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Forum topic by david2011 posted 07-04-2020 08:22 PM 1348 views 1 time favorited 27 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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david2011

47 posts in 4516 days


07-04-2020 08:22 PM

There are tons of YouTube videos on rust removal. I live on the Texas Gulf Coast so there’s plenty of water in the air. This is my take after watching many and trying some of the products and techniques I’ve seen. After purchasing several old cast iron Craftsman tools, I’ve had the opportunity to try several things for rust removal. They include PB Blaster, Klean Strip Concrete and Metal Prep and Lime-Away. PB Blaster is good because there is no water involved and the cleanup can be done with mineral spirits. It will ricochet off of the intended target and get on anything nearby. It required the most elbow grease. The Concrete and Metal Prep was easier but not very fast acting. I had to keep it moist while waiting for it to act and it’s a fairly potent chemical so full PPE precautions are required. Lime-Away in the pump spray bottle was the easiest to use. As with PB Blaster, it will bounce off of the intended surface and get on things around it.

Electrolysis is interesting and probably the way to go for a complete restoration but I’m more interested in making the tools look nice enough and using them so I have not tried electrolysis yet.

Using Lime-Away I saturated a surface and let it sit briefly. I scrubbed with the maroon colored Scotch Brite available at auto parts stores. It comes in sheets but I cut it down to about 2”x3” pads. One pad goes a long way. Different colors represent different grits. Gray is fine, maroon is medium and there are coarser grades. It may take several applications and scrubbings but it’s light elbow grease compared to PB Blaster which is more like wet sanding- the elbow grease is everything there. I found all of the products to be somewhat messy so protecting the surrounding area is about the same for all. The floor should be protected as the Concrete Prep and Lime-Away will both leave “like new” clean spots where they drip and PB Blaster will carry a rusty, oily slurry into the concrete. When I cleaned my table saw using Lime-Away I took it out on the driveway and sprayed water on the concrete before and flushed it well afterward. That didn’t leave any bright spots. Once the surface is clean to your requirements the Lime-Away has to be washed off well with water. A couple of days later I noticed a little flash rust had developed on my jointer even after washing and waxing with Johnson’s Paste wax. More washing would probably have prevented that but then there’s more exposure to water. There’s also a thin line between enough drying time and when to wax. The flash rust sanded away easily with 240 grit 3M Wet-or-Dry. I wiped off the residue and waxed again. So far it has not rusted again.

With a background as a metal worker I was reluctant to use wire brushes or sandpaper on cast iron. After machining some cast iron pieces I respect that it is very soft compared to steel and did not want to affect the flatness of the cast iron surfaces. It may not be perfect but I didn’t want to make it worse. Reluctantly, I gave in to steel wool, wire brushing and sanding at the end. The steel wool was 0000 fine and was not much different from Scotch Brite. It was very gentle. I only used fine wire brushes in a battery powered drill (a good DeWalt drill) and sanding with a palm sander. The wire brush get the last of rust out of the grooves created by factory Blanchard grinding (the big swirls) and did a great job cleaning the miter slots. The crisp edges were not rounded off. A LIGHT sanding with the palm sander and 180-240 grit paper left a pleasing appearance and a nice, smooth surface over which the wood can easily glide. All surfaces were waxed again with the Johnson’s Paste Wax at the end.

Maybe my experiences will make it easier for someone else out there.

-- David


27 replies so far

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OldBull

146 posts in 104 days


#1 posted 07-04-2020 08:41 PM

If you have the money ??

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ACGSzBXKONo

-- My favorite square is 40 grit sandpaper

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david2011

47 posts in 4516 days


#2 posted 07-04-2020 09:18 PM

That’s pretty impressive. Surely in major metro areas there are companies that offer the service. Unfortunately, a quick search didn’t find anything but laser hair removal in the Houston area. Most of the participants here probably don’t want ANY hair removal. I know I can’t afford to lose any more.

-- David

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OldBull

146 posts in 104 days


#3 posted 07-04-2020 09:41 PM

What about vinegar and water, or acid?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDTCgxvmShc
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-- My favorite square is 40 grit sandpaper

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GrumpyGolfGuy

62 posts in 105 days


#4 posted 07-04-2020 10:13 PM

I’ve become addicted to the older Stanley Hand Planes, and as such most all I get have some degree of rust, from minor to really bad. I was doing the vinegar thing until I learned that even when removed from the vinegar the acid in the vinegar still eats away at the metal unless you give it a baking soda bath. I was seriously looking at Electrolysis, but I just couldn’t get comfortable with it. After a great deal more searching I came across WD 40 rust remover. This stuff is great. really light rust is taken care of in a few hours, heavy stuff can take over night. I take the part out, rinse with water then a good cleaning and the parts look pretty darn good. At least for me as I restoring to be a user, not collector.

