Hand Tool Journey #8: Electrolysis on the Stanley No. 62

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Blake posted 11-20-2009 09:58 PM 8108 reads 3 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 7: Bench Almost Complete Part 8 of Hand Tool Journey series Part 9: Stanley No. 62 Restored, Bench Finished! »

I always wanted to try electrolysis rust removal and it is just as simple and effective as they claim.

Note: This is not a full tutorial on electrolysis. You must research the many other resources on the internet before attempting this your self. IT CAN BE DEADLY AND ILLEGAL IF DONE WRONG.

This is the old Stanley No. 62 low angle jack plane that needed to be de-rusted:


Here it is in pieces:


And here are a couple “before” photos of the body:

Electrolysis (1)

Electrolysis (3)

Here’s my electrolysis bucket set-up. Six pieces of rebar are secured to the top edge of the bucket with bailing wire and then connected with copper wire to form one continuous sacrificial electrode.

Electrolysis (4)

“Washing Soda” was the stuff they said to mix into the water as an electrolyte:

Electrolysis (6)

The plane parts are suspended from copper wire which gets connected together on top:

Electrolysis (5)

And wa-lah:

Electro 001

When its working right you should see millions of tiny hydrogen bubbles rising from the tool (its hard to tell in this photo)...

Electro 002

When it first comes out it looks pretty bad. It makes you wonder if you did something backwards because your tools will be covered in a thick rust sludge:

Electro 003

But after some scrubbing with steel wool it starts to look pretty good:

Electro 004

And here is the final result:

Electro 005

Electro 007

Electro 018

One side had some pitting but the rest looked ok:

Electro 014

The sole was in excellent condition:

Electro 017

I still need to sharpen the blade, lap the sole, and repair the knob and tote.

-- Happy woodworking!

21 comments so far

View pommy's profile


1697 posts in 3897 days

#1 posted 11-20-2009 10:07 PM

Hi Blake

Nice job can i ask is the body pitted in any way as i see there are still some rust spots there and on the sole as for the tote and knob are you looking for original used or brand new if that makes sence LOL…....

-- cut it saw it scrap it SKPE: ANDREW.CARTER69

View PurpLev's profile


8547 posts in 3854 days

#2 posted 11-20-2009 10:11 PM

nice job. looks like there still some rust leftover on the body – better clean that off using evap-o-rust or something else, otherwise it’ll spread around.

the tote does not need to be turned – you could use your bandsaw to cut it like I did here

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2833 posts in 3643 days

#3 posted 11-20-2009 10:43 PM

Like Purlev said, Evaporust. It removes all the rust. All of it. The best stuff I’ve ever seen. Your electrolysis system is pretty cool though.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View WayneC's profile


13794 posts in 4303 days

#4 posted 11-20-2009 11:10 PM

I would seal the japanned area using a clear schallac. This will prevent further rust. 3 in 1 oil on the adjustment screw. On the knobs they look repairable to me. Glue and refinish. Given the value of this plane, I would keep the original knobs. I would use a good paste wax on the rest of the metal parts.

Check the bottom to see if it is flat. It may not need to be lapped…...

Feel free to give me a call.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View pommy's profile


1697 posts in 3897 days

#5 posted 11-20-2009 11:32 PM try these guys Blake

-- cut it saw it scrap it SKPE: ANDREW.CARTER69

View Karson's profile


35149 posts in 4606 days

#6 posted 11-20-2009 11:33 PM

Blake great job on the clean-up.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia †

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 3934 days

#7 posted 11-20-2009 11:41 PM

I’ll give you my unsolicited thoughts. I too used this process in a very similar manner. The only difference is that I was told the copper wire should not touch the water. I don’t know why or if that is even really required, but I think that it has something to do with the possibility of creating a toxic byproduct. I really don’t know.

Anyway, I did notice one thing. It seemed that after a quick bath, it loosens up the rust significantly. A quick scrub with a brass brush takes a lot of rust off fast and then you just rinse it in water and put it back in a again. In theory, it shoudl get rid of ALL the rust. evaporust is good, but so is electrolysis and it should be able to get every last bit off. Great photos. You’ve got a real beauty there.

View PurpLev's profile


8547 posts in 3854 days

#8 posted 11-20-2009 11:50 PM

those are some real nice knobs/totes Andy… real nice stuff

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View northwoodsman's profile


245 posts in 3952 days

#9 posted 11-20-2009 11:57 PM

I tried this method for the first time this week also. My set-up looks almost identical to yours except I used on 3 rebar rods. One thing that is mentioned in several blogs, once the items are removed from the solution and rinsed off, they rust immediately (within seconds). Get oil on them right away.

-- NorthWoodsMan

View WayneC's profile


13794 posts in 4303 days

#10 posted 11-21-2009 12:02 AM

Back to the handles. I think they can be glued with PVA and refinished. I would start there. Some photos from my blog of gluing up a handle.

Another option is to check the handles on some of your other stanley planes. I would imagine parts planes come into the tool store quite often.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View OhValleyWoodandWool's profile


970 posts in 3326 days

#11 posted 11-21-2009 01:15 AM

huh – very interesting

-- "All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then Success is sure." Mark Twain

View dlmckirdy's profile


199 posts in 3339 days

#12 posted 11-21-2009 02:19 AM

I’ve used a similar electrolosis technique for years on antique car parts. I dug a shallow hole in an unused portion of my yard just deep enough to place the car frame, alxe housings, and misc. parts in with enough room to cover with about two inches of water, lined the hole with two layers of plastic sheeting, placed the parts, filled the hole with water, and added Crystal Vanish Toilet Bowl Cleaner. I only used one scrap iron negative electrode which did not touch any of the parts, and another scrap iron electrode which touched all the parts ( all the parts should touch each other). A 6 volt trickle charger supplied just enough current that stimulated the removal of the rust (in three days I had white metal on all the eighty some year old parts). Afterward I let the solution evaporate, roll up the plastic, and dispose of it in the trash.

This system also works with a few small parts in a small plastic container without the electrical charge, but it takes considerably longer. Like several of you have mentioned, if there is any appreciable moisture in the air, the newly unprotected parts will flash rust. I like the WD-40 (Water Displacer version 40) idea on unpainted parts. I blow dry the parts with compressed air and immediately spray them with metal primer. I live in a desert, and have only done this during summer (about 9 months of the year) so have had little flash rusting problem.

-- Doug, Bakersfield, CA - I measured twice, cut it twice, and it is still too short!

View ToddE's profile


143 posts in 4140 days

#13 posted 11-21-2009 03:05 AM

That’s cool!!!!!!! You might try 220 or higher sand paper on that as well for the sole. I just cleaned one up yesterday. Put a half sheet on a peice of melamine and go back and forth with the sides and the bottom. It will get rid of all the other digs you have on the plane and it digs out the pittings.

I wonder if your process would work on a 1993 Toyota Tercel? I mean it would probably fit in the bucket anyway.

-- Allegheny Woodshop

View Dragonsrite's profile


136 posts in 3602 days

#14 posted 11-21-2009 03:50 AM

Electrolysis has worked great for my old logging tools.

Todd, try this for your ‘93 Toyota

-- Dragonsrite, Minnesota

View WayneC's profile


13794 posts in 4303 days

#15 posted 11-21-2009 07:31 PM

Looking at the LN youtube site I notice they had a setup demo for low angle jack planes. Think you would find it of interest.

Part one – Setup

Part two – versatility

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

showing 1 through 15 of 21 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics