Reply To: Rust removal from tools

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Michael Evans

Let me say up front that I restore tools for use and do not attempt to make them look “new” again. After putting hundreds of old tools back into working order I have found that the chemicals for metal offer little real advantage over abrasives and wire wheels and wire brushes. The possible exception is tools with a lot of deep recesses that are difficult to reach otherwise. I know that may offend some purists into museum quality restoration but all of my tools are “users”, and have little true collector value in their original condition in spite of the fact that many of them are between one hundred and two hundred years old. In fact, nearly all tools treated with de-rusting chemicals will need wire brushing and/or abrasives anyway. If you do have a true collectable then, in my humble opinion, you shouldn’t be attempting to restore it anyway unless you are convinced that you can do no harm. A general application of WD40 (which contains some wax) along with an application of light lubrication on threads and other mechanical surfaces is usually sufficient to prevent a reoccurrence of rust. In extreme humidity situations or where tools will be stored for an extended period I apply a light coat of mineral oil. There are so many tools in my “pile” that I can’t possibly use them all but I do inspect them at least annually and seldom find any new rust. I know that there will be other opinions on the subject and if your method works for you, great. My method has served me better than any oh the other methods I have tried. Have fun.