Chris

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MrUnix

8163 posts in 3008 days


#5 posted 07-04-2020 10:36 PM

That WD-40 appears to be basically the same as Evapo-rust, and around the same cost – so just find the cheapest of the two in your area (on amazon right now, evaporust is about $20 a gallon, WD-40 is about $22). These are true rust removers, unlike the acid type converters.

Electrolysis is probably the cheapest, and can actually convert some rust back to base metal, but it can be a messy procedure unless you use carbon rods for the anodes.

The remainder are mostly acids that will convert rust but also can be destructive to good metal as well. Care should be used with them as you can damage pieces if not used properly or left in too long.

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

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sansoo22

1025 posts in 463 days


#6 posted 07-04-2020 11:19 PM

I use evaporust or wd40 specialist on all of my restored planes. I buy 4 or more gallons of the stuff at a time but it lasts quite a while. If its picking up to many particulates you can strain it with a cheese clothe to remove them.

I tried the Goof off brand once and while it worked it had a bad habit of turn all bare cast iron a dull dark grey.

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david2011

47 posts in 4516 days


#7 posted 07-05-2020 06:43 PM


What about vinegar and water, or acid?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDTCgxvmShc
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- OldBull

Vinegar and other acids including the solutions I used are all options but vinegar and other liquid acids require soaking for an extended time. The methods I presented do not require disassembly or soaking in a liquid bath.

-- David

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david2011

47 posts in 4516 days


#8 posted 07-05-2020 07:13 PM



I use evaporust or wd40 specialist on all of my restored planes. I buy 4 or more gallons of the stuff at a time but it lasts quite a while. If its picking up to many particulates you can strain it with a cheese clothe to remove them.

I tried the Goof off brand once and while it worked it had a bad habit of turn all bare cast iron a dull dark grey.

- sansoo22

I’ve been a huge fan of Evaporust for about 15 years and use it regularly. The big blue truck just left a fresh gallon on my porch a couple of weeks ago. The down side is that it requires prolonged soaking which would involve disassembly of the tools and building a container to hold the part(s) and solution. My goal was to clean the visible surfaces well without having to disassemble the tools. To take the top off of an old Craftsman contractor’s saw means completely disassembling the entire working mechanism. That entails turning the saw upside down, removing the legs and housing and then removing all of the moving parts from the top. The saw I purchased just didn’t need that level of work to be made useful.

The jointer may need some disassembly to adjust the infeed table but for cleaning the working surfaces the only disassembly needed was to remove the fence. The scroll saw just needs the surface rust cleaned from the table. It’s lightly rusted and doesn’t warrant disassembly and fabricating something to soak it in.

-- David

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david2011

47 posts in 4516 days


#9 posted 07-05-2020 07:19 PM



Electrolysis is probably the cheapest, and can actually convert some rust back to base metal, but it can be a messy procedure unless you use carbon rods for the anodes.

The remainder are mostly acids that will convert rust but also can be destructive to good metal as well. Care should be used with them as you can damage pieces if not used properly or left in too long.

Cheers,
Brad

- MrUnix

Electrolysis is a great way to remove rust but the goal was to clean the metal to a nice usable state without disassembly and immersion in a liquid. I’m not sure how it can convert ferrous oxide back to iron. That’s kind of like unburning wood. It will remove all of the molecules of iron that were converted to rust, though.

-- David

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MrUnix

8163 posts in 3008 days


#10 posted 07-05-2020 08:01 PM

I’m not sure how it can convert ferrous oxide back to iron. That’s kind of like unburning wood. It will remove all of the molecules of iron that were converted to rust, though.
- david2011

It will not convert red rust (ferric oxide), which is the outer surface of rust you typically think of. But under the red rust can be a thin layer of darker, harder rust with the chemical formula of magnetite (FE3O4), known more commonly as black rust. The black rust displaces the same volume as the iron it was converted from (unlike red rust which occupies more volume), is electrically conductive, is strongly bonded to the underlying metal and resistant to becoming detached. Electrolysis will convert the ferric oxide into FE304 (black rust), but since it is not bonded well to the base metal and occupied more volume than the original metal, it will just flake off. Some of the existing FE304 will also flake off in the process, but some will also be converted back to its original form of iron.

Can you tell some has been changed back? Not really.. as not a lot of it does. But that isn’t the primary purpose of electrolysis – which is to provide a non-destructive method of rust removal. The conversion back to base metal is just an added bonus ;)

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

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Peteybadboy

2039 posts in 2758 days


#11 posted 07-05-2020 08:16 PM

Evaporust +1 Also the WD40 product (probably the same thing) works great. Just let it sit in a bath of it over night.

-- Petey

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david2011

47 posts in 4516 days


#12 posted 07-05-2020 09:06 PM

As mentioned, I have used Evaporust for 15 years. I’m aware of electrolysis and have electrolysis equipment for cleaning rifle barrels. This was about what I tried and how it worked for me.

I had no desire to disassemble my table saw, large scroll saw and jointer just to remove surface rust. I did not want to have to put the parts in a liquid. I wanted to find the easiest way to remove rust without disassembly and immersion. That was the important part to me. Living in an area where the humidity often equals or exceeds the temperature, that kind of labor is not fun in the heat of the summer, which begins in April and ends in October.

-- David

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david2011

47 posts in 4516 days


#13 posted 07-05-2020 09:12 PM



I m not sure how it can convert ferrous oxide back to iron. That s kind of like unburning wood. It will remove all of the molecules of iron that were converted to rust, though.
- david2011

It will not convert red rust (ferric oxide), which is the outer surface of rust you typically think of. But under the red rust can be a thin layer of darker, harder rust with the chemical formula of magnetite (FE3O4), known more commonly as black rust. The black rust displaces the same volume as the iron it was converted from (unlike red rust which occupies more volume), is electrically conductive, is strongly bonded to the underlying metal and resistant to becoming detached. Electrolysis will convert the ferric oxide into FE304 (black rust), but since it is not bonded well to the base metal and occupied more volume than the original metal, it will just flake off. Some of the existing FE304 will also flake off in the process, but some will also be converted back to its original form of iron.

Can you tell some has been changed back? Not really.. as not a lot of it does. But that isn t the primary purpose of electrolysis – which is to provide a non-destructive method of rust removal. The conversion back to base metal is just an added bonus ;)

Cheers,
Brad

- MrUnix

Seems like there are some liquids that are supposed to convert some of the rust back to magentite as well. Like you said, it can flake off and isn’t well bonded to the base metal. The main thing is that I had no intention of taking the tools apart in the summer heat and humidity so I was looking for solutions to the problem that were useful without disassembly. I’m just a few miles off of Galveston Bay so the humidity is almost as high as it is in the swamps of Louisiana.

-- David

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sansoo22

1025 posts in 463 days


#14 posted 07-05-2020 09:20 PM

David – Sorry I misread some of what you were trying to do. I thought you wanted full restoration. So for rust removal on a stationary tool I go with Bar Keepers Friend and a non scratch scour cloth.

When I did my band saw table I picked this kit up from Amazon
https://www.amazon.com/Cleanser-Scouring-Multipurpose-Stainless-DishCloth/dp/B01FNDG2GE/ref=sr14?dchild=1&keywords=bar+keep&qid=1593983532&sr=8-4

It left some light surface scratches but nothing a few automotive sanding sponges couldn’t take out.

For cleaning after rust removal I use WD40 Specialist Degreaser, followed by brake parts cleaner (this one splatters so best to spray the rag down), and finally WD40 specialist rust inhibitor. The inhibitor is super slimy so I wiped in real well and after that it also kind of works like a glide coat.

I did most of the parts on my Shopsmith 10ER this way and they are still shiny and smooth 7 months later. Which reminds me i need to finish that thing.

Edit: I should add I live in Missouri where we can go from bone dry to 70% or better humidity over night or sometimes throughout the day. Not as bad as the south for sure but mother nature does love to keep us guessing here.

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david2011

47 posts in 4516 days


#15 posted 07-07-2020 07:00 AM

Bar Keeper’s Friend is a great product. I used it to keep the stainless steel on my sailboat shiny and rust free. The stuff that’s used for bow and stern rails, lifeline stanchions an the like is very rust resistant but not rust proof. I’ll have to try it for keeping shop equipment nice. All of my Craftsman tools show their age but work well. They’ll never look like a new Saw Stop table but they’re clean and smooth enough that wood slides easily.

Glad you mentioned using Evaporust/WD-40 for your planes. I’ve gotten to like the old Craftsman planes made by Millers Falls and buy them when I find a nice one in a size I don’t have. Even after cleaning them up they still need a little help in the hard-to-reach areas.

There is that one thing that I miss about living in SE New Mexico. The air is almost always dry. I polished the handle to an RCBS reloading press and seven years later it had just started to show a few tiny, tiny spots. Had I waxed it with JPW it probably wouldn’t have any spots yet. Another benefit is that because an insulated room changes temp very slowly, there is no condensation even without the heat or AC turned on. Machined metal would stay bright for months without doing anything.

We had several days in June where the humidity was only 45-60 percent and everyone acted like we were in Colorado weather.

-- David

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