|Review by Brit||posted 03-24-2011 08:46 PM||10406 views||4 times favorited||18 comments|
Recently I posted a restoration story of an old Skinner 6” sweep brace (you can read it here if you missed it) where I used Hammerite Rust Remover Gel. Since people showed a lot of interest in this product, I thought I would do a proper review as I use it to clean the saw plate on a wonderful vintage Spear & Jackson hand saw. You can read all about this gorgeous piece of English heritage here.
The gel is available in three sizes: 75ml, 100ml, 225ml and 750ml. I bought the largest size from a local auto supplies shop for £10.29 (date purchased: 3/3/2011). One tub will probably last you a long time. Hammerite Rust Remover Gel is available in a number of countries and you can find retailers in your country by visiting their web site.
Hammerite make the following claims about this product.
Specially developed for the safe and effective removal of rust from metal items. Non-drip, can be applied to vertical surfaces.
• Removes rust in 2-3 hours
• Non-harmful and safe to the skin
• Brush directly onto rusty metal
• Will not damage paintwork
After use, clean tools under running water. Hammerite also make a dip, although I haven’t tried that yet. Anyhow, here’s how the gell performed on the saw plate.
I started by gathering together the things that I thought I might need to clean the plate. Some 0000 steel wool, a fine Scotchbrite pad, Hammerite Rust Remover gel, masking tape, a small soft wire brush, absorbent kitchen roll, 3-IN-ONE oil, a 50mm paint brush and a small nylon bristled brush. I might not need all of these, but I got them just in case.
Since the handle is affixed with four brass split nuts which have never been removed, I decided to clean the saw plate with the handle still attached. I would have preferred to remove the handle so that the whole plate could be cleaned and I could test the gel on a small area of the plate that would be hidden by the handle. However that wasn’t an option here, so after masking up the handle I decided to a test a small area at the heel of the plate. As you can see in the following photo, the results looked promising and this gave me the confidence to proceed.
Working on one side of the plate at a time, I applied the gel liberally using the 50mm paint brush.
The instructions say you should apply a 1.5mm coating to the surface of the metal which made me chuckle. I’m not sure how you evenly apply 1.5mm of gel, but I wasn’t about to get my depth gauge out. Instead I just slapped it on and spread it about. As you can see the gel is bright green in colour. Although completely safe to hands, if you do get some on your skin and don’t remove it immediately, it does stain the skin green slightly. However, I found that it washed off with soap and water. (TIP: If you use the gel in your workshop and you have a nice bench, cover it with a plastic sheet first to protect it). There are no unpleasant odours and you don’t have to wear breathing apparatus either. I am only doing it outside, because it was a nice sunny day :-)
After applying the gel, leave it to work for 20 minutes. Other than the odd tiny air bubble, there’s no evidence that the gel is actually doing anything, but have faith because it is. When you return after 20 minutes you will see that the gel has turned from bright green to a rusty brown colour.
Now I carefully brush the surface with a worn, SOFT wire brush. I dip the wire brush in a bowl of water and then move the brush slowly back and forth along the length of the plate applying very light pressure. If there is a portion of heavy rust which does not want to come off, RESIST the temptation to scrub harder. The gel removes the rust in layers and any stubborn deposits will be removed with the next application of the gel.
Warning: I know what the effect of using this wire brush will be. I have used it a number of times before and this gives me the confidence to use it on this saw plate. If you do not want to risk scratching the surface of your tools, use a stiff nylon or brass brush instead, or a fine Scotchbrite pad. Also, DO NOT use a wire brush on a saw plate that has an etch (This one is stamped). Use a sanding block and wet and dry paper instead.
When the entire surface has been brushed, I wipe the surface with an absorbent paper towel, moistened with water. This is the fun part where you get your first glimpse of the gel’s effect. Smaller items can be rinsed off under running water.
Continue wiping the plate until all the gel has been removed, then immediately dry it thoroughly with paper towels.
TIP: For items that you cannot dry adequately with a paper towel, use a hairdryer to drive out and any remaining moisture.
If your item has only light surface rust, one application of the gel should remove it so at this point you would be finished. For heavier rust it will be necessary to apply the gel 2 or 3 times until no rust remains. Most of the rust has been removed from this saw plate after just one application of the gel, but just to be sure I decided to apply the gel one more time using the same procedure as before.
After waiting a further 20 minutes, brushing the surface with the wire brush and cleaning the surface for a second time, this is how the saw plate looks.
The dark patches that remain are the areas where there is pitting. Although they are darker, no rust remains. If you are wondering why the surface is dull, that has nothing to do with the Hammerite Rust Remover gel. It is because the plate is made from gray cast steel. It would have been shinier when it was new, but then I had less wrinkles when I was young :-). That’s about as good as I can hope to get this particular saw plate.
So after two applications, the gel has done what it said it would do. How long did it all take me?
Applying the gel X 2 applications – 20 seconds
Using the wire brush on the surface X 2 times – 1 minute
Wiping the gel off and drying the plate X 2 – 6 minutes
Total elapsed time including waiting for the gel to work = 47 minutes 20 seconds.
Total man hours invested = 7 minutes 20 seconds
Of course I’ve still got to do the other side, but I won’t bore you with that.
I think you’ll agree that it is pretty impressive. I’ve used this product to restore three tools now. This saw plate is made of gray cast steel and the other two tools were nickel plated and chrome plated. The gel produced great results on all three tools and I’m happy to give it the thumbs up. When my tub of gel runs dry, I’ll definitely be getting a refill. Thanks for reading this review. I’ll leave you with the obligatory before and after shots of the saw plate.
-- Andy -- Old Chinese proverb say: If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it.