I have tried everything when it comes to rust removal. Chemicals make your shop smell funny, and can destroy a concrete floor. Sand blasting turns your workspace into a beach, and is way to harsh on metal for what I do.
Today I will show you how to use a very simple houshold item to bring your "red bricks" back to life.
We'll start by finding an appropriat brick to be restored. This one as you can see is to fare gone to be restored. Lets try an other one and see how it goes.
That's better, this one is in much better shape. It still has the general shape of the tool and will clean up nicely. Some of the screws and the adjustment nut are rusted almost solid, but what I have will losen them up and make them usable again.
If you have the money to go out and buy the bead blasting equipment, or expensive, poisonous chemicals to "profeshonaly" clean this thing maybe you have enough money to make me a lone? No? Well, neither do I. So, make a trip down to the frendly dollar general, or dollar store of your choice and pick up these items:
-a pack of brillo pads
-any water tight container big enough to submerce your "red brick" into
Vinegar. Yes vinegar, any type or brand will do, but I've found that apple cider vinegar seems to work best.
One note of caution. Get a container MUCH biger than you think you will need. I garantee you will always need a bigger container than what you think. I restore a lot of hand saws so I needed somthing long and flat to set them into. It still isn't big enough.
You will need enough vinegar to completly submerse your "red brick into" so make sure you buy enough. And its cheap! So buy one extra just to be sure. Vinegare is pretty usful so having a bottle around the house should'nt be a bother.
Now comes the hard part. Drop the brick in the vinegar and leave it alone. Let it sit for at least four hours, but if you don't mind the wait go ahead and leave it in the dip over night.
WARNING: this process is not to be attempted by cartoon characters of any kind. Exposure to the chemicals found in the vat may lead to total and permanant disintegration.
Humans may disgard previous warning.
Now for the part thats so simple, a dishwasher can do it. Grab some steel wool, or even better a green brillo pad and go to town on the sucker. It will shine up like a brand new penny in no time. Just be sure that as soon as you are done you get it painted. If you want to keep the metal exposed then get some oil or wax on it "emediatly" or that rust will just crawl back onto it.
Some metals will create a thick black slime on the wrench in question. I think that is litteraly ink. Like the iron oxide ink used in old books and your great grand-dads marine tattoo. I wouldn't use it for that though.
This process doesn't seem to harm anything other than the rust any more than water. Wood tool handles however will absorb the iron from the vat and change the grain funny collors. Looks cool, but remove the handles before putting them in the vat if you want them to stay looking the same.
Also, a word to the wise. As far as I know there is nothing in vinegar that will hurt you. Old tools somtimes used lead based paint, and had zinc plated parts. What that will do to you I can't tell. So, use the gloves. Besides, vinegar in an open wound hurts like a bee sting.
When you're done this is what it should look like. Its not hard, but it takes some time for the vinegar to do it's job. This isn't the first item I cleaned like this and it won't be the last. I'll post more info, pics, and links to mor info as they come down the pipe.
Thanks for reading, and take care!