Trap question

Posted by: gman

Trap question - 07/28/18 08:14 AM

I couldn't find an answer to a question I have in the archives , so I thought I'd post it here. I'm getting ready to clean some dirty traps that were previously dyed and waxed from last year. Will it be necessary to dye them again after I get through cleaning them ? Thanks in advance to any and all replies.
Posted by: Ric

Re: Trap question - 07/28/18 03:25 PM

The short answer is no, you do not need to dye them again.

I haven't dyed a trap in probably 20 years. Consider it unnecessary. Most footholds are cleaned and waxed. Large footholds and bodygrip traps are cleaned and dipped.

Dying does nothing for scent control and very little to nothing for rust prevention. On the flip side it doesn't hurt anything.
Posted by: ron finewood

Re: Trap question - 07/30/18 03:40 PM

Every summer around August or early September, I do make it a ritual of cleaning, re-dyeing and waxing my traps. I actually enjoy the process and make a weekend out of it. As I age, it does seem to be more of a chore and less of an enjoyment---I am about at 50/50 this summer. So---If I decide to just clean and wax--and forgo the dyeing---will I contaminate my wax pot with odors? I have been using the same wax pot for several years now, and just keep adding more as needed. My wax pot has a tinge of Logwood odor now--and I certainly don't want it to have a tinge of vinegar, drain cleaner or whatever I clean the traps in. Any thoughts???

Posted by: Seldom

Re: Trap question - 07/30/18 09:00 PM

I went Ric's route one time with my #3 Brdgers and 4x4 Dukes. I just carwashed them and waxed as I'd been reading on the different boards at that time. The more traps I waxed the organge'er my wax pot got from the rust being lifted off the steel by the wax! I don't have a decent population of coyotes as it is so I figured why take a chance on what I firmly believe was rust contaminated wax!!

My wax pot is turning dark from my use of black walnut hulls as my dye but the black particles in my wax pot are not rust but an inert compound formed by the rust being converted by the tannic acid in the hulls. To each his own but I'll stick with the old tried and proven method.

Here are two short videos of how I prepare my coyote traps each season.
Posted by: Ric

Re: Trap question - 07/31/18 05:34 AM

The steps I take:
1)Traps are cleaned in container using dishwasher detergent
2)Rinsed in container with clean water

The rinse takes care of the detergent and what is deposited on the traps as they are pulled out. Vinegar, I'm not sure about. It has a pervasive odor. Would consider those traps dirty and start at step 1
Posted by: ron finewood

Re: Trap question - 07/31/18 10:29 AM

Thanks Ric!
Awesome videos Seldom!!

Posted by: Hal

Re: Trap question - 07/31/18 11:52 AM

It's pretty hard to contaminate a wax pot, unless you get animal smell (like skunk) in the mix.

Rust isn't much of a contaminant. Seldom, I hate to break it to you but your dye does not convert rust. You need a whole lot more than tannic acid to convert rust. The black grit you see in your pot are grains of rust dyed black or grit from your hulls.

Personally, I haven't dyed a trap in 20 years, maybe longer. I boil them clean and wax them. I use two barrels. One with dishwasher powder for a cleaning agent, and another barrel of just plain boiling water. I boil them in the detergent for about a half hour, then transfer them to the rinse barrel for a half hour.
Posted by: Seldom

Re: Trap question - 08/01/18 06:41 AM

Hal, it seems like years ago you mentioned you had some chemistry schooling/background so could you please explain what is missing when thinking tannic acid as being a rust converter rather then just a coloring agent?
Posted by: Hal

Re: Trap question - 08/01/18 11:43 AM

Sure. For starters, tannic acid is a rust converter (I'll explain later), but not to any substantial degree and possibly not how you think. If you are going to reduce rust (reduction is the opposite of oxidation) you need a stronger solution of acid than you can obtain by boiling walnut hulls. Soaking traps in vinegar will reduce rust, as will other acids, like muratic acid.

I venture that you could soak your traps for a month in your tannic acid solution, and not remove an appreciable amount of rust from them. That tannic acid will however convert some of that surface rust to ferric tannate (I had to look that one up.) and forms a black layer that is actually somewhat water resistant -- like the blueing on a gun. But it is not a very substantial coating. (You wouldn't take your gun out and bury it in the dirt.) Also note that you cannot "dye" a trap unless in it rusty jn the first place. No rust, no reaction.

