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Gibbs Brand penetrant
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Gibbs Brand penetrant Last updated on June 30, 2013

On this page:

Introduction to Gibbs Brand

Gibbs Brand price list

How to apply Gibbs Brand

Painting over Gibbs Brand

On another page:

Gibbs Brand order form

Pages about our projects:

1932 Ford coupe

Chevy 327 engine

Chevy 496 engine

Halibrand magnesium wheels

Halibrand 16 by 13

Introduction to Gibbs Brand

Gibbs Brand Gibbs Brand is a mega penetrant, an ultra lubricant, a corrosion inhibitor, and a water repellant. It's also one of the most amazing products that I have ever used.

Here are some facts about Gibbs Brand:

  • In 1969, Gibbs Brand was invented by Paul Gibbs, a Harley-Davidson mechanic with a background in chemistry.
  • Gibbs Brand is the first true penetrant in US history. Gibbs Brand was the first penetrant that was patented, and it established that category.
  • Gibbs Brand has proven itself to be able to penetrate gaps that are as small as one micron.
  • The viscosity of Gibbs Brand is lower than the viscosity of water.
  • Gibbs Brand is the only penetrant / lubricant / waterproofer on the market that undercoats metal and can be painted over. It is completely suitable for use in body shops and paint booths.
  • You can take some bare metal that has been treated with Gibbs Brand and touch it with a dirty hand without leaving a stain.
  • Gibbs Brand leaves metal slippery, not sticky. Surfaces that have been treated with Gibbs will not attract dust or dirt. Any dust that does settle on metal that has been treated with Gibbs can easily be wiped off.
  • Gibbs Brand could not be put into spray cans until the 1990s, because it would penetrate the valves when it was pressurized.
  • Gibbs was originally sold in two-ounce squeeze bottles by mail-order ads in Popular Science and other magazines for many years, to thousands of people throughout the United States and around the world.
  • In more than 35 years, no one has ever returned Gibbs Brand dissatisfied.
  • Gibbs Brand can be used on all metals, including aluminum, brass, bronze, cast iron, copper, magnesium, titanium, and on all types of steel including chrome-moly, mild steel, stainless, and tool steel.
  • In addition to working wonders on metals, Gibbs Brand has also been used successfully as a surface treatment on glass, leather, plastic, rubber, and wood.
  • Audio engineers and electricians use Gibbs Brand to prevent electrical connectors from oxidizing.
  • Cabinet makers use Gibbs Brand to lubricate tools and machinery, and to protect saw blades and router bits.
  • Classic car restoration shops use Gibbs Brand to protect master cylinders and many other bare metal surfaces on cars that have to look completely original when they are judged in competition.
  • Computer technicians use Gibbs Brand to lubricate computer hard drive bearings, and to protect connectors from oxidization.
  • Cyclists use Gibbs Brand as an assembly lube on threads, for cleaning and protecting saddles, to add gloss to bare carbon fiber components, and as an extremely effective chain lubricant.
  • Gunsmiths know that Gibbs Brand is the world's finest gun oil. Gibbs is especially effective when it's used on the firing mechanisms of automatic and semi-automatic weapons. Gibbs is used by a great many gunsmiths and rangemasters, as well as by at least two manufacturers of firearms. The Chicago Police Department and the Detroit Police Department use Gibbs Brand exclusively on all of their firearms, and in the mechanisms of their handcuffs. The DEA, the FBI, the US Marshals Service, and several SWAT teams also use Gibbs Brand on their firearms. Gibbs will not let you down when you need it.
  • Locksmiths use Gibbs Brand to clean, free up, and lubricate lock mechanisms.
  • Machinists and tool and die makers use Gibbs Brand to lubricate and protect blades, machinery, stamping dies, molds, tooling, tools, and all metals, and for cutting, drilling, and tapping.
  • Mechanics and millwrights use Gibbs Brand when disassembling old or frozen parts, and to protect the threads on fasteners during assembly.
  • Race car chassis builders use Gibbs Brand to protect bare metal frames, and many other race car parts.
  • Racers use Gibbs Brand to flush out and protect the fuel systems on race cars that run on alcohol.

