Bedrock #605 Restoration #2: Cleaning...and some bad news

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Blog entry by sansoo22 posted 12-05-2021 06:30 AM 1516 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: And so it begins...initial assessment Part 2 of Bedrock #605 Restoration series Part 3: Sand and prep handles »

Today’s entry is all about cleaning parts. I was going to cover lapping the body but I went a little overboard on photos so we will just do a deep dive on cleaning.

Before we get to the cleaning a quick word on safety

At the bare minimum when using wire wheels of any kind you should have safety glasses. When using the bench grinder with wire wheels I prefer my full face shield. And if I’m throwing a lot of rust in the air I put on my full face respirator. Those little wires fire off like missiles and while the rust may taste manly I’m sure it isn’t good for the lungs.

Here are my tools of the trade for cleaning. Nothing special at all. A cordless drill, some stainless wire wheels, and a stainless toothbrush.

Cleaning the Body

First thing I always due is simply use the little stainless toothbrush with some good old fashioned soap and water. When its this rusty a little water won’t hurt…its not like I can rust it more. Top image is dirty condition and bottom is after a quick bath in the sink.

I don’t get fancy when using the wire wheels in the cordless. Clamp the body to a bench and go to town.

Here is about as far as I take cleaning with the wire wheels. I’m not trying to get super duper sparkly clean at this point. I just want enough of the rust off that its not clogging up my sandpaper while lapping the body.

These next two images show what size brush I use to get into all of the channels on a corrugated plane. I used to use a dremel with wire wheel but those never held up very long. The small brush I use in the cordless needs to be held at an angle which is a bit of a PITA but it works.

I should mention I don’t actually use this method anymore. I merely did this as a demonstration for those that don’t have a media blasting cabinet they can use. For extra rusty planes like this one I will use the wire wheels to get the loose crap off and then its straight off to the blasting cabinet these days.

One thing I still do the hard way is the top edges of the body. On this plane they were so rusty I decided to tackle the first pass now to see what kind of a mess I am dealing with.

Here is a close up of the top edge. It has seen much better days….I mean its not even flat anymore.

And here is a close up of both sides after quite a bit of time with 60 grit paper. The outside edges are nice and crisp but I don’t know if I can get the inside edges crisp and clean again. I will check them again after it gets out of the blast cabinet.

Cleaning the hardware, iron, and chip breaker

Behold the awesome 1980s Delta that just won’t die. I have 2 wire wheels on this bad boy. They are both from Forney and have held up really well and barely throw wires. Most of the time I use the fine brush on the right but if something is extra funky I take it to the medium/coarse brush on the left.

Unfortunately the best I can do is show an after photo of using the bench grinder. I am missing a set of hands that would allow me to take photos and run the grinder. Best I can do is give some pointers.

1. Let the grinder do the work. Forcing a small part into a wire wheel is a good way to get is shot across the shop or worse into yourself at a very high speed.
2. Small parts get hot quicker than you think. If it feels warm let it cool because it takes a couple seconds to go from warm to “damn…I just burnt myself”
3. The fine wire wheel doesn’t hurt if you hit your fingers…the medium/coarse wheel giggles when it takes off skin.

I wish I had more to offer but without shooting videos I can’t really get into better detail with the grinder. And I’m sure the way I use it is an OSHA violation of some sort anyway.

Bath time

A recent addition to my shop is a 15L ultrasonic parts cleaner. I use Simple Green in the Purple flavor with roughly an 8:1 strength ratio. I find 8:1 to be safe for aluminum but may take more than one 20 minute cycle to get parts clean.

Pro tip If you need to do small nuts and bolts pick up some cheap metal tea baskets. They have screw on lids with a little chain and hook. I simply hook them to the basket inside the parts cleaner.

Fresh out of their bath and ready for some CRC 3-36 to keep them from rusting.

For those that don’t have an ultrasonic cleaner I find a quick soak in acetone will get most the residue off that is left behind from the wire wheels on the bench grinder. The ultrasonic cleaner just does such a phenomenal job at it that I found it worthwhile to add one to the shop.

Now the bad news

The lever cap that didn’t feel super rough at first is actually pretty damn terrible. It appears that it had some dingy grey film covering it that came off in the parts bath. This exposed a lot more depth to the pitting. You could barely feel it before and now it feels very rough to the touch. The image above was taken after 10 min of work with 60 grit paper.

For some somewhat brighter news I did manage to find a replacement on Etsy of all places for $62 shipped. Beats the cheapest I could find on ebay by $22 bucks. Martin sure does love his parts.

That sums up this entry. I am sure its rather dull reading at this point since cleaning is like the least interesting part of restoration. Although one of the most important parts. I’m not sure what I will cover next as I’m a little off on my steps since I normally sandblast then lap the body. Maybe all of the fun involved in prepping the handles for finish because everyone LOVES sanding.

9 comments so far

View Madmark2's profile


3253 posts in 1921 days

#1 posted 12-05-2021 09:26 AM

Nice work.

Let me add another ultrasonic tip. Use a red SOLO cup or other solvent proof plastic (or even glass) instead of your cute tea thingy. That way you can keep clean water in the tank itself, but put solvent (usually alcohol or your Simple Green) in the cup with the small parts. The plastic will pass the ultrasonic energy like it wasn’t there but the solvent and the crud released will remain in the cup and not contaminate your clean tank water. This also is good for the environment because you only use a couple of ounces of solvent at a time instead of a full tank.