Just for an FYI, I knew a fellow who just kept a barrel full of oak bark and water. He would throw his traps in there, cold, and just leave them for a week or two. His traps came out just as black as if he had boiled them.

So back to the point, boiling traps in a tannic acid solution (oak bark, walnuts, sumac bark, logwood, etc.) is certainly good for coloration, and it does add a tiny degree of protection. However it should most definitely be followed up by wax.

Now, if you want to go to the trouble of soaking the rust off some traps with an acid, you may be able to get to the point that you will have shiny clean steel with no rust on it. But it will begin to rust just as soon as you remove the trap from the solution. (P.S. if you do that, you should boil those traps in baking soda or some other base solution to neutralize the acid.

What I'm saying is it is virtually impossible keep rust off a trap. Protect them as best you can but through use they are going to pick up some rust anyway. I personally don't think rust is a contaminant. Virtually everywhere you go, animals are encountering rusty bits of iron and it doesn't instill much curiosity (or danger) to their mental process.

Back to the point. I haven't used dye for a long, long time. Even with new traps I just boil them clean and wax them. The wax puts a protective film on them and seals up rust and all.
Posted by: Seldom

Re: Trap question - 08/01/18 02:07 PM

Thanks Hal for taking the time to give a good informative reply.

My concern always has been with the cleaned traps showing rust and once the trap hits the molten wax, the rust is lifted off the steel. Once I did 8-10 doz traps I had a wax pot with a lot of orange rust suspended in it that I swore I could smell. That really bothered me! LOL

I certainly havenít minded the black particulate in the wax after the black walnut boil because I thought I no longer had rust, even black colored rust but rather the ferric tannate Iíd read about. And yes, I can smell black walnuts in the wax pot.
Posted by: Hal

Re: Trap question - 08/01/18 02:28 PM

You worry too much. smile smile smile
Posted by: Seldom

Re: Trap question - 08/01/18 02:36 PM

Originally Posted By: Hal
You worry too much. smile smile smile
Hummmm, thatís what the wife has mentioned more then a few times as well! LOL.
Posted by: Dfabs

Re: Trap question - 08/01/18 05:54 PM

I have a friend that also does the same thing you mentioned, Hal. Just throws his traps in a cold barrel of dye for a week or so and they are black just like a boiled trap. He doesnít ever change his water either, just throws a pillowcase full of walnut hulls and sumac bark in it every once in a while to steep. His barrel will have small mold spores growing on top of it sometimes in the summer. He just splashes it out before he throws his traps in. Rain keeps the barrel full of water, and you would think it would dilute the dye, but it actually doesnít seem like it dilutes more than a few inches on the top if he doesnít stir it.
Posted by: FLSH ETR

Re: Trap question - 08/03/18 02:06 PM

Hal, do you use a shiny not-dyed trap for an exposed trap cat set?

Posted by: Hal

Re: Trap question - 08/04/18 09:15 AM

Yep, just throw a little grass over it.
Posted by: ron finewood

Re: Trap question - 09/06/18 03:17 PM

Seldom---what ratio of the brewers wash do you use per gallon of water? 1/2 oz. per gallon??

Posted by: Seldom

Re: Trap question - 09/06/18 04:25 PM

I use 1TB/gal and once the water has cooled and the wax is semi-solid/solid enough, I remove it. I remove traps and rinse the traps by spraying off with a garden hose and start another boiling.
Posted by: Utk1

Re: Trap question - 09/07/18 03:15 AM

I was inspired by a friend of mine here in Kentucky whoís 82 years young and paints his traps with a thinned Rustoleum paint and catches cats and coyotes regularly. I spent quite some time last year getting all the wax off mine through several steps and layed out over a hundred coyote sized traps and sprayed with a 15.00 Harbor Freight spray gun. They dried with a hard smooth finish and look good. I did not set many land sets last season but Iím thinking theyíll work fine for me.
Posted by: Seldom

Re: Trap question - 09/07/18 04:39 AM

Excuse me Ron, I use 1Tb/gal not 2Tb. You could try 1/2Tb/gal and see how it works.
Posted by: ron finewood

Re: Trap question - 09/08/18 08:47 AM