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Restoration? Let's talk chisels

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jimi43

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In recent weeks there have been a number of threads asking about chisels...what ones to buy...how can I get the best deal for my money...what's the best steel? You know the kind of thing.

Since there are no bootfairs in our neck of the woods to augment my stock...I decided to carry on restoring the tools that I bought last season...and then I thought it might help others if I documented some restorations so that others might be encouraged to follow this route.

So...today I did a chisel. It took about 2 hours, some CORRO DIP (yes that expensive stuff again!)...a copper brush and some Abranet and Micromesh. If you want to finish the handles..you might want Tru-Oil too.

For this restoration I selected a standard bootfair find...a little Marples boxwood gouge in pretty rough state and for which I would pay pence...at the most a pound.....



This is pretty typical of tools which have lain neglected in a box in a damp shed for many years...only to surface again during clearouts...and ferried to fields of goodies to be sold for next to nothing.

Most are restorable...even though they may have a fair amount of rust...the key is not too much pitting...



...and it is wise to choose ones with boxwood handles...they tend to be more expensive..hence better quality...



Good makers are also a better bet...the Sorbys...Wards...older Marples...and many others, made superb cast steel tools...which can be honed to extreme sharpness as will be seen.

So..what do we do with this sorry specimen? Well...first of all...if I haven't convinced you yet...invest a score in a litre of CORRO DIP. Now I have no association to this company or product whatever...I am only a happy user...and you will soon see why....



One litre makes 6 litres of diluted fluid...so it works out quite cheap...and my diluted stock is still the original stuff from a few years back...so I don't know when it will stop working...

Put the chisel in a jar...large enough to cover all the steel.....



...unlike corrosives such as phosphoric acid...CORRO DIP will not affect surrounding plastic...wood etc. But I would prefer it not to stain the beautiful boxwood so I have left this protruding out of the top.

I had previously heated the liquid in the microwave for about 1 minute 40 seconds...or until hot. It works far better that way.

After an hour...that was all that was needed with this one...I took the chisel out of the liquid....



The observant amongst you will notice I have also fixed a split with some epoxy at the same time and will also fix that stupid hole someone drilled in the handle which was the epicentre of the split in the first place! :roll:

It's still pretty mucky!



...but note how the overspill has cleaned the brass ferrule too!

A quick scrape will show if the underlying metal is clean and the job done...



A very light scrub with a soft copper brush showed how good a job had indeed been done with the liquid...



...so I might as well do the front too...



There is only one deep pit just above the maker's mark...but this has been rendered inert...some solid black stuff.

The maker's mark is clean as a whistle with no rubbing so is still very legible....



Now we come to a decision...a choice of the new owner (you) really. You can leave it as it is with all the crud and patina on it...or clean it right down to wood...effect all the repairs and refinish. I chose the latter because of the hole, the split and the relative abundance of this mark. It's really up to you.

So...either by hand or in a lathe...use Abranet from 120G down to 400G....followed by MicroMesh 1500M to 12000M



I filled the handle with some scrap boxwood...made it look like a knot....I hate holes in handles!

Note the machining is still evident...something you won't get if you wire brush...especially with a power wheel!



The inside is clean as a new pin too...



I put Tru-Oil on the handle...it's a lovely natural feel to it...great for using on hand tools and guitar necks..oh...and shotguns!



So...next time your finger wavers over the "BUY" button to get a nice modern chisel...don't forget what's floating around in a field near you! :wink:

Oh...and it cuts beautifully too!

Jim
 

AndyT

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To anyone wondering - I can confirm that this is really good advice - it's surprising just how far gone a tool can look but still be rescuable to a fresh lease of life. I've had similar results using citric acid, but I think I shall be following Jim's lead and investing in some Corrodip to go alongside the Abranet, Micromesh and Tru-oil.
One question - my nice old brass wire brush is a bit knackered - do you have a good source of brass or wire brushes which doesn't start at dawn in a muddy field?
 

jimi43

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AndyT":1xpo4p02 said:
To anyone wondering - I can confirm that this is really good advice - it's surprising just how far gone a tool can look but still be rescuable to a fresh lease of life. I've had similar results using citric acid, but I think I shall be following Jim's lead and investing in some Corrodip to go alongside the Abranet, Micromesh and Tru-oil.
One question - my nice old brass wire brush is a bit knackered - do you have a good source of brass or wire brushes which doesn't start at dawn in a muddy field?
Ha! you're getting the measure of me Andy...I was just ready to say bootfair but you cut me off at the pass! :mrgreen:

Shoe shops mate....or Timpsons in any shopping centre. The ones for suede shoes is ideal...though a bit pricey. Any pound shop should have something....or FleaBay if you can wait that long.

