Removing Rust

This topic contains 6 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  GfB 4 months, 2 weeks ago.

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    Which technique do you use to remove rust from tools, what materials do you use?


    Dionysios P

    When it comes to rust removal I use different methods according to the size of the tool, the amount of rust, any presence of pitting etc.

    For small parts (like plane or other screws) and tools with pitting holes I tend to use oxalic acid diluted in warm water and I leave the parts in the solution for a couple of hours depending on the amount of rust. Then I rinse and dry them thoroughly and brussh them with a wire brush (handheld or on drill) to remove any rust left and the residue that the accid leaves on the metal surface.

    If there are thick layers of loose rust I start with a wire brush or scraper.

    On parts like plane irons and cap irons I usually use wire brush on a drill or sand paper flap wheels.

    On saw plates I tend to use different grits of sand paper with or without the use of a sanding block.

    I have also used WD40 along with wet and dry sand paper, works quite well but I don’t like the smell of WD40.

    As a general rule I am trying to use on every ocasion the method that is effective without being too agressive.

    Keep in mind that if you use acid on any other liquid rust remover the metal has to be free from dirt and grease for the liquid to be as effective as possible (I have even washed the parts of a vice in the kithen sink with warm water and dish detergent before placing them in the acid bath) .



    Thank you for sharing this Dionysios.

    I think the wire brush method is what I’m after. And I should be fine with WD40 because I really like the smell of it 🙂


    Keith Walton

    depends what the tool is really, I wouldnt take a wire brush to a preston router base or detailed areas on a stanley 45. certain textures/finishes and the value of the tool and its original condition could affect what method you use.



    Right now I’m just looking to spruce up some auger drill bits


    Good afternoon, everybody. The best technique to remove rust from the tools is to use acetic acid. After letting the acid act for an hour or two you can wash the tool, dry it well and the oxide will be gone.



    Thank you @dionysios. I appreciate the educational explanation.

    I guess it depends on the person, but I don’t like my old tools to look new. I work to get all the loose rust off, but will leave the patina, and don’t worry too much about the pits (except on blades). Once I’ve gotten all the rust off, I oil up really good, making sure to get the pits, and I keep oiled. I also added some of those ZeRust bars into my cabinet.

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