Planes restored - Because I can. #8: Electrolysis

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Blog entry by Don W posted 07-05-2011 03:32 AM 5913 reads 7 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 7: Sharpening. Its all in your head. Part 8 of Planes restored - Because I can. series Part 9: Plane Restoration, roll it together with a Millers Falls #10 »

First and formost I want to thank Al for his Electrolysis: on the cheap for vintage tool people and all the other LJ members who responded. This is a shortened version of the forum thread.

Go get a rubber tote, a battery charger, some Arm and Hammer Washing Soda and a long piece of metal (like a length of rebar, or steel rod or bar)

Add water and about a table spoon of Washing soda (baking soda doesn’t work nearly as well) to each gallon of water. I like to error on the “more”side, this stuff is $2.77 a box. Cost doesn’t seem to be much of an issue.

Stick the rod in the water so it doesn’t touch the metal your derusting. Connect your positive side of the battery charger to this rod, bar, or whatever you chose.

Clamp the negative side to the metal piece. You may need to clean a spot up enough to get contact. Let it “cook”for a few hours. Over night if its really bad. Cooking to long doesn’t hurt. If there is no rust to act on, its just idling.
This went in late morning

This came out early evening:

A couple of squirts of WD40, polish the brass and wire brush the outside for this:

It can’t get any simpler. If it sounds at all complicated, re-read. If you think its complicated stop thinking. It so easy its scary.

Edit 4-2-2012
I thought I’d post an update. I struggled with this a little. It always took to long so I never really bothered with it. Somewhere threw another conversation I mentioned I had a new battery charger and it didn’t seem to work right for electrolysis. Another LJ suggested putting a battery inline between the charger and the vat. What a difference. I had a dead garden tractor battery so I stuck it inline. In just seconds an old rusty block plane created this reaction.

Those are bubbles you see.

In the morning it looked like this

I’ll be using this method much more now.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

7 comments so far

View WayneC's profile


12642 posts in 3602 days

#1 posted 07-05-2011 03:38 AM

Thanks for sharing. Have a recommendation for the battery charger?

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

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Don W

18049 posts in 2072 days

#2 posted 07-05-2011 03:42 AM

My 30 year old battery charger dies this spring. I plugged it in to charge the motorcycle battery and the smoke poured out of it. I wanted one -now, and on a sunday, so it was the only one Walmart had in stock. Not a recommendation, but the point that I think almost anything will do.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View Rev_John's profile


93 posts in 3393 days

#3 posted 07-06-2011 04:46 AM

What setting on the battery charger?

-- John from Jackson, Michigan

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Don W

18049 posts in 2072 days

#4 posted 07-06-2011 01:11 PM

I have read anything over 3 amps will work. I just set it to charge a normal charge.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

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Don W

18049 posts in 2072 days

#5 posted 04-05-2012 09:43 PM

updated for use with a newer battery charger.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View BustedClock's profile


112 posts in 2027 days

#6 posted 01-10-2014 12:23 AM

Battery in line on the positive or negative side?

-- Hey, I'm usually right twice a day! Except where they use 24 hour clocks.

View Don W's profile

Don W

18049 posts in 2072 days

#7 posted 01-10-2014 12:34 AM

I put it in line on both sides.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

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