release a barbell that has everyone going "Ooooooh, I need one of those" anyway LOL. It's not like a quality rack or adjustable bench, feel like those should be the items you hang onto longer than you do a barbell.
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    I have 5 SS bars (Rogue Squat, Rogue OPB, Rogue Ohio, REP Power EX, Rep Rackable Curl). Of those the REP EX shows the most oxidation. Not full on rust but more of some slight discoloration where I tend to grip the bar. The rackable curl bar is too new to comment on, but it appears brighter in general than the EX. The Rogue ones also show some very slight oxidation (all were kept in a garage over this previous summer with no temp control), but I just clean them as needed or every few months when I remember. Regardless all 5 bars have held up extremely well and require little to no upkeep.
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    Registered User urbanlifter's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BDiamond View Post
    Not full on rust but more of some slight discoloration where I tend to grip the bar.
    I've had the EX bar for about the same amount of time that I had the Rogue Stainless OPB, it's odd but I actually noticed more 'dark' spots on the Rogue bar than I have seen on the REP EX (none yet). My gym is in a temperature controlled room and we run a dehumidifier 24/7 during the summer, so maybe that's helped make it a little less obvious compared to storing them in a garage.
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    Registered User smokinHawk's Avatar
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    I have 6 stainless bars
    (2) Iron wolfe squat bars (17-4 shaft with Zinc plated carbon steel sleeves)
    (1) Ivanko powerbar (17-4 shaft with 304SS sleeves)
    (1) Rep fitness V2 powerbar light knurl (17-4 shaft with 304SS sleeves)
    (1) Rep fitness V2 powerbar deep knurl (17-4 shaft with 304SS sleeves)
    (1) Rogue Olympic bearing bar (17-4 shaft with Zinc plated carbon steel sleeves)

    I don't really have to do any maintenance on them, Sometimes I brush my Iron wolf with stainless cleaner to bring back the blue-purple heat-treating coloring.

    you can use a steel brush on them, cross-contamination isn't' likely, least I havent seen it with a wire brush on hardened stainless, Though I prefer to use a brass brush. Possible to wear the knurling down in time with a steel brush though. There are stainless steel brushes that would probably work best.

    most companies use 17-4 stainless shaft which is magnetic as it can be heat treated which a 300 series stainless doesn't heat treat as well. for the sleeves since it does not need to be heat treated you can use a 300 series which rep, ivanko and some other do.

    17-4 is not as corrosive resistant as 304 or 316 but you are not likely to see much if any. I had my stainless bars in storage unit for a few months where all my other bars rusted, and the stainless still looked flawless.
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    Registered User DarthCholo's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by smokinHawk View Post
    I have 6 stainless bars
    (2) Iron wolfe squat bars (17-4 shaft with Zinc plated carbon steel sleeves)
    (1) Ivanko powerbar (17-4 shaft with 304SS sleeves)
    (1) Rep fitness V2 powerbar light knurl (17-4 shaft with 304SS sleeves)
    (1) Rep fitness V2 powerbar deep knurl (17-4 shaft with 304SS sleeves)
    (1) Rogue Olympic bearing bar (17-4 shaft with Zinc plated carbon steel sleeves)

    I don't really have to do any maintenance on them, Sometimes I brush my Iron wolf with stainless cleaner to bring back the blue-purple heat-treating coloring.

    you can use a steel brush on them, cross-contamination isn't' likely, least I havent seen it with a wire brush on hardened stainless, Though I prefer to use a brass brush. Possible to wear the knurling down in time with a steel brush though. There are stainless steel brushes that would probably work best.

    most companies use 17-4 stainless shaft which is magnetic as it can be heat treated which a 300 series stainless doesn't heat treat as well. for the sleeves since it does not need to be heat treated you can use a 300 series which rep, ivanko and some other do.

    17-4 is not as corrosive resistant as 304 or 316 but you are not likely to see much if any. I had my stainless bars in storage unit for a few months where all my other bars rusted, and the stainless still looked flawless.
    reps for providing the stainless types. Nice to hear they went with 304 for the sleeves vs cheaper 430. I always forget to bust out the magnet to test them out.
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    Originally Posted by smokinHawk View Post
    I have 6 stainless bars
    (2) Iron wolfe squat bars (17-4 shaft with Zinc plated carbon steel sleeves)
    (1) Ivanko powerbar (17-4 shaft with 304SS sleeves)
    (1) Rep fitness V2 powerbar light knurl (17-4 shaft with 304SS sleeves)
    (1) Rep fitness V2 powerbar deep knurl (17-4 shaft with 304SS sleeves)
    (1) Rogue Olympic bearing bar (17-4 shaft with Zinc plated carbon steel sleeves)

    I don't really have to do any maintenance on them, Sometimes I brush my Iron wolf with stainless cleaner to bring back the blue-purple heat-treating coloring.

    you can use a steel brush on them, cross-contamination isn't' likely, least I havent seen it with a wire brush on hardened stainless, Though I prefer to use a brass brush. Possible to wear the knurling down in time with a steel brush though. There are stainless steel brushes that would probably work best.

    most companies use 17-4 stainless shaft which is magnetic as it can be heat treated which a 300 series stainless doesn't heat treat as well. for the sleeves since it does not need to be heat treated you can use a 300 series which rep, ivanko and some other do.

    17-4 is not as corrosive resistant as 304 or 316 but you are not likely to see much if any. I had my stainless bars in storage unit for a few months where all my other bars rusted, and the stainless still looked flawless.
    Do you use a stainless cleaner that you would use on kitchen appliances, or something else? The purplish finish on my AB bar is wearing off, I would love to restore it if that was all it took.
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    Originally Posted by rlundregan View Post
    Do you use a stainless cleaner that you would use on kitchen appliances, or something else? The purplish finish on my AB bar is wearing off, I would love to restore it if that was all it took.
    yes used one of those.
    Best Raw total 1850 at 181 lbs
    best comp raw lifts @ 181
    squat 710
    bench 500
    deadlift 670
    "Lightest man to bench 500 raw in a full meet"
    my you tube channel of my training http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkt7CVJ7443k6Vu_1DwP3UA
    ||---|| Rogue Barbell Club #9 ||---||
    ()---() York Barbell Club #81 ()---()
    []---[] Ivanko Barbell Crew #81 []---[]
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