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Handplane Restoration #19: Cleaning Parts with Citric Acid

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Blog entry by WayneC posted 2598 days ago 17313 reads 12 times favorited 28 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 18: Stanley #78 Duplex filletster and rabbet plane Part 19 of Handplane Restoration series Part 20: Sliding down the slippery slope - Part 1 »

Based on an article by James Thompson I found on OldToolsShop.com. I though I woud try using Citric Acid for rust removal. The article can be found at the following link.

http://www.oldtoolsshop.com/z_pdf/restore/RemovingRust-CitricAcid-ne.pdf

Citric acid is used in food processing and seems to do a good job removing rust. I checked the local yellow pages and found a local beer home brewing store. I called them and confirmed that I could purchase citric acid for $5 per pound. I made a quick run over and purchased 2 pounds. I also located a plastic container, a brass brush and some scotch bright.

Two Pound Bag of Citric Acid

I had purchased a #5 parts plane for it’s handles at the flea market a couple of weeks ago for $3 and had retained the handles and the frog. The body was badly pitted and had already gone in the trash. From a hindsight perspective, I would have like to have held on to it to use to try it this rust removal technique.

Here is a photographs of the parts before taking the bath.

Parts before

I mixed up the solution using a mix of 1 cup of citric acid to one gallon of water. I placed the parts in and then came back and scrubbed them every 30 minutes or so. The total time in the solution was about 2 hours.

Parts in the solution

Here is what they looked like once they came out…

Parts After

After removing, them I dried them with paper towels, compressed air, and coated them in a light coat of 3 in 1 Oil. I belive it removed the bluing from the metal piece that controls the position of the frog and because of this, I would not use this method for this part or for chip breakers if you care about maintaining the original finish.

Also, another technique I tried from Michael Dunbar’s book Restoring, Tuning, and Using classic woodworking tools was to soak weather worn knobs in Boiled Linseed Oil. This worked very well. Basically you stand the parts in a coffee can with an inch or so of BLO in the bottom and you let it wick up into the parts. 45 minutes on each end.

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



28 comments so far

View PanamaJack's profile

PanamaJack

4469 posts in 2702 days


#1 posted 2598 days ago

Wayne, Thanks for this article. I just picked up 5 planes at a flea market this past weekend. Three of which need a little attention as this one you got. This will help immensely. Looks like it works really well.

-- Carpe Lignum; Tornare Lignum (Seize the wood, to Turn the wood)

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12260 posts in 2722 days


#2 posted 2598 days ago

Your welcome PanamaJack. What kind of planes did you get?

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

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1804 posts in 2711 days


#3 posted 2598 days ago

Wow….very nice…whodah thunk it?

-- Bob, Carver Massachusetts, Sawdust Maker http://www.capecodbaychallenge.org

View PanamaJack's profile

PanamaJack

4469 posts in 2702 days


#4 posted 2598 days ago

Well…Good question Wayne. I don’t know anything about Planes, but here goes:

This guy claimed one to be a ”Sears Craftsman”, however it has Dunlapreverse embossed” on it. It also says Made in U.S.A. 107.1. This one is in really good shape. Hardly any rust. 9 inches long +/- x 2-13/32 wide.

Another one has Lakeside stamped on it. This one has a “grooved” bottom plate on it. It’s 12-1/2 inches long x 2-3/8” wide. Very light rusting mostly on the bottom in the grooves and under the blade.

One has no markings at all. It’s about 9-1/4” length x 2-3/16” wide. Metal looks a little darker, but very little rust. Knocked most off with 0000 steel wool today. A little rusting under the blade

The other two are 6-1/2” small palm(?) planes, no markings at all. Really good shape, with little noticeable rusting.

All blades need to be sharpened badly, however appear not to have been used much at all. All I have used so far is the 0000 steel wool and a little penetrating oil to minimize further rusting until I can fix them the right way. $32 for all. All stamped Made in U.S.A. on them

-- Carpe Lignum; Tornare Lignum (Seize the wood, to Turn the wood)

View Dorje's profile

Dorje

1763 posts in 2621 days


#5 posted 2598 days ago

The citric acid bath was interesting to see. Seems like it did the trick, but knocks off finish that you’d like to retain. What is the “bluing” that you referred to?

