Lie Nielsen No. 4 Bronze Bench Plane

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Removing Rust From Hand Tools

There are two main methods to remove rust from hand tools. The first method is by some type of abrasion, the second is by chemical methods. Both methods can be very effective if done properly.

Abrasive Method of Rust Removal

The most common method of removing rust from tools is by abrasive methods. Even woodworking purists who claim to only use planes and scrapers surely have some sandpaper laying around. Rust, like steel, will abrade with the use of sandpaper. However, this method is not selective. The more you sand, the more metal you will remove. This method works well if the rust is limited.

I have found a product made by Klingspor called Sandflex (I've also heard it called Rust Eraser). This product looks like a rubber sanding block. Unlike a sanding block, this has the abrasive built into the block. I've found this product works as claimed and removes rust better than regular sandpaper. You can purchase the blocks in fine, medium or coarse.

Purchase Sandflex Blocks

Chemical Method of Rust Removal

The more modern method of rust removal is chemical removal. While this is nothing new, there are some relatively new products out there that are worth trying. I've tried two products with great success.

Spray on Method with Boeshield Rust Free

This product comes in a pump. I tested this on my Jet 6" jointer. Over the last two years this tool has started to rust much more than I'd like. The humidity of Wisconsin summers will do that. Rust Free is an acid that will eat away the rust rather rapidly. This is a nice advantage since removing rust is about as much fun as replacing jointer knives. To apply, just spray it on and wait a few minutes and then remove it with a cloth or paper towel. If the item is still rusted just repeat the procedure. Since rust is often concentrated in certain areas this works great for spot applications. It contains phosphoric acid, so for safety I recommend wearing gloves and safety goggles.

Purchase Boeshield Rust Free

Soak Method with Evaporust

The soak method of chemical rust removal is my preference. However, this is only useful for tools that can be submerged. This all but excludes any stationary power tools. This product is said to be nontoxic and nonflammable. That is a nice bonus. Anyway, the manufacturer says it only removes rust and not metal. In my test, I would agree. On the sharpened areas that don't have rust I don't notice any etching or dulling of the tools. This is a very good quality since the item is completely submerged in the solution. Keep in mind, the areas where the rust was removed will looked etched because it doesn't replace the metal, it just removes the rust.

Purchase Evapo-Rust


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