Brass or copper are best...not steel as that scratches and is only really any use for anchor chains! :wink:

Jim
 

lanemaux

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Hi Andy. I am not sure if you have them in the UK , but I frequent the dollar store (pound shop?) to find wee brush sets. The ones I get are in 3 packs. One brass , one steel and a nylon bristle in a format much like over sized toothbrushes. While these are not high quality gear , they will aid in cleaning . As they wear out , well ,for a buck they are tossable.
 

Blister

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Nice one Jimi

You have done it now

Corro Dip to be ordered

Its amazing the transformation from a rusty wreck to a user =D>
 

wallace

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Hi Jim, a man after my own heart. I think I have only bought a few new tools in my whole life. I doubt I could afford half the stuff I have accumulated over the years if I had to buy them full price. How would the chisel you restored have been finished when new. I tend to use more drastic measures, a brass wheel in a grinder and then polishing compound on a mop.
Mark
 

jimi43

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I don't think you'll be disappointed Allen...you can use it on quite heavy rust..the only time I have "wasted" it was when I have had to sacrifice some as a brush on. It then creates a barrier for further corrosion. I used it on my steel scaffolding tower and it hasn't rusted since.

Hi Wallace....I think that the ground finish that has been revealed would have been the original. I don't think the bevel had been touched either...just rusted. I think I caught it just in time before the pitting started....well, almost!

A brass wheel is also fine...although in my experience it can't removed deep rust very well and in trying...is usually destroyed. The CORRO DIP would appear to convert the lion's share of the rust to some sort of inert powder which just brushes off. They are very guarded as to what the formula is but whatever it is...it works. It kind of smells like a fruit acid is in it...perhaps citric but it works like a super citric acid...so something else is there. I put my hand in it to remove parts with no problem. I did wash them soon after though just in case!

Cheers

Jim
 

soulboy

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very informative post Jim,
I have been using electrolysis (kept burning out transformers) and now some rust remover from Hammerite, which may/may not be exactly the same chemicals.
Does anybody get a dry sort of dusty surface to their metal?
I thought i might be leaving the items in solution too long?
Do you need to degrease beforehand?
TIA chris
 

jimi43

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soulboy":3g3kutny said:
very informative post Jim,
I have been using electrolysis (kept burning out transformers) and now some rust remover from Hammerite, which may/may not be exactly the same chemicals.
Does anybody get a dry sort of dusty surface to their metal?
I thought i might be leaving the items in solution too long?
Do you need to degrease beforehand?
TIA chris
Thanks Chris.

There is no residue at all after brushing off the "rust" which appears to have been chemically changed to a black powder. The time immersed depends on the amount of rust...this only took an hour...other times it has taken overnight to work..though I think it depends on temperature.

The first time I used it I didn't heat it up much and it was rather cold in the workshop...it still worked but took 24 hours. Now...heating it first appears to accelerate the process greatly....as I say... a matter of hours.

I forgot it once and left it immersed for a couple of days...it worked and there was no adverse effect of leaving it in "too long".

There wasn't much grease on any of the items I have treated so far...but I guess it wouldn't hurt. I just bung it in though.

Jim
 

adidat

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humblewood":3kynomzx said:
Blister":3kynomzx said:
Its amazing the transformation from a rusty wreck to a user =D>
Hmmm :-k wonder if it would work on my van... :lol:

Would need a big jam jar though :shock:
my car came from jam jar?? - any use.


i think im going to have to buy a tin of that magic potion, what happens to the rust?

does it end up as sediment at the bottom?

adidat
 

jimi43

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adidat":23w9r4rv said:
humblewood":23w9r4rv said:
Blister":23w9r4rv said:
Its amazing the transformation from a rusty wreck to a user =D>
Hmmm :-k wonder if it would work on my van... :lol:

Would need a big jam jar though :shock:
my car came from jam jar?? - any use.


i think im going to have to buy a tin of that magic potion, what happens to the rust?

does it end up as sediment at the bottom?

adidat
Indeed it does Chris...inert...and I decant it off.

Cheers

Jim
 

Mike.S

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I haven't used CorroDip but it seems very similar to 'Shield Technology Restore Rust Remover' (available at Workshop Heaven and elsewhere) which I have used with similar success. The Shield product dilutes at 20:1 so compares favorably - price wise - with CorroDip. Not had enough experience to comment on longevity - I've only used the Shield stuff for months versus several years mentioned in the OP. I store my diluted solution in plastic milk bottles/carton and use another carton, with top cut-off, to soak items - even squeezed a plane in there! The plastic gardening troughs work well for larger items e.g. saw blades, no 8 plane.

These sorts of posts are very welcome. I have a bunch (is that the right term?) of 'pigstickers' to restore - derusted but re-handling and grinding those large primary bevels (at 20°) is a bit of a challenge for my equipment/skills so I'm leaving them on the shelf 'til I get the nerve and energy to attack them.

