I’ve been working at improving my overall skills and decided a while back that it was inevitable that I learn to use hand planes. Being a die-hard skin flint with a bad gold swing, and a worse poker face the economics of hand planes required that I buy old and make new. Reading, reading and then a little more reading readied me for the market place so out to Ebay and the local flea’s I went. Quality pickings were slim but I managed to find a few pieces that were in structurally sound shape although they were all in various states of disrepair. This is one example of Stanley No. 35 smoothing plane that was pretty rough, rusty and incomplete when I got it.
No cutter, cap-iron or cap-iron screw came with this 1906 vintage unit, but it did possess a solid body and transitional plate, the tote and knob although slightly chipped and pretty loose were both sound, the japanning was in decent shape and sole and mouth were also in great shape. All in all it was a rust covered diamond waiting to be renewed. I read somewhere on LJ about using food grade citric acid, the stuff home brewers use, to remove rust so I gave it a shot in a one cup to one gallon of water solution. It worked very well for the most part. After soaking overnight I was able to remove all of the rust with a brass brush and rinse away the carbon residue with water and a nylon brush. Now I won’t say that it is as easy as what I have seen posted about Evapo-Rust, but it is initially less expensive although you can’t store it and reuse it a month later like you can the commercial product, and it does require some wire brushing. All in all the citric acid did a nice job on several planes as well as an assortment of other rusted implements I decided to immerse.
If you have the need and availability to Evapo-Rust, I would likely recommend it over citric acid. But where Evapo-Rust is not readily available everywhere in gallon quantities (you can pick up quarts at most chain auto parts stores), I know of few towns that don’t have a “home brewers supply” and they will virtually all have citric acid as it is essential to their process. Give it a try; it’s safe and effective at removing the corroded metal and leaving everything else in tact, including your wallet.