Removing rust from a saw without killing the etch

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Forum topic by Marn64 posted 06-08-2016 07:55 PM 793 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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170 posts in 207 days

06-08-2016 07:55 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

So today, I went down to the Restore and got 2 saws, both Disstons. I wasn’t aware of it at the time but they both have beautiful etches on them. turns out one of them is 1877 and the other is a 1950s D-7 with beautiful cursive on the blade. Both of their etches are looking pretty fragile and I don’t want to risk loosing them. Is there a good rust remover that I can use that will really get rid of the rust and do little to no damage to the etches? I thought of using citric acid but the tray I have for using it was bought to fit large Stanley planes in it, not big saws, so neither of them fit.

-- Benjamin, Milwaukee

5 replies so far

View chrisstef's profile


15472 posts in 2428 days

#1 posted 06-08-2016 08:03 PM

Some light sanding with 220 and working up to 320 is the best IMO. Ive had mixed results with evaporust and citric acid. If its got heavy red rust I usually scrape that off with a razor blade taking care not to gouge up the plate.

Id love to see a pic of the saws, especially the older one.

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View isotope's profile


144 posts in 1046 days

#2 posted 06-08-2016 08:13 PM

I’ve used evaporust in the past with good results.

A quick tip; you can easily make yourself a custom container. Just slap together a quick box of appropriate size, using scraps. Then line the inside of it with plastic sheeting. This will work for water based reagents, such as a citric acid solution or evaporust. I would not recommend for solvents like lacquer thinner.

View MrUnix's profile


4032 posts in 1621 days

#3 posted 06-08-2016 08:32 PM

Evaporust is by far the safest… followed closely by electrolysis, then perhaps molasses. Any acid has the possibility of eating good metal. If you can’t make or find something to dunk it in, you can use tape to form a dam around the perimeter of what you are trying to de-rust and just pour in enough to cover the surface completely.

For the dunk tank, if you can’t find a suitable form (like the lid from one of those big plastic storage bins), making a temporary form as suggested above works great. Just form out the size you need with some 2x material and lay down a layer or three of plastic sheeting. Works perfect for electrolysis as well.


-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

View JayT's profile


4681 posts in 1633 days

#4 posted 06-08-2016 09:03 PM

As long as the metal is not worn down to where the etch is rubbed off, it’s pretty easy to bring back the contrast by darkening the etch with cold gun blue. I did a blog post a while back about the process. Some of the guys have used a bluing paste that seems to work well and is even easier to use than the liquid.

-- "Good judgement is the result of experience. A lot of experience is the result of poor judgement."

View Marn64's profile


170 posts in 207 days

#5 posted 06-09-2016 12:04 AM

So on the 1877, there is a crack on the handle, I generally epoxy tool handle cracks but I don’t have any on hand, will wood glue work or should I wait to buy more epoxy?

-- Benjamin, Milwaukee

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