Cleaning rusty tools using vinegar??

Discussion in 'Edged Tools' started by WFR, Jan 24, 2013.

  1. WFR

    WFR Tracker

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    I have several old tools that have been exposed to the elements and have rust on them.
    I have been told that soaking them in vinegar will help remove the rust.
    How do you go about doing this?
    I can get a gallon of distilled white vinegar at Costco for a little over $3.
    I have a small plastic bucket.
    How long do you leave the tools in the vinegar?
    Any guidance would be appreciated.
    Thanks!
    WFR
     
  2. OutdoorEnvy

    OutdoorEnvy Guide

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    Leave them in as long as it takes. It can take anywhere from 1-5 days from my experience.
     
  3. harvey_birdman

    harvey_birdman Scout

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    +1 on 1-5 days.

    Also make sure you wash them good with soap and water when done. The black film that builds up on the steel is some nasty stuff.
     
  4. Ron

    Ron Guide

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    use a steel wirebrush or some sandpaper first. Than put it into the vinegar.
    Speeds up the proces and gives a smoother, better looking finish.
     
  5. Hank McMauser

    Hank McMauser Scout

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    I've had better luck using electrolyses. all you need is a power source(I use a car battery charger) a bucket ,some water with a little bit of baking soda, and some sacrificial junk steel you don't mind getting more rusty. if you look it up,there's plenty of tutorials online with better instruction than I could give you.I've even used the process to clean up corroded lawnmower carburetors.
     
  6. TSisk2

    TSisk2 Tracker Bushclass I

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    Wood handles

    I have a hatchet I want to do, do you reckon the vinegar would mess up the handle?
     
  7. BushMetal

    BushMetal Banned Member Banned

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    Until all the rust is gone.


    Brush it with a wire brush every few hours or at least once a day.

    When you have no more rust your done
     
  8. 2stoves

    2stoves Scout Bushclass I

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    My best guess is yes. I dumped an old knife with wood handle in vinegar and let it set over night. Wood handle swelled and seperated. I assume it would do the same to a hatchet handle if it was wood.
     
  9. MiddleWolf

    MiddleWolf Guide

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    Also look at Naval Jelly. I does some of the same things.
     
  10. vladimir

    vladimir Tracker

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    Second vote for electrolysis.

    For chemical treatments, I've switched to Ospho from Naval Jelly.
     
  11. barkeep8

    barkeep8 Scout

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    Friend just told me about this the other day. He is trying it now:

    Electrolysis tutorial

    http://www.instructables.com/id/Electrolytic-Rust-Removal-aka-Magic/
     
  12. Hank McMauser

    Hank McMauser Scout

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    for light rust go under the kitchen sink and grab some barkeepers friend it is a mild abrasive that also contains oxalic acid to help you wipe away the rust, I like to put it on with very little water so it makes a paste and rub it in.

    lol I just realized the poster above me is barkeep8, what a conicidence:32:
     
  13. giantslor

    giantslor Tracker

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    For smaller stuff, you can also scrub it with aluminum foil and water, or foil and vinegar. I think aluminum works in a similar way to the electrolysis method, but without the need for actually using electricity.
     
  14. TLewallen

    TLewallen Guide Bushclass I

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    Electrolysis has been the easiest and most thorough method I have found.
     
  15. WFR

    WFR Tracker

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    Okay,
    I dumped the 5 liters of white vinegar in a plastic bucket then put in a fireman's axe head and an old rusted pie iron.
    After 5 days the results are pretty amazing.

    Final step?
    Take them out, rinse with water then apply WD40 or some kind of oil to prevent rust?
    Thanks!
     
  16. 1066vik

    1066vik Guide

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    if you're going to cook with the pie iron, don't use WD-40 on it -- season it just like a cast iron skillet.
    wipe it with a generous coating of vegetable oil and bake it at 300-350 for an hour.

    on the axe head, you can wipe it down with used motor oil - or give it a coat of car wax.
     
  17. Shnick

    Shnick Bushwhacker Bushclass II

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    Anywhere up to about 4-5 days, if you want to conserve your vinegar put the item in a ziploc but DO NOT seal it up all the way.
    It'll offgas and it'll need to vent. POnce it's done soaking hit it with a bit of soap and water.
    Wipe dry then apply oil to the moving parts (like wire cutter hinges) and lightly coat with your favorite lightweight oil to prevent rusting.

    If it isnt too late, use these instructions to re-season cast iron cookware.

    I use mine, rinse off and put on a thin film of coconut oil.
    No soap, no scratch pads.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2013

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