Hang and HandPan - Removing Rust with Steel Wire Wool

I recently acquired something of a ‘Rescue-Dog’ Hang - a Hang that has seen better days. It’s certainly in need of a visit to a tuner, something that to some degree the price I paid for it reflected, but additionally, this Hang, was suffering from a fairly nasty case of rusting.

People within the HandPan community use a wide variety of measures, and substances, to help prevent the onset of rust to their HandPan (oils, and such), and there are products such as the ‘Miracle Cloth’, that are easily capable of removing rust should you catch it early enough. But, personally I’ve found that, should the rust be a little further developed, many (most?) of these solutions won’t remove the worst of it.

So, should you have left your Hang in storage with the bag done up tight for too long (never a good idea), or you’ve bought a questionable HandPan second-hand, and the rust is a little more severe than is treatable through other methods. You might consider using this tip that I first heard of from Daniel Waples (well known Hang musician), ‘0000 grade steel wire wool, and olive oil’.

As far as I can tell from my own experience, the olive oil is not an essential part of the remedy, but is more Daniels product of choice. But the 0000 grade wire wool, combined with a little WD-40, performed a treat. Buffed in a circular fashion with a little pressure applied, the rust began to vanish as if under an eraser. And after just ten minutes, this previously very sorry looking Hang, was almost, looking as good as new (if not sounding it). Unfortunately, I did not have the foresight to take 'before and after' pictures, so you’ll have to take my word for it about the results. But should you find your HandPan to be in a similar condition, you might also find this solution to be worth a try.


* Start very gently. 0000 size wire wool worked perfectly on a first gen Hang, but the wire wool (especially wool sized larger than 0000 should you be in the mood to experiment) could possibly cause aesthetic damage (marking) to the patina/painted surface/etc. of HandPan that are colored, or coated in some way (though I did also have a quick try on a Halo (deep blue patina), and it seemed to be fine).  Should this be the case, you may have to decide if a little discoloration is acceptable, to rid your HandPan of the rust problem.

* As with most things in life, prevention is always better than a cure - products such as FrogLube can be used to prevent rust BEFORE it gets its teeth into your HandPan, or to treat it before it has developed to the stage of requiring wire wool to shift it.

[Additional] A post on the Hang Forum discussing the natural discoloration of PANArt Hang (which may also be relevant to some other HandPan makes) and why it should not be confused with rust: HERE

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