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Electrolysis on the Stanley No. 62

I always wanted to try electrolysis rust removal and it is just as simple and effective as they claim.

Note: This is not a full tutorial on electrolysis. You must research the many other resources on the internet before attempting this your self. IT CAN BE DEADLY AND ILLEGAL IF DONE WRONG.

This is the old Stanley No. 62 low angle jack plane that needed to be de-rusted:

P1010001

Here it is in pieces:

Electrolysis

And here are a couple "before" photos of the body:

Electrolysis (1)

Electrolysis (3)

Here's my electrolysis bucket set-up. Six pieces of rebar are secured to the top edge of the bucket with bailing wire and then connected with copper wire to form one continuous sacrificial electrode.

Electrolysis (4)

"Washing Soda" was the stuff they said to mix into the water as an electrolyte:

Electrolysis (6)

The plane parts are suspended from copper wire which gets connected together on top:

Electrolysis (5)

And wa-lah:

Electro 001

When its working right you should see millions of tiny hydrogen bubbles rising from the tool (its hard to tell in this photo)...

Electro 002

When it first comes out it looks pretty bad. It makes you wonder if you did something backwards because your tools will be covered in a thick rust sludge:

Electro 003

But after some scrubbing with steel wool it starts to look pretty good:

Electro 004

And here is the final result:

Electro 005

Electro 007

Electro 018

One side had some pitting but the rest looked ok:

Electro 014

The sole was in excellent condition:

Electro 017

I still need to sharpen the blade, lap the sole, and repair the knob and tote.
I've used a similar electrolosis technique for years on antique car parts. I dug a shallow hole in an unused portion of my yard just deep enough to place the car frame, alxe housings, and misc. parts in with enough room to cover with about two inches of water, lined the hole with two layers of plastic sheeting, placed the parts, filled the hole with water, and added Crystal Vanish Toilet Bowl Cleaner. I only used one scrap iron negative electrode which did not touch any of the parts, and another scrap iron electrode which touched all the parts ( all the parts should touch each other). A 6 volt trickle charger supplied just enough current that stimulated the removal of the rust (in three days I had white metal on all the eighty some year old parts). Afterward I let the solution evaporate, roll up the plastic, and dispose of it in the trash.

This system also works with a few small parts in a small plastic container without the electrical charge, but it takes considerably longer. Like several of you have mentioned, if there is any appreciable moisture in the air, the newly unprotected parts will flash rust. I like the WD-40 (Water Displacer version 40) idea on unpainted parts. I blow dry the parts with compressed air and immediately spray them with metal primer. I live in a desert, and have only done this during summer (about 9 months of the year) so have had little flash rusting problem.
 
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