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Advice on cleaning rusty plane and metal files

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denmen

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Anyone got some decent tips on cleaning and restoring rusty tools that doesnt entail dipping in a couple on cm of rust cleaner which is not practical for my needs
 

Osvaldd

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For big and or complicated stuff, like a vice - I would power wash it and into electrolysis bath it goes
For stuff like hand plane soles, saws etc I only do minimal cleaning with steel scourer and mineral spirits and maybe a brass brush.
Rusty screws and nuts get a citric acid treatment
Files? I dont do anything to them.
 

Bod

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Rusty files, Fruit juice bottle fill ed with citric acid, immerse file in fluid, and wait. My experience is at least 24 hours, up to a week, removing daily for a scrub under running water, to see progress.
Planes, much the same, first stripping down, wire brushing the loose rust off, then the citric acid bath. Keep all wooden handles dry, by removing, sanding down as required.
Citric acid crystals are sold by the Home Brew Beer and Wine trade, and are Food grade quality, no special precautions are necessary when handling or disposing off.

Bod
 

AndyT

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ED65

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If you have a power drill or a bench drill one of the most direct ways of tackling rust is by chucking up a wire wheel and having at it. This can be very quick if the rust is light and not well established – you start to see results instantly – but like most direct manual methods it's only capable of tackling rust you can see (and not even all of that). Which is why a rust-remover of some kind is in many ways the best way to deal with rust since it can go into every corner or crevice, and reach inside holes.

How rusty is your plane/planes? And what do you want it or them to look like when you're done? Planes that are only a little rusty can work well with minimal work done to them, as little as a quick hone of the iron and a wipe with an oily rag in some cases.

Files are a bit different, they really need to be spotless to work properly and since wire wheeling can blunt them even if done with care getting them that clean really requires a soak in something, in a rust remover at least (or electrolysis). But most likely they'll benefit from spending some time in an acid of some kind; even brand new files can be improved by acid sharpening as it's called, so it's a certainty that something old and with some rust on it will see some benefit.

More details in some previous threads, including this one: old-files-t117326.html
 

Rorschach

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What sort of concentration do you use for citric acid rust removal?

I use it for pickling silver after soldering but my mixture consists of chuck a bit in, job done.
 

Nigel Burden

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I cleaned up a Woden78 using electrolysis today. I used one tablespoonful of washing soda to one gallon of water. It cleaned up ok, but I didn't leave it long enough to strip the remaining paint, and I wasn't too worried if it didn't, as I only paid £3 for it along with a Millers Falls block plane at the Oak Fair yesterday and it wouldn't have been an issue if it was a complete dud.

I use white vinegar for files.

Nigel.
 

ZippityNZ

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denmen":3mxa0pgr said:
Anyone got some decent tips on cleaning and restoring rusty tools that doesnt entail dipping in a couple on cm of rust cleaner which is not practical for my needs
Soak everything in White Vinegar (very cheap at your local supermarket), Cider Vinegar, Electrolysis or finally, EvapoRust.

They all work. Some just take longer than others :)

It might be easier if you told us exactly what it is you are wanting to clean.
 

Woody2Shoes

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denmen":14tbyd7x said:
Anyone got some decent tips on cleaning and restoring rusty tools that doesnt entail dipping in a couple on cm of rust cleaner which is not practical for my needs
Why is dipping not practical for your needs (it works beautifully on plane parts)? I use citric acid in hot water (about five teaspoons per teacup-full) - it's cheap, safe to use and to put down the drain afterwards. I think that - besides using a brass-wire brush to clean loose dirt/rust off a file - the only sensible alternative for files is some kind of chemical process. Otherwise, on smooth surfaces, I use a bit of wet-and-dry paper with some three-in-one oil. Cheers, W2S
 

ED65

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Nigel Burden":32geswwj said:
...only paid £3 for it along with a Millers Falls block plane...
Nice!

And to add the obligatory: jammy sod :D
 

topchippytom

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I have a small pot sand blaster so i use that as cleans every thing perfectly then i just use a blower to clean off and then oil as required.
 
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