Restoration #2: Antique electrolysis report 2 (with photos)

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Blog entry by kennethw posted 09-13-2009 06:43 AM 1542 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Antique electrolysis report Part 2 of Restoration series no next part

Hey folks! I finally have some photos to share. I will document the process in a coherent way once this stuff is taken care of. I’m currently de-rusting bits of the old jack plane.

Here are a few examples of the process and results:

A rusty chisel, after a very quick dip in the electrolyte (I had neglected to get a photo first):

A rusty chisel

I’m feeding a small electronics power supply (5V) into these components to clean up the juice a bit, and then pass it through a variable resistor so I can control current. It’s not necessary but it is useful. This photo was from before I switched the power supply out (down from a 9V) as the voltage regulator was not rated for that voltage and was getting hot, hence the impromptu heat sink:

Unnecessary components

Here’s the rusty chisel in the bath:
Rusty chisel cooking

Here’s a different chisel (which looked about the same as the one pictured above) showing how much detail remains after the rust removal. The next step is to clean it up a bit more. You can clearly see a diamond emblem stamped into the top:

Chisel detail

This process is fantastic. I’ve got the lever cap for the plane cooking now, and it’s working out very well. I can’t wait to get it all cleaned up. :) Thanks for reading!

7 comments so far

View Innovator's profile


3589 posts in 4014 days

#1 posted 09-13-2009 03:37 PM

The chisel came out great.

I have some tools that look like this also. Could you rxplain more the setup with the foil on it?


-- Whether You Think You Can or You Think You Can't, YOU ARE RIGHT!!!

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 4329 days

#2 posted 09-13-2009 03:48 PM

that is awesome work. evaporust is nice, but it seems to leave a funny color on the metal. thanks for posting (with pics!).

View Air Tool Review's profile

Air Tool Review

9 posts in 3780 days

#3 posted 09-13-2009 07:33 PM

I love the idea of using tinfoil to dissipate the heat from the transistor. Very clever.

-- - More Than You Ever Wanted To Know About Air Tools

View a1Jim's profile


117901 posts in 4178 days

#4 posted 09-13-2009 07:37 PM

View kennethw's profile


50 posts in 3908 days

#5 posted 09-13-2009 09:12 PM

Thanks guys! Wait until you see the plane parts. :)

Rob, I made that little circuit mostly so I could get the current down. Most people recommend high amperage in order to get the job done very quickly, but that is a more powerful reaction, which removes detail in the process and somehow makes the electrolyte yucky faster.

I started with a 9V power supply, which was overheating that particular voltage regulator. I had to add the foil to try and cool it off. Since I had so much stuff to work on, and I didn’t want that thing running so hot on my porch unattended, I backed it down to a 5V regulator rather than running off to Radio Shack. The voltage regulator is just to keep the voltage consistent. It’s just a habit really, and it’s probably overkill due to the electronics-grade power supply that I’m using, which probably has internal regulation.

That’s fed into a variable resistor (with the yellow dial in the middle) so I can tweak the current flow, which was more necessary with the 9V regulator. I can hook up a multimeter in the circuit to test amperage. All of the tape is just to keep things seated in the breadboard, since it’s on the porch and there are kids, squirrels, etc. around.

In the end it’s only about 5V and about .25 amps, depending upon the part and the part’s proximity to the plates.

Here’s a great link about all of this, with an over-the-top rig, but it explains the whole thing very well:

I’m thinking about building a self-contained unit for this eventually, but I don’t know if I’ll have an opportunity to cook tools again for a long time. :)

View kennethw's profile


50 posts in 3908 days

#6 posted 09-14-2009 11:52 PM

Here’s a little update. The lever cap for the plane was in the bath for about 2 days. The frog is just dusted off. The lever cap will still get a mild scrubbing. Any orange in the lever cap is from lighting.

View Innovator's profile


3589 posts in 4014 days

#7 posted 09-15-2009 02:19 AM

WOW, it came out fantastic!

-- Whether You Think You Can or You Think You Can't, YOU ARE RIGHT!!!

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