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Old 08-11-2011, 02:58 PM   #1
1991Syclone
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Default Cleaning rusty tools / will vinegar work?

I have done my searches and know that there are two main ways to remove rust from old metal, one being electrolysis and the other using either vinegar or molasses. I'm trying to figure out which one would be best for these tools.

Back Story

My father-in-law is in his 70's and not the most handy of folks, so I bought him a cheapie all in one kind of tool kit since I could never find anything to use when I was over there and he needed something repaired. I would go down to the storage area and look through this old red tool box not paying much attention to the rusty tools inside of it.

Well, after getting into my garage reorganization I started surfing here and realized that there were some decent quality older wrenches in that tool box but they were all rusty. I was over there working on the boat today and decided to bring the box home and see what there was.



There are a number of older Craftsman wrenches, some Plomb, Dunlap, Vlchek, Proto, Billings and other no-name ones, but they are typically all made in the USA. I believe a lot of these tools came from his father which would put them between 50-60 years old at least, but I can't confirm that.

The worst one of all is this 12" adjustable wrench made by the Diamond Calk Horseshoe Co. from Duluth Minnesota. Here's an old thread about the company, and here's the wrench:





My first idea was to soak them in Vinegar to see how that does, but I don't know if this is too rusty for that to work. Also, what's the recommended cleaning procedure to be used before attempting to soak them?

Spray them with simple green and scrub all the gunk off? Use brake clean? Looking for some insight into those that have done this before. What about the wrenches that are chrome vanadium? It looks like they've been used heavily enough that the chrome is coming off some of them.
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Old 08-11-2011, 03:02 PM   #2
VWandDodge
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Default Re: Cleaning rusty tools / will vinegar work?

I would clean them in a solvent tank first and allow them to dry. After that, have them soda blasted or make your own and do it yourself.
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Old 08-11-2011, 03:05 PM   #3
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Default Re: Cleaning rusty tools / will vinegar work?

Don't forget evaporust. http://www.evapo-rust.com/

Just, no wire wheels.
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Old 08-11-2011, 03:28 PM   #4
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Default Re: Cleaning rusty tools / will vinegar work?

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Don't forget evaporust. http://www.evapo-rust.com/

Just, no wire wheels.
X2 on the Evaporust....that shit works great...
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Old 08-11-2011, 03:33 PM   #5
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After that, have them soda blasted or make your own and do it yourself.
Thanks for a great link! Appreciate it.
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Old 08-11-2011, 03:56 PM   #6
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Default Re: Cleaning rusty tools / will vinegar work?

C-L-R works pretty good, too. with a little scrubbing.
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Old 08-11-2011, 04:07 PM   #7
1991Syclone
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Default Re: Cleaning rusty tools / will vinegar work?

I now have the two worst tools sitting in the evapo-rust. We'll see how it works. Thank you for the recommendations!
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Old 08-11-2011, 04:48 PM   #8
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Default Re: Cleaning rusty tools / will vinegar work?

i say dump'm in a bucket of vinegar for a couple of days and let us know how it works..
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Old 08-11-2011, 05:05 PM   #9
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Default Re: Cleaning rusty tools / will vinegar work?

Vinegar works great. What I used at work since we have so many acids is that I used a concentrated acetic acid (what vinegar is but watered down) and I could watch the reaction take place it was so strong. Got some clean bolts, but they rusted again very quickly because I didn't clean them off too well. (should've soaked them in acetone, me thinks.)
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Old 08-11-2011, 06:06 PM   #10
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Default Re: Cleaning rusty tools / will vinegar work?

Evaporust = vinegar

But vinegar is a fraction of the cost.

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Old 08-11-2011, 06:46 PM   #11
1991Syclone
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Default Re: Cleaning rusty tools / will vinegar work?

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Evaporust = vinegar

But vinegar is a fraction of the cost.

Steve
Damn... now I know. Although the Evaporust doesn't stink like vinegar which means I don't have to listen to anyone bitch about the smell... It works damn well too.

Next question is what to coat the tools with once they are clean so that they don't rust again?
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Old 08-11-2011, 06:56 PM   #12
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Default Re: Cleaning rusty tools / will vinegar work?