  • Gibbs Brand contains:
  • No abrasives
  • No acids
  • No arsenic
  • No carcinogens
  • No corrosives
  • No graphite
  • No kerosene bases
  • No masking perfumes
  • No pigments
  • No silicones
  • No Teflon
  • No waxes

  • I used to use WD40, but won't again. In 2001, I carefully bead-blasted a cherry pair of American Racing magnesium wheels that had never been polished. I wanted them to remain looking untouched, just as they had been made. After spraying them with WD40, I found that they were pretty much impossible to keep clean, because when I wiped them off, the WD40 had left them so sticky that the wheels would pull dirt and lint out of what I was wiping them off with. What kind of lubricant leaves something sticky?

    In the summer of 2003, Ed Norton, a friend of mine in Michigan who restores 1960s sprint cars, told me about something that he used to protect the bare metal surfaces on his restored race cars to keep them from oxidizing. Like thousands of people, Ed also uses Gibbs as an extremely effective penetrating oil, as a cleaner, and as a rust remover. He said that although it was hard to find, it worked exceptionally well, and he offered to send me a can of it to try out.

    Halibrand 16 by 13s
    Halibrand 16 by 13s
    The first parts that I used Gibbs Brand on was one of my pairs of Halibrand magnesium wheels, which are shown here. These are 16 by 13s that were used on Top Fuel cars back in 1969.

    Having spent more time than I'd like to think about using emery cloth and Scotch-Brite by hand to get their surfaces uniform and smooth, I wanted the magnesium to stay free of dust, fingerprints, and oxidization, without resorting to the limitations of paint or powdercoating.

    Clear paint, or any paint, does not prevent rust from occuring underneath it. One of the worst things you can do with a magnesium wheel is to paint it. Moisture will creep in through the slightest scratch, and you won't know that the wheel has areas that are rotted away until you remove the paint (or X-ray the wheel). Gibbs Brand works its way into the pores of the metal and protects it.

    It's been more than five years since I first put Gibbs Brand on these wheels, and I have put more Gibbs on them twice since then. In terms of protecting bare metal from oxidization and fingerprints without any drawbacks, Gibbs Brand has proven itself to be more effective than anything else that I know of. It is superb.

    Russell DeSalvo built this flawless three-window coupe, shown above as it looked back in 1964. He still has the car, and it looks just as you see it here.

    The American Racing magnesium wheels were made in 1962, and Russell bought them new in 1964.

    These wheels have never been painted. The dark finish on the spokes and hubs is the natural patina that develops as magnesium ages. The patina really adds to the character of these classic wheels.

    More dark patina had formed on the insides of the spokes, and all of the machined surfaces had faded.
    After having been left in bare metal since 1962, any magnesium sand castings would need a bit of help. These wheels had started to show their age.

    In 2008, Russell inspected the wheels. He found that although they had been stored for decades in airtight plastic bags, the machined surfaces had developed some light pitting.

    While doing some research into classic racing wheels, Russell found this Web page, and ordered some Gibbs Brand. He sprayed it on the insides and outsides, and then left the wheels alone for a few days to let the Gibbs soak in.
    Russell then began going over the machined surfaces with fine Scotch-Brite.

    The dark patina would have been destroyed if the wheels had been bead-blasted, but the Gibbs Brand preserved it.

    The picture below, taken in August of 2008, shows the wheels back on the car.

    You can read more about the Russell DeSalvo coupe on this site's page about 1932 Fords.


    Halibrand magnesium Champ parts Here is another example of how Gibbs Brand protects magnesium. All of the parts in these pictures are NOS, for a Halibrand magnesium Champ quick-change center section.

    In the upper picture, notice the tiny white "freckles" of oxidization on the case, the side bell, and the rear cover that are shown on the left, which when this picture was taken were all still in bare magnesium that has never been coated with anything.
    Halibrand magnesium Champ parts The second picture was taken in early 2005, a month after I heavily coated the same magnesium center section and rear cover with Gibbs Brand. I stood the center section up on end, and sprayed it down like you would spray carb cleaner on something you were cleaning. As the Gibbs ran down the surfaces, it took the years of dust with it.

    Once the Gibbs had been given a couple of days to completely soak into the magnesium, all traces of oxidization had disappeared, leaving the magnesium clean and protected.

    Halibrand Champ In the third picture, taken in early 2006, a year after I put the Gibbs Brand on the center section and rear cover, the patina on the magnesium is no longer glossy.

    The patina that naturally develops as magnesium ages remains completely intact. The center section and the end cover are now so dark they're almost charcoal, with a slight dark green tint. The parts were restored without the need to use any abrasives on them, which would have removed the patina. And that's just another neat thing that Gibbs Brand makes possible.

    There isn't a hint that there was ever any oxidization anywhere on any of these parts. They look new.

    Now you can see why I say, "Magnesium that's coated with Gibbs Brand is happy magnesium."

    Keith Black valve covers I use Gibbs to protect many other car parts of mine that are bare metal, including the bead-blasted, cast-aluminum Keith Black valve covers and brushed aluminum breathers shown here, and the brushed aluminum Enderle timing cover shown below.

    The picture of the pair of Keith Black valve covers was taken in March of 2006, two hours after I gave them a heavy coat of Gibbs Brand. I had done this three years earlier, but the second treatment was given to wash away the dust and dirt that had settled on them. Before long, as they gradually become dry to the touch, they will lose their gloss and turn flat or satin.

    I bead-blasted these valve covers back in 2002, and put Gibbs Brand on them for the first time in 2003. Now look at the picture that was taken in 2006.

    1932 Ford rear crossmember In addition to using it on aluminum and magnesium, I also use Gibbs Brand to keep bare steel parts looking new.

    In 2005, I sandblasted this 1932 Ford rear crossmember and then gave it a heavy coat of Gibbs Brand. A year later, I took these pictures of it.

    As was mentioned earlier, you can take some bare metal that has been treated with Gibbs Brand and touch it with a dirty hand without leaving a stain.

    There are bare metal parts all over my shop. Now, when someone touches them, it doesn't matter.

    Halibrand fuel cap This aluminum Halibrand Engineering fuel cap was made decades ago, and has never been installed. It retains its original, bead-blasted finish.

    It has been protected with a coat of Gibbs Brand for three years.

    Enderle timing cover This old cast-aluminum Enderle timing cover has been sanded smooth and given a brushed finish using Scotch-Brite, and then given a light coat of Gibbs Brand.

    This picture was taken two years after the Gibbs went on. No fingerprints and no oxidization.

    Chevy engine block
    Chevy engine block
    Gibbs is also excellent at removing rust.

    I bought the Chevy 454 engine block that's shown here from a machine shop back in 1997. The block had been completely stripped-down and hot-tanked, so it was clean and free of any paint, grease, or oil.

    To fully season the block, I left it in the back of a truck that sat outside in Washington state for six years.

    When I brought the block to my shop in Phoenix in the summer of 2003, it was completely covered with orange rust. When I touched it, it left orange powder on my hands.

    I wiped the cobwebs off it and sprayed it with a heavy coat of Gibbs Brand. By the next day, the block had turned from orange to dark brown, and the rust had completely disappeared.

    The pictures on the right show that same block. I have done nothing to it other than letting it sit outside for six years, wiping the cobwebs off it, spraying it with Gibbs Brand, and putting it on the engine stand.

    The cast-iron block certainly has a patina, but there is no indication that the metal had ever been rusty.

    The label on a can of Gibbs Brand claims that it not only removes rust, but also actually reverses the effects of the oxidization process. When I read that, it didn't make sense. But it really does. I've seen it happen.

    1932 Ford coupe before Gibbs This picture shows the body for my 1932 Ford three-window coupe project the way it was when I found it in 2003.

    The car was a neglected project that had been this way for years, with much of the body left in unprotected, bare metal.

    Dave Mann's coupe Here's the same body after I covered the outside of the body with Gibbs Brand, gave it time to soak in, and then sanded it down with a D/A sander. It took roughly half of a can of Gibbs to get the entire outside of the body good and wet. I then let it soak in for a couple of days before starting to sand it down.

    In between taking both of these pictures, my coupe has absolutely no metalwork of any kind done. All I did was put on the Gibbs, sand down the body, and remove the body filler. On the outside of the body, there is now no indication that there was ever any oxidization on the car.
    Dave Mann's coupe

    Here's my coupe in May of 2007, after having been protected by Gibbs Brand for three years.

    Surfers dragster built by Pat Foster The late Pat Foster, at Foster Pro-Fab, used Gibbs Brand to protect all of the bare metal surfaces on one of the last dragsters he built, a recreation of The Surfers Top Fuel dragster.

    The car is shown here with Gibbs Brand on the many of the interior parts, the steering linkage, and the Halibrand magnesium wheels.

