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  • cleaning rust from tools

    I picked up a used tennoning jig today on Kijiji (great price - couldn't turn it down even though I don't really need a tennoning jig).

    The problem is that it has some surface rust (and then some) from being in storage so long. I usually clean metal table surfaces (table saw, jointer bed, planer bed, etc.) with WD40 and a 0000 steel wool pad. Afterwards I seal with "Topcoat" and then a light coat of paste wax.

    Will this work for moderate rust? If not, is there a better way without having to go buy a specialty product like "evap-o-rust"?

  • #2
    Re: cleaning rust from tools

    Look at rust removal by "electrolysis". Works much like electoplating and I've used it in the past with just a simple bucket of water (with baking soda, IIRC) and a battery charger.

    I'll try to find a link and post it later, but it saves a lot of time.

    CWS

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    • #3
      Re: cleaning rust from tools

      For electrolysis you need wash soda, baking soda - (NaHCO3) requires 30min at 350 in oven to turn it into the right stuff (Na2CO3) - don't quote me on the formula - chem class was many years ago.
      Here is one link for electrolysis
      I would just hit Lee Valley for the evaporust and while you are there pick up a can of Boeshield T-9

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      • #4
        Re: cleaning rust from tools

        electrolysis rust removal - YouTube

        on items where the part/tool has not totally fused together with rust, hit it with PB blaster, free up the moving parts, and use as is.
        We don't have preventative maintenance around here, we have CRISIS MANAGEMENT!

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        • #5
          Re: cleaning rust from tools

          Here is a link to the website that I used: Rust removal by electrolysis

          (I think that is the one... at least it IS the method that I used.)

          At the time (a few years ago) I had a set of auger bits that I had neglected to spray coat an anti-rust coating on before I put them in storage. Unfortunately my only place of storage was my overly damp basement which is absolutely a "cavern for corrosion". The results after over a decade were pretty pathetic, to say the least. Auger bits, simply because of their shape, are not very condusive to rubbing down with steel wool and/or emery paper.

          So, with the referenced intructions in hand, I took a larger-sized bucket (probably about 3-gallons), filled it about three-quarters with water, mixed with the recommended soda (my wife had some in the pantry) and then took and old lawn mower blade which I cut in half and placed on opposite sides on the inside of the bucket, where they'd be mostly emmerced in the water and soda solution. These were electrically wired to be conductive with each other and the lead brought over the upper lip of the bucket so that they could be grasped by the alligator clips of the charger

          I then hung about half of the auger bits from a small "stick" across the top of the bucket. These were suspended so that they were fully emmerced and mostly in the middle of the solution. They were also wired together so that each was "conductive" with the others and that the lead was brought to the outside over the lip of the bucket... like the lead wire of the lawn mower blade.

          I then hooked the two seperate leads as indicated in the reference. It's very important to ensure that the positive and negative leads are clamped to the proper lead wires.

          Basically, the electricity passes to the "tools" to be de-rusted and transfers through the soda-enhanced water (which has been made "conductive") to the outer iron (in my case, the lawn mower blades) which completes the circuit back to the charger.

          In this electrical transfer, the electrons basically pick up the loose iron (rust) on the tools and passes it to the outer lawn blades... sort of "plating" those pieces with the rust particles. It's a simple process, but very much depends on properly having the "hook-up".... if done in reverse, you would be transferring iron particles from the blades back to the "tools", which is NOT what you want to do.

          The conductivity of the water is most important too, as it must be able to efficiently conduct the electrolysis process. As WBrooks pointed out, it may well be much more scientific that what I did and therefore, if I had done my homework, I might have had even better experience. But, the process worked over several hours and the mucky brown soup that resulted certainly was evidence of somethink happening in there. (BTW, I used a 10-amp charger.)

          The results where that my auger bits came out with this very black residue where the rough rust coating had been. On further cleaning with water and a steel brush most of this paste-like black came off, leaving a fairly smooth, although still black, surface. Further work with a mild steel brush and steel wool with WD40 brightened up the steel. But obviously, once you have let your steel go to such corrosive extents, it simply will never be brought back to it's "new" condition. In my case, the auger bits aren't "pretty", but they are still very useful and I don't mind their rather "antique" look.

          I should point out that I never did try other products like mentioned and certainly they may well have been an advantage once I got the heavier stuff off through "electrolysis".

