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Removing rust from old hand tools

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Forum topic by dinu posted 07-09-2017 04:19 PM 1055 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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dinu

4 posts in 177 days


07-09-2017 04:19 PM

I have acquired few old hand planes and saws over last three/four years. All of them require restoration. I am not sure what is the best rust remover to use to remove rust. I had restored one stanley 4 1/2 few years back and used synthetic vinegar. It did work though I don’t know if the vinegar reacted with the metal in way. I am very new to this and would appreciate very much if someone can guide me to the right materials & procedures.

I am looking for something that would leave the bare metal surface and would be safe to use on steel, cast iron and brass.

Also, I should mention that I live in India and many of the products discussed in various forum threads are either not available here or is too expensive. E.g. Apple Cider Vinegar available but expensive, synthetic vinegar available & cheap, evaporust available but very expensive (5000 rs/80$ for a gallon), hammerite not available, Krud Cutter must for rust available at a better cost (35$ for a gallon). Most of the chemicals should be available.

I would appreciate any guidance/advice very much.


14 replies so far

View chrisstef's profile

chrisstef

17029 posts in 2844 days


#1 posted 07-09-2017 04:21 PM

Citric acid?

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View Johnny7's profile

Johnny7

327 posts in 928 days


#2 posted 07-09-2017 04:28 PM



Citric acid?

- chrisstef

Exactly!

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MrUnix

6006 posts in 2037 days


#3 posted 07-09-2017 04:41 PM

Battery charger and some washing soda?

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

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AlaskaGuy

3656 posts in 2147 days


#4 posted 07-09-2017 04:42 PM

It seem like those video on electrolysis works pretty good. Never tried myself though.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

18630 posts in 2521 days


#5 posted 07-09-2017 05:44 PM

Brass wire wheels in the grinder, the drill press, and the Dremel…..and a bit of elbow grease…..seems to work for me….

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

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Holbs

1723 posts in 1867 days


#6 posted 07-09-2017 05:45 PM

Yep, look into electrolysis. I use a car battery charger but you can use a cell phone charger or any small dc charger you plug into the wall (but have to watch what the AMP output is).

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter

View dinu's profile

dinu

4 posts in 177 days


#7 posted 07-09-2017 09:30 PM

Thanks everyone for the advice.

Chris, what should be the dilution of citric acid? Is it safe to use on brass as well (I have few brass backed saws)? Does it leave any residue on the metal or does it give the bare metal surface? Is there any possibility of damaging the metal?

Brad, I read up a bit about electrolysis and while the method appears gentle on the metal there are some concerns/doubts. Can I use it on brass ? asking because brass is a copper alloy. I use a very small single car garage with no ventilation (once I close the front shutter) as my shop. The hydrogen formation seems a bit worrying if the process takes more than couple of hours & I have to leave the process unattended in my small shop.

Bandit, I don’t mind elbow grease but it would be elbow grease all the way for me :). I am a hobbyist with a very minimal set of tools and don’t own any of the tools you mentioned. I don’t mind the elbow grease but it would be nice if some of the work can be done a bit easier.

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chrisstef

17029 posts in 2844 days


#8 posted 07-09-2017 09:38 PM

Citric will etch if you leave something in it for too long (say 12+ hours). I mix about 4 tablespoons in a gallon. Honestly i eyeball it. I like to soak then scrub a couple times over. Not sure about the brass. Some guys dont like it on saws, i personally dont mind it but i deal with red rust a lot where i live. Tough stuff.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

13751 posts in 3935 days


#9 posted 07-09-2017 09:55 PM

Related to Saw plates, I would check in the saw thread. You would want to be careful of the etch on the blade.

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

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WayneC

13751 posts in 3935 days


#10 posted 07-09-2017 09:56 PM

And related to brass, I would remove the brass and clean separately.

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

View Fresch's profile

Fresch

93 posts in 1758 days


#11 posted 07-09-2017 11:07 PM

Google shopsmith rust potato, say it works, would be cheap.

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bandit571

18630 posts in 2521 days


#12 posted 07-09-2017 11:19 PM

Have a drill? Chuck the wire wheels into the drill…be sure to reverse it now and then…..

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View MrUnix's profile (online now)

MrUnix

6006 posts in 2037 days


#13 posted 07-09-2017 11:48 PM

Brad, I read up a bit about electrolysis and while the method appears gentle on the metal there are some concerns/doubts. Can I use it on brass ? asking because brass is a copper alloy. I use a very small single car garage with no ventilation (once I close the front shutter) as my shop. The hydrogen formation seems a bit worrying if the process takes more than couple of hours & I have to leave the process unattended in my small shop.
- dinu

Brass cleans up nicely using electrolysis. And the hydrogen produced is a non-issue… there is so little produced, and it is almost instantly harmlessly dissipated into the atmosphere as soon as the tiny bubble bursts. In fact, it’s pretty fun to pop them with one of those long nose grill lighters :) Just as long as you don’t cover the container, there is absolutely no worry (and even then, it’s minimal). If you do want to produce hydrogen to use, google HHO (Browns Gas) generators. They make fantastic torches and sources for alternative heating, and can be powered by solar cells. The torches are awesome and don’t get hot, but can melt lava rock, glass, stainless steel and even tungsten (melting point of over 6000°F)!

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

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dinu

4 posts in 177 days


#14 posted 07-10-2017 08:27 PM

I would probably end up trying all the methods to see what I like best. I would likely try with citric acid and abrasives (wire wheels/sandpaper) first as those would need least investment and move on to electrolysis later. Thanks a lot for the help.

Wayne, the saw thread is a great place, I would probably spend days going thru it.

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