Methods For Rust Removal From Antique Tools Without Destroying The Patina?

Last week, I helped my neighbour to move her mother – she’s coming to live with her as she can’t manage on her own any more. I collect old bicycles so I saw this and thought I would try it and it cleaned up the old parts really well. Wire brushes come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and many can be attached to a number of common power tools. The old standby rust remover chemicals contain either phosphoric or hydrochloric acid to dissolve the rust. These were some effective and easy-to-use methods for removing rust from metal outdoor furniture.

Additionally, consider if something in the environment that can be changed led to the rust problem to start with and make changes if it is possible and appropriate to do so. Acid is a great rust remover and can instantly clear small bits of rust from your DIY tools. The steel used for bike chains tends to rust, especially when exposed to salt on the roads, which is highly corrosive to steel. To prevent farther surface rust – as someone said earlier – just wipe them down with any machine oil, or Marvel Mystery Oil. He uses a brush to get into the crevices of the diagonal cutter and then allows the cutter to stay in the jelly for a short time.

Surface preparation prior to priming is critical, especially if there’s any old paint left on the item. But to avoid damaging the metal any further, it’s best to use the rind of the lemon or lime. Not only will cleaning be easier when the rust is new, you will minimize the potential for damage to your metal item. The surface of the tools that still appear rusty can be easily cleaned with an old toothbrush. Deeper rust issues may require more than just muscle, but this physical solution is a good first step. The test and what it means: Used to evaluate the rust removing capabilities of a test fluid.


I am by no means a metalsmith, but I have collected a library of easy techniques that can enable any moderately equipped hobbyist to clean metal to make it into shiny, working components again. Another option is to clean the iron with chemicals that contain phosphoric acid, like Naval Jelly. The rust will turn black, a sign the vinegar has done its work and the tool is ready to be cleaned. Many tool collectors believe that you should leave tools as found, so none of the character of the tool is scrubbed, wiped, or soaked away. The main precursors of rust are oxygen and water so make sure tools are less exposed to these elements.

By the way, white vinegar does work too and might be a bit cheaper in the long run. WD 40 is said to be mostly fish oil, and CLR says it’s environmentally safe, although I agree that vinegar must be safer. This works because Coca-Cola is loaded with phosphoric acid, which dissolves both iron and iron oxide (rust), but dissolves the iron oxide much more quickly. 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.

Rust tends to form on metal as a result of prolonged exposure to moisture, so it’s important to do your best to keep your belongings dry and out of the elements as much as possible. I threw away a jar of naval jelly when I found the tools, buit it was 30 years old. Frame components: If you have light rust and encapsulator paint is the quickest way to stop the rust and provide a finish which is presentable. Finally, drill a hole in the lip of the bucket for the 2 ends of the steel conductor wire to pass through. May help to shift it. I find strong hydrochloric acid very effective for removing rust stains from lab glassware.

If the tool is covered in oil or grime, wash it off using a sink scrubby and dish soap with warm water before you submerge it in the vinegar or coke bath. This will gradually build up protective layers of seasoning, making for a better cooking surface and guarding against rust. Spread this paste on the rusted metal surfaces, and scrub it off after some time.

Surfaces that were originally machined will be covered with a regular pattern of tool marks, most of which will reappear when the surface rust is removed. To reapply, simply cut off the used end of the potato and add more soap, letting it soak into the metal for more time. If the tool is not heavily rusted, the vinegar or coke bath can be avoided and you can skip straight to the cleanup process. Here are some ways to keep it from forming on your tools and to get rid of it if you’ve got it.