Citric Acid vs. Electrolysis

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Forum topic by robdbeal posted 12-09-2013 10:28 PM 2777 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View robdbeal's profile


9 posts in 1870 days

12-09-2013 10:28 PM

Topic tags/keywords: stanley bailey handplane citric acid electrolysis rust

Hi everybody, I’m just trying to get started with some woodworking and I’ve found some old Stanley Bailey planes at antique stores with the usual antique “patina” included. I would like to use them and they need to be cleaned of rust. I’ve seen where some use citric acid and some use electrolysis. Are there pros and cons for either one or is there one I should definitely stay away from? Thanks for any info you can give me.

4 replies so far

View Don W's profile

Don W

18711 posts in 2564 days

#1 posted 12-09-2013 10:34 PM

Electrolysis takes the right equipment, like a battery charger it some other electrical source. With citric you just add water.

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

View ChuckC's profile


828 posts in 2932 days

#2 posted 12-09-2013 11:28 PM

I’ve done electrolysis but prefer EvapoRust. It’s not toxic and you just soak the part for a day or so and it works very well.

View TerryDowning's profile


1077 posts in 2114 days

#3 posted 12-09-2013 11:35 PM

Vinegar is also a viable low strength acid for rust removal. Just remember if you use citric acid or vinegar wax or oil the de-rusted item soon after as the citric acid or vinegar do contain water and flash rust can form.

Other items that make rust removal easier brass cleaning brush (like a tooth brush) removes the rust without scratching the iron. WD-40 and a variety of wet/dry sand paper grits.

Enjoy and show pics as you progress.

-- - Terry

View Jesse.R's profile


55 posts in 2922 days

#4 posted 12-09-2013 11:59 PM

vinegar works well. soak it overnight scrub the rust off the next day and rub it down with baking soda to neutralize the acid left over then seal it and your good to go.

-- jesse

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