Good work tho. Lots of effort. It’s like watching one of those car resto shows!

It never ceases to amaze me how a few oddly shaped bits of steel, brass, and wood can make a tool that makes magnificent furniture in the right hands. It’s an oft forgotten skill, thanks for help keeping the art alive.

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

View sansoo22's profile


1972 posts in 987 days

#2 posted 12-05-2021 07:13 PM

Thanks for the tip Mark. I hadn’t ever thought about doing it that way. I had the full tank setup from the drill press I’m currently restoring as well. I needed the capacity but in the future if I’m just doing a handful of hardware I will grab a mason jar. I could even mix up a stronger solution in the jar if I wanted to. Like if I need to toss some aluminum pulleys in the big tank but also want to do some super greasy nuts and bolts.

The environmental aspect is one BIG reason my tank doesn’t get changed as often as it should.

View Madmark2's profile


3253 posts in 1921 days

#3 posted 12-05-2021 08:04 PM

Yeah. I’ve gone to cheap disposable foam brushes instead of bristle brushes. Cleaning a brush uses lots of solvent, tossing it uses none.

We’ve also gone to 100% LED lighting. No incandescents, CFL’s or fluorescent tubes anywhere.

Is also why I prefer corded vs cordless. No batteries being tossed.

Am old hippie. I remember the first Earth Day – standing out in front of the Jr hs watching the flag go up. The air and water is significantly cleaner now than it was “back in the day”.

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

View sansoo22's profile


1972 posts in 987 days

#4 posted 12-05-2021 09:30 PM

I just found the last of the incandescent bulbs in the house a couple weeks ago and replaced it with an LED. We “should” be completely LED now. I say should because my house was built in 1965 and there are light bulbs EVERYWHERE!!! I’ve been here 2 yrs and I’m still surprised at the amount of light fixtures, switches, and bulbs.

We try our best to be as eco-friendly as possible. My insulation in the house isn’t quite up to par but we decided to fix some foundation issues first. We were getting just enough water seeping after heavy rains to cause mold. I wanted that taken care of for health reasons first. We are in the process of getting bids for spray foam insulation though. Not sure its any better than blown in other than it lasts a hell of a lot longer.

View Jeff's profile


290 posts in 718 days

#5 posted 12-05-2021 10:24 PM

As cheeks are the weakest point of the body, would there be less chance of cracking the body by clamping the inside cheek to the bench?

View sansoo22's profile


1972 posts in 987 days

#6 posted 12-05-2021 10:30 PM

As cheeks are the weakest point of the body, would there be less chance of cracking the body by clamping the inside cheek to the bench?

- Jeff

Yes it should have been clamped the other way using an f-body clamp. The squeeze clamp doesn’t fit so well and I was being lazy. I don’t use enough clamping force to worry about cracking but to be on the safe side it should have been done as you suggested.

View HokieKen's profile


20636 posts in 2471 days

#7 posted 12-06-2021 02:08 PM

How about a link to the fine wheel you have on your grinder? I’ve been wanting to get a finer one with softer wire but haven’t spent any time researching them yet. If you have one you can recommend though, that’ll save me some reading :-)

You said you don’t used the wire wheels anymore but just go straight to the blast cabinet. Does that include the sides and the soles? Just curious because I don’t like the mottled appearance blasting leaves on the machined surfaces so I don’t usually blast those, just the enameled faces.

So you try to sand the top edges down flat with hard corners on both sides? Interesting. As you probably recall, I had a battle with getting a crisp corner with the paint and your method of painting then scraping was a big improvement. But I don’t really do anything to those edges before painting other than removing any rust.

-- I collect hobbies. There is no sense in limiting yourself (Don W) - - - - - - - - Kenny in SW VA

View sansoo22's profile


1972 posts in 987 days

#8 posted 12-06-2021 03:59 PM

My wire wheels:
Forney fine wire wheel
Forney coarse wire wheel

I do go right to blasting but I’m using low pressure and a larger tip for the machined surfaces. It will still dull them but the cheeks and sole get lapped so no big deal there. And the inner machined surfaces can be shined back up with a stainless brush on the cordless if you want. When I blast the enamel I switch to a smaller tip and turn the pressure up. That’s when I try like hell to avoid machined surfaces and any threaded holes.

The top edges don’t have to be perfectly crisp and clean. All I really want is clean enough a razor won’t catch when I go to scrape off paint later. If a razore passes smoothly on the edges before paint I know I can get clean crisp paint lines.

View HokieKen's profile


20636 posts in 2471 days

#9 posted 12-06-2021 05:00 PM

Gotcha. That makes sense on the edges. I found myself holding the blade with some rake so if I did catch on a ding I wouldn’t gouge the painted edge. Makes sense to sand before hand though and minimize the risk altogether.

Sandblaster makes sense too. I don’t have my own blaster so I don’t swap nozzles or media. It’s one size fits all for me.

And thanks for the links. I’ll grab a fine wheel to replace my worn out one that was never really fine enough to suit me anyway :-)

-- I collect hobbies. There is no sense in limiting yourself (Don W) - - - - - - - - Kenny in SW VA

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