Also, with regard to the linseed oil wicking technique: I have read in a book on Swedish carving of wooden ware and what have you the suggestion that you immerse the entire piece in oil and leave it for a day or so. I did that with a handle I made for a knife, and really liked the results, so I can relate with the wicking! Just imagine if you first heated the oil up to 120 degrees! That would be really good!

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View Tony's profile

Tony

978 posts in 2655 days


#6 posted 2598 days ago

THanks Wayne – becomming a chemist as well as woodworker – If I could find some tools, then I will keep this in mind – have you tried this on saw blades and router bits to remove the resin – or is this mix too strong?

-- Tony - All things are possible, just some things are more difficult than others! - SKYPE: Heron2005 (http://www.poydatjatuolit.fi)

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12260 posts in 2722 days


#7 posted 2598 days ago

I’ve only tried this on handplane parts so far. I’m still in an exporing stage. Also, I imagine you could very the strength of the mix.

On Stanley planes, there is a finish on the back of chip breakers and on the metal piece that is used to adjust the frog. The parts coated in a finish in the factory. If your restoring a plane with collector’s value you want to retain this. Normally, I would scrub gently with scotch bright and then coat with schallac. The process I’m using is based on the video by Earnie Conover – Reclaming Flea Market Planes. Check out my video reference page – http://lumberjocks.com/jocks/WayneC/blog/680

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

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12260 posts in 2722 days


#8 posted 2598 days ago

Sounds like you got quite a haul PanamaJack. The small planes sound like block planes. Can you post a few photos? I am curous about the one with no markings.

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

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 2924 days


#9 posted 2598 days ago

It looks like a good way of removing rust. I have these old 5 & 6 foot long cross cut saws. Would I have to immerse them, or just brush on?

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN. http://www.woodcarvingillustrated.com/gallery/member.php?uid=3627&protype=1

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12260 posts in 2722 days


#10 posted 2598 days ago

The only instructions I have seen for this show immersion. You could try brushing it on. On your saws, what is your goal? Preserve or put back into use?

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

View PanamaJack's profile

PanamaJack

4469 posts in 2702 days


#11 posted 2598 days ago

Here’s the two small block planes:
Block Plane

2nd Block Plane

“Sears/Dunlap” plane:

Dunlap Plane

“Lakeside” Plane:

Lakeside Plane

9-1/4”x2-3/16” Plane:

9-1/4

-- Carpe Lignum; Tornare Lignum (Seize the wood, to Turn the wood)

View PanamaJack's profile

PanamaJack

4469 posts in 2702 days


#12 posted 2598 days ago

Hopefully they weren’t too small a picture for you Wayne. I could email larger pics.

-- Carpe Lignum; Tornare Lignum (Seize the wood, to Turn the wood)

View coloradoclimber's profile

coloradoclimber

548 posts in 2692 days


#13 posted 2598 days ago

Dorje,

Here are wiki articles to bluing and japaning. Hand planes are likely have a mix of japaning and bluing depending on the specific part. Both processes are designed to cover and protect the underlying metal from rust. Bluing is a surface oxidation process wherein chemicals are used to oxidize the surface of the metal creating a protective layer. Japaning is a lacquer like coating which mechanically bonds to the surface of the metal protecting against oxidation and wear.

Bluing will leave an almost imperceptibly thin surface layer and will get into all cracks and threads. Japaning will leave a more durable coating but is a significant surface layer.

Neither surface stands up extremely well to surface abrasion.

Wiki Bluing)

hmm, the embedded link has a closing ) that doesnt stay with the link, so here’s the link in plain text

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bluing_(steel)

Wiki Japaning

View coloradoclimber's profile

coloradoclimber

548 posts in 2692 days


#14 posted 2598 days ago

It makes sense that the citric acid bath would remove bluing. The goal of the bath is to remove the iron oxide (red rust) and since bluing is a surface oxidation process it seems reasonable that bluing would be removed along with the heavier rust.

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 2924 days


#15 posted 2598 days ago

For display,maybe the rust adds to the look, but I thought it would be fun to experiment a little. If someone wanted the saw to be usable also.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN. http://www.woodcarvingillustrated.com/gallery/member.php?uid=3627&protype=1

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