Handplanes #1: Rust Removal & Rust Prevention

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Blog entry by OSU55 posted 02-07-2014 12:54 PM 3411 reads 3 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Handplanes series Part 2: First Handplane »

A lot of folks use electrolysis for rust removal, which works great and if you are going to do a lot of rust removal, I recommend it. I don’t do a lot of it, and find Evapo-Rust works spectacularly to clean up even pitted parts. The product is reusable, so a gallon jug lasts quite a while. I have some different sized plastic containers depending on the size of parts, and completely submerge the parts. I cover the container to limit evaporation (Saran Wrap works great if you don’t have a lid). Every few hours I take a look. For light rust a few hours can do the trick.

The parts should be cleaned and degreased before being put in the Evapo-Rust. I use a power wire brush on pitted areas, and then wash the parts with dish soap. During rust removal I use a brass or stainless brush, or Scotchbrite pad, to rub the heavy black oxide build up areas, just leaving the parts in the container.

Some have commented they don’t like the gray color the Evapo-Rust leaves. Using a brass or stainless brush, Scotchbrite, or steel wool, while the parts are still in the Evapo-Rust, will remove most, if not all, of the grayish color. A little buffing with Scotchbrite, steel wool, or other abrasive after the parts are dry will brighten the cast iron up further.

When satisfied the rust is gone, I rinse the parts with water with some emulsion type grinding coolant added to prevent flash rust. I fill a container with water/coolant to dip rinse the parts. The first time I used Evapo-Rust, and rinsed with plain water, the parts flash rusted before I could spray something on them.

Rust Prevention
I used Remoil and various waxes for rust prevention with reasonable effectiveness. Wax is difficult to get into every nook and cranny. Remoil works pretty good, but I found an even better solution. Researching rust preventives turned up a product called Alox, a calcium based rust preventive originally developed back around WWII for naval ships. Lee Precision, maker of many ammo reloading products, has a product called Liquid Alox. It’s designed use is lubrication of cast lead bullets, but it is an excellent rust preventive. I reduce it about 20:1 with naptha, and use it in a spray bottle. I spray a little on a part and use fingers or paper towel to spread it around. It dries as a thin, hard film with a bit of a haze. It can be buffed with a cloth if desired. Previously something might get some water overspray on it and get rust spots. The Alox treated parts have had water spots from minerals left behind but no rust. I treat all my hand tools with it, including blades after sharpening. Works well on any cast iron or steel. Part of the Alox will settle out of the mixture when it sets for awhile, so it needs to be shaken before spraying.

3 comments so far

View smitdog's profile


469 posts in 3074 days

#1 posted 02-07-2014 02:29 PM

Thanks for the tips, I’m going to have to try the Alox. I have my tools in a barn that has open bays on one side so the humidity gets to them pretty fast. Seems like I spend a couple times a year just cleaning up the surface rust no matter how much I try to keep them waxed/oiled/greased you name it. Have you used it on a table saw top? I’m thinking you could treat it with the Alox first then a couple coats of paste wax on top for slickness?

-- Jarrett - Mount Vernon, Ohio

View OSU55's profile


2712 posts in 2958 days

#2 posted 02-07-2014 04:02 PM

No I haven’t. You might try letting the alox dry and then buff it and see if it is slick enough. The solvents in the wax will dissolve the Alox again, creating a mixture of both. I don’t think that would be a problem. You may need to use a little stronger mix than I use due to your situation. You might try 10:1. I’m interested in how it works for you.

View OSU55's profile


2712 posts in 2958 days

#3 posted 02-07-2014 04:06 PM

smitdog, for “non-slick” areas (not table or jointer tops but everywhere else) if the Alox doesn’t work due to your very humid situation, try a thin coat of shellac or lacquer.

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