+1 for Tru-oil, though I tend to use it on Beech handles and prefer (raw) linseed oil for Boxwood. Different strokes....
 

Pete W

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lanemaux":2kue2veg said:
The ones I get are in 3 packs. One brass , one steel and a nylon bristle in a format much like over sized toothbrushes.
Like these?:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/MINI-BRUSH-Bras ... B00439MM9Q

I got a three-pack of these, free with one of the woodworking mags (Good Woodworking, I think) a few years ago. Mine are still going, although they don't see nearly as much action as some around here. :)
 

jimi43

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Hi Mike

I'm sure there will be a number of manufacturers (or perhaps re-branding) popping up to take advantage of the Holy Grail of solutions (both meanings) to corrosion.

It was the same when "oxy-action" was developed and look what happened there.

The interesting thing in your post Mike is the subject of container. With reusable chemicals, this becomes very important as we want to bathe the item in one shot and then return the solution to storage.

I wanted to dilute as little as possible and therefore the shape of the container became a bit of an obsession! The square Tupperware or ice cream pots were favourite for lots of relatively small items....



My wife is getting a bit fed up with me saving anything and everything in the shape of food packaging...I really must throw some of it into recycling!

Those brushes look a little flimsy Pete...although you can't always tell from a picture. I tend to go for the denser, hairier ones...like the old Hush Puppy brushes...and the huge ones that look like giant hair brushes but with brass instead of plastic bristles....MAPLIN HAVE SOME FOR £1.99

Spark plug cleaning brushes are perfect for smaller items...LIKE THIS ONE

....but I'm sure a pound shop is your best bet.

Cheers

Jim
 

Mike.S

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Yes Jim, not quite sure what's in these solutions and which came first. I even wondered if the anti-rust liquid (Fernox?) you add to central heating systems might work - similar blackish solution appears when you drain down radiators.

My wife is getting a bit fed up with me saving anything and everything in the shape of food packaging...I really must throw some of it into recycling!
I guess I'm lucky here as my wife loves keeping (certain) packaging - she works in a school and keeps them for the kids to use in art classess. Like you, I wanted to minimise the amount of solution per item dipped - the decapitated milk carton worked well as several items could be stood up in it e.g. iron, cap iron, sole, and it was easy to pour the solution back into its long term storage carton. My wife keeps the tupperware like oblong cartons that our local chinese takeaway delivers food in and they've been used also - similar to your pic. She was less happy when I borrowed the plastic lid of a cake container to make my first electrolysis experiment (she was impressed with all the bubbles though)!

My favourite cleaning brushes: a small brass wire one (suede shoe cleaner) and a toothbrush.

When more power is needed I use a 6" 'Clean and strip' disk on my bench grinder (like a stiff scotchbrite disk) which is abrasive but doesn't mark like a wire wheel would. For more intricate areas I use the mini-scotchbrite wheels on a Dremel. I'm a fan of Mirka products (sandpaper and W&D) but haven't yet tried the abranet (the one with holes in?) or micromesh.
 

The Bear

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What do you do on the brass parts to bring them back to life Jimi

Great job by the way


Mark
 

jimi43

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The Bear":d5zmpom6 said:
What do you do on the brass parts to bring them back to life Jimi

Great job by the way


Mark
Thanks for the further information Mike...it's always helpful to have other ideas...and transfer them. Abranet is a mesh with abrasive built in...it sticks to itself like Velcro...but the particles...rather than clogging the abrasive..just fall out. It's not cheap but it is worth every penny and for turning...remains much cooler than standard sandpaper. Buy the mix packs on FleaBay...120G,180G,240G,320G,400G and about 10 of each. That is the best way to use it I find.

Mark...for cleaning brass and retaining patina I use......



...it is wonderful but not cheap either.....but you only use it very sparingly so a little goes a long way.

This is a bronze lever cap...covered in years of crud...



...and cleaned with MAAS....no loss of patina...



For cleaning as I have with this chisel...I used Abranet (on a lathe)...120G down to 400G then only 1500 mesh MicroMesh to smooth it off and look like factory finishing. I don't really like polishing down to mirror finish...this would not have been how it came from the maker...but if you like that finish...then you can go down the meshes to 12000 mesh and finish with MAAS...at which point it acts like a superfine polish.

This "new" lever cap screw shows both...



Highly polished top and groove and bottom and silk edges.

Jim
 

jimi43

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Blister":ve94y38t said:
Jim

Have you seen this method ?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-_z4tinnXk

SWEET :mrgreen: :lol: :lol:

I think the last thing on earth I would use in Australia to clean rust would be a wheely bin full of sugar! Imagine the flies!!! :mrgreen:

Interesting that it makes phosphoric acid...I'm no chemist but I don't see that one.

Jimi
 

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