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Rusty Tools? No Worries!

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posted on Mar, 6 2014 @ 12:08 PM
Good afternoon fellow members!

I have been a locksmith for nearly a decade now, but we also offer a range of hardware products in our store. You have to diversify in this day and age, and our little three mile chunk of town does not have a hardware store, other than ours. So anyway, one of the things I am often asked to do is "fix" peoples rundown, rusted equipment. More often than not, all that is required is a little rust management.

Here is a pair of shears that came across my counter today...

As you can see, they were pitted with rust, gnarly, dusty, crusty and rusty. I have actually known people to throw tools in this condition out. Here is all the kit you will need, to rid yourself of any rust trouble you might be having with your garden tools...

Ignore the whetstone, because sharpening is a skill that many people learn differently, and this being the survival forum, I doubt that anyone who has ever read a thread in here would need assistance with that! Ignore the washing up liquid also, since I use that in conjunction with the stone.

Now... The image features one sheet of No.320 waterproof abrasive paper, and a sheet of P800 wet and dry sandpaper, as well as some three in one oil.

Take the shears, and unbolt the fastening that holds the shears together. Sometimes this may be a little stiff, and I find that a little three in one, and a swift smack with a small hammer tends to loosen them off nicely. