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Electrolysis for Rust Removal and Plane Rehab Series #3: Lakeside No 4

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Blog entry by Sandking posted 06-15-2009 04:24 PM 7369 reads 2 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Grandpa's Stanley 220 Part 3 of Electrolysis for Rust Removal and Plane Rehab Series series Part 4: Cleaning Brass »

Here is a $7 garage sale find from a few years ago. I didn’t know anything about planes (not as if that has changed) but I think that this is a house brand for Montgomery Ward’s. This plane was in bad shape, lots of rust and the bottom had paint and junk all over it. It think it came out pretty good. Next steps are lapping the bottom and sides with sandpaper.

The thing I don’t understand with the Electrolysis is the rust seemed gone, but it was covered in somewhat thick black soot. After letting it sit in the electrolysis for 5 hours I put it in a tray of Kaboom Tile cleaner (I read David did this to clean off the rest of the rust), rinsed and rubbed with a green abrasive pad, rinsed again and put back for 15 minutes into the Electrolysis bucket.

Here are some questions for those with experience with this process:

1) Is it normal to get the black soot material with this process?

2) I don’t know if you can see it, but there seem to be spots on all my projects so far that look gray/black. Is Electrolysis supposed to get it perfect or is this normal? Am I putting too many pieces in at once?

3) I’m using a 10/2 Amp battery charger from Sears, but the indicator only shows like 4amps. Is my charger powerful enough for this process?

Before:

After:

-- The only time success comes before work is in the dictionary....



15 comments so far

View spaids's profile

spaids

699 posts in 3155 days


#1 posted 06-15-2009 04:38 PM

Well I see you have questions but I was going to put questions to you. I have/do try this method also. I can tell you that the black soot like material is normal and will always happen. Its a byproduct of the chemical reaction thats taking place. I do not believe whether or not your power source is strong enough is not effected by the amount of metal you are cleaning. I’m pretty sure if you are seeing bubbles then its working and a stronger source would supply more current and just make the process faster. The danger of putting to many pieces in the bucket at once is that electrolysis works by line of site (sort of). The electrical current will take the path of least resistance which means (well just think of it as line of sight). So if you have pieces in the bucket that have their line of sight to the rebar blocked then they will not be cleaned as well. I use 6 rebar rods around the perimeter of my bucket. Unfortunately I am still in the trial and error phase of this process so I don’t have much advice for you.

What solution are you using for your water? I think I put in a table spoon on washing soda per gallon.

-- Wipe the blood stains from your blade before coming in.--

View Sandking's profile

Sandking

32 posts in 2742 days


#2 posted 06-15-2009 05:05 PM

Thanks for the input. I like your design and rod holders (I just drilled couple of holes and used zip ties). I didn’t bother to look for Washing Soda. When I was in Costco the other day I bought a big box of Oxi-Clean. I read somewhere else that it can be used instead. I put about 4oz in with 5 gallons of water.

During the process I can’t really see what’s going on because there is a layer of bubbles on top so I have to scoop them out to see what’s happening. I’m definetly getting a reaction and small bubbles are rising when it’s going. I think I’m going to add some more rebar in the future. I have a Stanley No 6 looking for some cleaning (I might need a bigger bucket though).

I might pick up two more pieces of rebar (thanks for the line of sight advice) and some aligator clips to hold the pieces. I wonder if my charger has an automatic cutoff. I noticed yesterday that it started a around 4-5 amps but when I got back from a bbq 5 hours later it looked like 2 amps (don’t worry I left it outside in the middle of the backyard patio)?

-- The only time success comes before work is in the dictionary....

View kerflesss's profile

kerflesss

182 posts in 2829 days


#3 posted 06-15-2009 05:29 PM

Hi Sandking! I have been using the information from the following link to do my rust removal. Like spaids mentioned using washing soda will help with your solution. Follow the link and it provides more info on your suggested chemistry and other factors. BTW OWWM has helped me along with my own restorations… Have fun!!
http://www.owwm.org/viewtopic.php?t=57016&sid=ac06679dc8e006b6b26f1ef28c6ed29a

View Sandking's profile

Sandking

32 posts in 2742 days


#4 posted 06-15-2009 05:43 PM

Just a question on the washing soda. Is it better than the Oxi-clean powder I’m using? I thought it was pretty much the same thing?

-- The only time success comes before work is in the dictionary....

View HokieMojo's profile

HokieMojo

2103 posts in 3190 days


#5 posted 06-15-2009 06:08 PM

Washing Soda is sodium carbonate. Not sure what chemical compound oxi clean is though.

One thing I’m wondering about on these setups is whether surrounding your bucket with sacrificial bars helps. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve tried this too, but I just wonder if it has the effect of “tugging the rust in opposite directions”. It did seem to work, but not all that much faster than just rotating the parts a few degrees avery now and then. My setup may have been a bit under powered though.

View spaids's profile

spaids

699 posts in 3155 days


#6 posted 06-15-2009 07:41 PM

one more thing on the multi bar set up.

You probably already understood this but just in case. You do not wire all of them together. You do wire them together around the bucket but they have to be wired in a broken circle. So the current goes from the first one to the last one and not back to the first one.