    In early 2005, shortly before the car was delivered, Pat bought his first case of Gibbs Brand. A few months later he told me that he was very happy with it, and got another case.

    1936 Ford built by Cole Foster
    1936 Ford built by Cole Foster

    1936 Ford built by Cole Foster
    Pat Foster's son, Cole Foster, runs a hot rod, race car, custom car, and motorcycle fabrication shop in Salinas, California, called Salinas Boys Customs.

    Cole used Gibbs Brand to protect the bare metal body on the 1936 Ford coupe that he built for Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett.

    The coupe features many subtle tricks. To give you an idea of the level of skill involved here, this chopped three-window coupe used to be a stock five-window. Look closely at the body. Can you see any seams?

    In March of 2005, this car was featured in issue 27 of The Rodder's Journal, with the entire body protected with Gibbs Brand.

    Since the summer of 2004, Cole has bought several cases of Gibbs.

    When I asked him about his experiences using Gibbs Brand on the '36, he said, "I really like it. It's everything you promised for sure."

    Gibbs Brand price list

    Two 12-ounce cans
    Four 12-ounce cans
    Six 12-ounce cans
    Case of twelve 12-ounce cans
    including shipping
    including shipping
    including shipping
    including shipping
    We will not be undersold. If you see genuine Gibbs Brand being advertised anywhere for less, mention where you saw it when you place your order and we will match their price.

    All of our Gibbs Brand orders are shipped by Fed-Ex Ground. Since Gibbs is pressurized, it cannot be shipped by air. Your order will be shipped within a few days of when it is received.

    To order your Gibbs Brand, please use our order form. Thanks!

    How to apply Gibbs Brand

    Gibbs Brand Because Gibbs Brand is a "mega penetrant" that is thinner than water, it works its way right into the pores of the metal. You can think of applying Gibbs Brand as being similar to using wood stain on hardwood — and not at all like paint.

    Before using Gibbs Brand, shake the can well, and make sure to only use it in a ventilated area.

    Penetrating Oil

    Put a couple of drops of Gibbs Brand as close as possible to the area where it's needed. Gibbs Brand begins to work right away.

    In extreme cases where fasteners or parts are completely frozen, use as above and then apply another couple of drops of Gibbs Brand a day later. Give it time to work. If at all possible, wait until the third day to carefully free up the parts.

    Rust Remover

    Gibbs Brand not only protects metal surfaces from oxidizing, but when it's applied to rusty surfaces, it actually reverses the effects of the oxidization process. That may not make sense, but if you visit my shop, I will show you some proof of this.

    Spray a light coat of Gibbs Brand over the rusted area. Where needed, use a paper towel to gently wipe it into a uniform coat. Let it work overnight. On badly rusted surfaces, spray on a heavier coat, and don't wipe it down. Let it work for a couple of days.

    Surface Conditioner

    Correctly applied on bare metal, a light coat of Gibbs Brand will minimize the possibility of oxidization. When we put Gibbs on metal, it's similar to putting stain on wood, because of the way that it penetrates into the pores of the metal. Over time, the more times Gibbs Brand is applied, the more effective it will be.

    Follow these directions exactly:

    If possible, start with a clean surface. Spray a small amount of Gibbs Brand in a few streaks across the area that you're working on, as if you were spraying window cleaner on a window. Then, use a clean paper towel to gently wipe the Gibbs over the entire surface that you want to protect. You can then use another clean paper towel to lightly wipe off any excess. Whenever you're using Gibbs, always wipe gently with a very light pressure, leaving it where it's needed.

    As soon as any clean, bare metal has been treated as explained above, you can touch it with a dirty, sweaty hand, without leaving a stain.

    When used to protect metal from oxidization, Gibbs Brand will gradually become less effective. For best results, apply more Gibbs when your treated metal is no longer slightly wet to the touch.

    To order your Gibbs Brand, please use our order form. Thanks!

    Painting over Gibbs Brand

    The label on a can of Gibbs Brand says that "you can paint right over it". However, common sense will tell you not to paint over an oily surface that isn't clean.

    To paint metal that has been treated with Gibbs Brand, simply begin by wiping it down with whatever surface cleaner is recommended by the manufacturer of the particular paint system that you are using, and proceed as you normally would.

    Due to the tremendous variety of ingredients that are used in paints, it is not possible to be absolutely certain that Gibbs Brand is compatible with every paint on the market. However, we are not aware of any compatability issues with any particular paint.

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