Introduction: Clean Up Rust on Tools & Machinery
Unfortunately there was a bit of a problem with small floods of the garage in our rental for a while..(until we took matters in to our own hands) and as a result some of my tools and machinery started building up a fine layer of oxidization ( rust)
I have been reading all over the net the suggestions for cleaning it up... ranging from steel wool, sandpaper, electrolysis, apple cider vinegar, and various other chemical products....
Then one day.. i tried plain old white vinegar - (mostly because apple cider vinegar used in one of the other methods is just plain expensive in these parts..) and was surprised by the results...
I found two ways to make it work...;
The first method was for a whole bunch of small tools and parts - I used;
- 20 litre plastic bucket ( any container will do to suit the size of the items you wish to clean... )
- 5 x 2 litre bottles of White vinegar
- Oven tray with aluminum foil to cover
- The kitchen oven.
- Can of spray paint
The second method was for large parts of machinery which i couldn't immerse, - I used;
- Bottle of White Vinegar
- Small paint brush
- Pile of old towels and rags ( towels are best)
- Piece of steel wool(with out soap added!)
- Piece of 800 grit wet and dry sand paper
- Block of pure bee's wax
- Bench vice.
- News paper
- Water proof gloves
Step 1: Method 1 - Bucket Method
- Fill your bucket / container with White Vinegar
- Drop all the items into the bucket - ensuring its covered (take apart any tools with multiple bits - i take photos as i take complex tools apart to help putting it back)
- Leave the items in the bucket for a minimum of 1 week, (an impressive rusty scum will appear on the surface) just keep and eye on your parts until they are clean.
- If you don't live some where hot and dry.. then turn your kitchen oven up to 50 degrees C
- Lay the parts out on a tray covered in aluminum foil and dry for 30 minutes. *1
- Using a spray pant can, i put a thin layer of my favorite anti corrosive vinyl etch primer and then where possible a thin top coat over primed metal.... some people prefer to just rub the tool with WD40 or a similar oil based preparation to protect the bare metal.
*1 There remains the unanswered question ... Do i need to rinse all the parts in water before drying.. or is it ok to just do as i do... time will tell i guess?
Step 2: Method 2: Wipe On
The bed and fence of an old Jointer i was given, all had a coating of fine rust - but are clearly to big to place int he Method 1 bucket.
- First dissemble the machinery part as required.
- For large parts with flat surfaces, fix them so the flat surface is level ( i used a vice)I then clamped the part in a vice gently, and used a level to get it flat - to help prevent vinegar run off..
- Spread out newspaper to catch any drips
- Pour small puddles of vinegar on the flat surface(Image 2) and spread it out with the paint brush (Image 3)
- After 30-60 minutes, but not quite long enough to let it dry...
- Using the piece of toweling - wipe off the rust scum on the surface (Image 6)
Then i repeated the whole process 2 or 3 times until the metal surface was pretty clean of any rust, then i finished off with;
- First a piece of steel wool, - wipe clean, (Image 5)
- Then the 800 grit with vinegar to clean up any remaining spots - don't sand to hard.
- Re wipe until the surface is clean and dry, and then pour on some solvent, ( i used kerosene) and wipe clean and dry(Image 7)
- When the surface was completely dry, then i rubbed the bee's wax over it, ensuring complete cover of the metal.(Image 8)
So far its still lovely and clean and man does the wood feed well now..! - i envisage i will need to re wax at sometime in the future...