I think if you wire the rods all together (a completed circle) then only the one that gets wired to your source will be effective.

Hockie,

It does indeed have the effect of pulling the rust in opposite directions. It will want to pull the rust in an outward direction from the pieces that you have in the center. I’m surprised you tried this and didn’t experience a difference. I can’t come up with a reason for that outcome. Oh… wait… I see your saying it works but not faster. I agree with that. It just saves your from needing to babysit the process so much and having to turn your piece around.

-- Wipe the blood stains from your blade before coming in.--

View spaids's profile

spaids

699 posts in 3155 days


#7 posted 06-15-2009 08:52 PM

I like this site for instructions. Electrolytic Rust Removal

-- Wipe the blood stains from your blade before coming in.--

View HokieMojo's profile

HokieMojo

2103 posts in 3190 days


#8 posted 06-15-2009 09:11 PM

you are following me spaids. one thing to note is that my power source was just a laptop power inverter that I spliced so that I could get direct current from something other than a 6V battery (which I originally tried and it worked on small parts but VERY slowly and died kinda fast). I think the inverter might be a bit under powered compared to a car charger which probably has more voltage.

The biggest factor that I noticed seams to be how close you keep the parts to the sacrificial metal. I think that can possibly make things go faster than even having the multiple sacrificial pieces, but you need to be careful the pieces don’t touch the rebar.

Another tip is to give the rebar a scrub once in a while with a metal brush. Removing the rust helps the current to flow easier and keeps the process chuggin along.

View SCOTSMAN's profile

SCOTSMAN

5839 posts in 3047 days


#9 posted 06-15-2009 11:30 PM

As far as the old plane is concerned I tread an article about a woodworker who after doing the rust removal bit ( which I have done several times with great success ) he went on to finish the sole of the plane with an oil stone several dozen good long strokes and he was well on his way to a nice flat stone well cleaned and finished shiny like new try it it works great on all flat pieces which have what I call fluff rust.have fun Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View HokieMojo's profile

HokieMojo

2103 posts in 3190 days


#10 posted 06-16-2009 05:13 PM

good point. just don’t get too carried away or i think it can open the mouth up. might not matter on a jack or even a jointer, but might matter more on a smoother or block plane.

View cjsolo's profile

cjsolo

24 posts in 2361 days


#11 posted 06-19-2010 12:25 AM

Here are some questions for those with experience with this process:

1) Is it normal to get the black soot material with this process?

2) I don’t know if you can see it, but there seem to be spots on all my projects so far that look gray/black. Is Electrolysis supposed to get it perfect or is this normal? Am I putting too many pieces in at once?

3) I’m using a 10/2 Amp battery charger from Sears, but the indicator only shows like 4amps. Is my charger powerful enough for this process?

First question – rust is an electrochemical reaction. Elecrolysis is just reversing the process – you’re chemically reducing a lot of the red rust (ferric oxide) on the surface to black rust (essentially magnetite), and you’re reducing some of the black rust back into iron that maintains a bond with the original iron.

question 2 – Electrolysis does not get it back to perfect – the black stuff is the “black rust” that didn’t get reduced.

Or… I don’t have enough experience using copper, because it’s not such a hot idea to use copper (or zinc or brass or aluminum or bronz or tin) or other metals that don’t electrochemically oxidize. In the case of copper (that’s what you’re suspending them by, right?) – you might actually have plated it with the copper – just not the right solution of electrolyte or electrical current to look like shiney copper plating. The short answer – I don’t know.

question 3 – 4 amps as way too much, (back to #2) so some of that black could be part of the black rust that would have reduced back to iron, had it not been cooked off the surface. That No. 4 is in copy of Stanley/Bailey I assume? If so, then it’s, what, 9×2, or something? If so, that would need .348 amps. That’s roughly 11.5 times the amount of power you need for restorative electolysis.

-- Raisin' grain with blood, sweat, and tears

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

115202 posts in 3039 days


#12 posted 06-19-2010 01:02 AM

“Evapo rust” is a lot less work and does a great job. HF and other places sell it and you can re use it.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View dave41097's profile

dave41097

1 post in 884 days


#13 posted 07-04-2014 07:53 AM

I’ve used this method for several tools. I struggled with it until I got the right battery charger for the job. My charger was TOO smart & would only work if I had the whole setup connected to a battery. After reading this blog post (below), I switched to a “manual” charger & was finally on my way. Works great. http://davehallier.com/best-charger-for-rust-removal-by-electrolysis

View Don W's profile

Don W

17960 posts in 2029 days


#14 posted 07-04-2014 10:48 AM

Sandking, I have a similar battery charger. I hate it, but figured out if you put a dead battery in line it works better.

if you got bubbles its working, but once I put the battery in line I saw a substantial increase. I keep a dead lawn mower battery around just for that purpose.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.net

View Don W's profile

Don W

17960 posts in 2029 days


#15 posted 07-04-2014 10:54 AM

Look at the bottom comments for the battery hook up

http://lumberjocks.com/Bertha/blog/23687

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.net

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