          I hope this is helpful,

          CWS

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          • #6
            Re: cleaning rust from tools

            Rusty auger bits I would not think twice about putting back into service immediately. 1-2 holes will have everything polished right off cept for the stuff in the flutes(?) who cares about that stuff!
            We don't have preventative maintenance around here, we have CRISIS MANAGEMENT!

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            • #7
              Re: cleaning rust from tools

              I live quite a distance from Lee Valley, so I thought I would get a start on cleaning the jig with some WD and a 0000 pad. Once I started cleaning the jig, I realized the "rust" was kinda sticky and it was clogging up the steel wool. So I grabbed a flat putty knife and scraped off a layer of something that definately was not rust, though it looked like it. I thought maybe it was the oil used to protect metal when its packaged, mixed with maybe some rust or something else. It scrapped off pretty well with just the putty knife - bizarre. This unit was in storage, unprotected, for like 5 years.

              Anyways, the I dissasembled the jig, cleaned it up, and reassembled it for a left tilt blade (why do tenon jigs come pre set for right tilt blades?!). Did some tests - works well. I think I'll use if for all my tenon work. It's a Delta 34-184.

              Thanks for the advice guys!

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              • #8
                Re: cleaning rust from tools

                Cosmoline? I have never seen it in person but I hear its damn near impossible to clean, but works awesome for rust protection.
                We don't have preventative maintenance around here, we have CRISIS MANAGEMENT!

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                • #9
                  Re: cleaning rust from tools

                  Cosmoline yup, used to pack weapons in it. Back in the day.
                  Was tough stuff if allowed to dry and set up. No worry about moisture though..................

                  gas

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                  • #10
                    Re: cleaning rust from tools

                    I remember "cosmoline" well... but there's other products that have since been on the market for similar protection. I worked for a major compressor manufacturer for thirty years and shipment to all parts of the world required a lot of "protection" as almost anything "overseas" was "shipped" and I imagine many units were on the "deck" because of their massive size and weight. Also, you can imagine the thousands of parts with were boxed and shipped.

                    Two products used for parts protection were from "BMC" (Building Maintenance Corp), their SW-42 and AL55 which are or were available in a spray can application. The SW-42 Metal Shield was "cosmoline-like" with it's brown sticky gummy coating that does harden somewhat over time. I used when I put away my RAS back in the 80's.... spraying the column, rails, and elevation shaft areas. Digging that tool out of the damp basement in 2003, safety solvent was the cleaner of choice and the everything came out quite pristine. It did take a bit of "elbow grease" though.

                    CWS

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                    • #11
                      Re: cleaning rust from tools

                      I love rust,it protects ones tools! It's been said " I'm Rusted,Busted,disgusted, An Can't be Trusted "
                      I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

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                      • #12
                        Re: cleaning rust from tools

                        Originally posted by masterbeavis View Post
                        Cosmoline? I have never seen it in person...
                        It's still available and widely used. There's a bunch of 'YouTube' videos detailing different methods of cosmoline removal, most of them geared toward the removal of the long-term, dried up goo.

                        Back in the '70s, I had a friend who had acquired several WWII surplus M-1 Garand rifles still packed in cosmoline. It took a huge effort to rid those babies of the 30 year old goo, but they looked like they had just been minted the day before once freed from their cosmoline cocoon.
                        "HONK if you've never seen a gun fired from a moving Harley"

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                        • #13
                          Re: cleaning rust from tools

                          You can remove rust by cleaning your tools with oil. You should coat them in oil is to fill a gallon bucket with sand and dump two quarts of vegetable oil into it. Than Use a trowel, thoroughly combine the oil and sand. Before put your tools away, dunk them into the bucket of sand. It will come out with a light coating of oil.
                          metal identification tags

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                          • #14
                            Re: cleaning rust from tools

                            Originally posted by james23 View Post
                            You can remove rust by cleaning your tools with oil. You should coat them in oil is to fill a gallon bucket with sand and dump two quarts of vegetable oil into it. Than Use a trowel, thoroughly combine the oil and sand. Before put your tools away, dunk them into the bucket of sand. It will come out with a light coating of oil.
                            I have head of doing this with shoveles and garden tools but not shop tools,
                            Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
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                            • #15
                              Re: cleaning rust from tools

                              Originally posted by BHD View Post
                              I have head of doing this with shoveles and garden tools but not shop tools,
                              Lol, dunk your table saw in that!
                              We don't have preventative maintenance around here, we have CRISIS MANAGEMENT!

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