Excellent Wood Cleaner

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Review by Smitty_Cabinetshop posted 02-18-2014 03:01 AM 3061 views 0 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Excellent Wood Cleaner Excellent Wood Cleaner Excellent Wood Cleaner Click the pictures to enlarge them

Not a great tale of restoration as others in LJs post, but a review that confirms what others told me: “BAR KEEPERS FRIEND” is a very capable cleaner for wood tools. In this case, of Stanley No. 32 rule that had certainly seen better aesthetic days.

As shown above, the ruler was not very legible when I got it. Here’s the rule from a farther distance.

I posted a couple pictures of my flea market find on the Marking and Measuring thread and a discussion ensued re: ways to get the wood clean without removing the marked lines. I linked in that forum to a C. Schwarz article espousing oxalic acid as the way to bleach boxwood of his old rulers back to useable condition. Ian (Shampeon) and Jim (Boatman53) each spoke highly of this product; when Ian said it was mild oxalic acid and detergent and that it was available anywhere, I jumped.

Today I picked up a container at True Value on my way home from work. A tooth brush applied a thinnish paste of powder mixed with water. A little light scrubbing gave me a clear indication of what was happening.

After final cleaning and a rinse with water, I dried the rule and headed over to the shop to apply a ‘finish’ to my new rule.

Now it’s beautiful.

Review is five stars because I love what BAR KEEPERS FRIEND did for me and this SW No. 32.

Thanks for looking!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

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14389 posts in 2313 days

17 comments so far

View GrandpaLen's profile


1648 posts in 1967 days

#1 posted 02-18-2014 03:16 AM

Who would have ever thought… ?

I’ll be getting some of that for the shop supply cabinet, for sure.

Thanks for sharing. – Len.

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View lysdexic's profile


5211 posts in 2318 days

#2 posted 02-18-2014 03:52 AM

I referenced the same blog and used oxalic acid to clean a boxwood rule. I took pictures but can’t remember if I posted them. It worked great but removed more if the patina compared to your results.

Beautiful rule Smitty.

-- "It's only wood. Use it." - Smitty

View Woodwrecker's profile


4041 posts in 3270 days

#3 posted 02-18-2014 04:15 AM

That came out great !
I’ll have to keep Bar keeper’s Friend in mind.

-- Eric, central Florida / Utor praemia operibus duris

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


14389 posts in 2313 days

#4 posted 02-18-2014 04:19 AM

Thanks gents. Passing on the info so there are choices out there. It’s just as important to me that the stuff is commonly available, and this is. Good luck!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View Slyy's profile


2631 posts in 1350 days

#5 posted 02-18-2014 04:35 AM

Thx for the review and info Smitty, after having seen several of your restored rules, have been keeping eye out for some myself. Glad to know there’s something out there to clean ‘em up with without harming the graduations.

-- Jake -- "Not only do we live among the stars, the stars live within us." - Neil Degrasse Tyson

View Don W's profile

Don W

18369 posts in 2262 days

#6 posted 02-18-2014 12:32 PM

Nice review. Thanks for the information.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View terryR's profile


6766 posts in 2003 days

#7 posted 02-18-2014 01:45 PM

Looks great! Thanks for sharing!

Nice SW, BTW…

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View chrisstef's profile


16594 posts in 2701 days

#8 posted 02-18-2014 01:48 PM

Solid info Smitty. Go figure, I just bought a bottle of murphys and now you go and change the game on me. You ba$tard. Ill give it a go on some folding rules that are less than legible. Thanks for the tip bud.

-- Something, something, something.

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

6922 posts in 2023 days

#9 posted 02-18-2014 02:20 PM

The best part about BKF is that it get’s booked as a kitchen expense and not woodshop :^o

-- Pine is fine, but Oak's no joke!

View AnthonyReed's profile


9169 posts in 2135 days

#10 posted 02-18-2014 02:58 PM

Thank you Smitty.

-- ~Tony

View lysdexic's profile


5211 posts in 2318 days

#11 posted 02-18-2014 03:10 PM

Tony, I just want to make sure you understand that this product is not to be used on your private parts. It is not that type of wood cleaner.

I am just looking out for your safety.

-- "It's only wood. Use it." - Smitty

View AnthonyReed's profile


9169 posts in 2135 days

#12 posted 02-18-2014 03:21 PM

I appreciate your interest in the sustentation and well being of my junk, you are a true friend. Thank you for the guidance.

-- ~Tony

View cutworm's profile


1075 posts in 2488 days

#13 posted 02-18-2014 07:31 PM

I love the rule.
Bar Keepers is also non abrasive. Good stuff. Wonder how it would do on a table saw top? I bet it would be great for cleaning saw blades and router bits.

I know it takes gum off of frying pans. (I observed the wife and didn’t do it myself)

-- Steve - "Never Give Up"

View mantwi's profile


312 posts in 1591 days

#14 posted 02-19-2014 01:26 AM

Now that’s some news I can use.

View dustyal's profile


1283 posts in 3170 days

#15 posted 02-19-2014 03:30 AM

Yes, thanks for posting. I have the same ruler that needs cleaning… It was my father’s and he had it before I was born, and like I am over 65… I was wondering what to use that wouldn’t damage it or make the mark lines any less readable.

-- Al H. - small shop, small projects...

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