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Damn... now I know. Although the Evaporust doesn't stink like vinegar which means I don't have to listen to anyone bitch about the smell... It works damn well too.

Next question is what to coat the tools with once they are clean so that they don't rust again?
Just wipe them down with some light machine oil.
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Old 08-11-2011, 07:40 PM   #13
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Default Re: Cleaning rusty tools / will vinegar work?

Just make sure to clean them good, first. I was using a concentrated acid so the residue just quickened oxidation. With vinegar, you won't have to worry so much.
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Old 08-11-2011, 07:47 PM   #14
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Default Re: Cleaning rusty tools / will vinegar work?

I tested vinegar "acid" on old rusty chisel, It took about 24 hour to remove all the rust. But the surface is almost black after the process. Not what I was hoping for. Any ideas?
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Old 08-11-2011, 07:59 PM   #15
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Default Re: Cleaning rusty tools / will vinegar work?

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I tested vinegar "acid" on old rusty chisel, It took about 24 hour to remove all the rust. But the surface is almost black after the process. Not what I was hoping for. Any ideas?
Scotch brite and some WD-40 (or water and soap,) or an SOS pad and water.
That's what I use to remove the black after electrolysis.

Never did try vinegar "acid" yet though.
I would think the above would work though.

I have meant to try vinegar on some old files I have.
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Old 08-11-2011, 07:59 PM   #16
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Default Re: Cleaning rusty tools / will vinegar work?

Those tools are just begging for the electrolysis method....

Here's the last batch I did:

http://www.garagejournal.com/forum/s...d.php?t=112767
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Old 08-11-2011, 08:03 PM   #17
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Default Re: Cleaning rusty tools / will vinegar work?

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Originally Posted by 1991Syclone View Post

Next question is what to coat the tools with once they are clean so that they don't rust again?
Some guys use paste wax like on woodworking planes and saws, where you don't want oil on them.
Or Boeshield (sp?)
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Old 08-11-2011, 08:18 PM   #18
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Default Re: Cleaning rusty tools / will vinegar work?

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Originally Posted by Alchymist View Post
Those tools are just begging for the electrolysis method....

Here's the last batch I did:

http://www.garagejournal.com/forum/s...d.php?t=112767
They look good. I like the surface electrolysis and scotch brite gives you.
Here are some before and after of a Stanley plane.

OK, After and before; Open in new Tab for better photo.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg st Done.jpg (97.2 KB, 119 views)
File Type: jpg St1.jpg (88.1 KB, 135 views)
File Type: jpg # 7 Before.jpg (68.8 KB, 118 views)
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Old 08-11-2011, 08:34 PM   #19
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Default Re: Cleaning rusty tools / will vinegar work?

After the rust is removed via Vinegar - - wash them down with mild soap and water, then rinse them well. After that wipe them down with Ospho. Ospho is a mild solution of phosphoric acid - and it will kill and prevent flash rust on bare metals. If you have left any surface rust - it will turn that into iron phosphate.. and look dark gray to black.. { not what you want}. So make sure all the surface rust is removed before applying the Ospho.

Let the Ospho work for at least 6 hours - then rinse with lots of fresh water. Then wipe or blow them dry. Don't worry about the water causing rust as the Ospho leaves a protective film at the molecular level. That alone will prevent the formation of surface rust on bare metal for 15 to 30 days.

To prevent farther surface rust - as someone said earlier - just wipe them down with any machine oil, or Marvel Mystery Oil. I use KROIL to wipe mine down with.. Some guys use Gibbs Gun Oil with good results as well.

FWIW,
Carl B.
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Old 08-11-2011, 08:42 PM   #20
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Default Re: Cleaning rusty tools / will vinegar work?

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Originally Posted by mrbreezeet1 View Post
Scotch brite and some WD-40 (or water and soap,) or an SOS pad and water.
That's what I use to remove the black after electrolysis.

Never did try vinegar "acid" yet though.
I would think the above would work though.

I have meant to try vinegar on some old files I have.
Thanks.

My "vinegar acid" is some stuff made locally and possibly something is lost in my translation. However is says you have to add 2 parts water to make "table vinegar" and the smell is bad, so I guess this stuff is pretty close to vinegar, just lower PH.
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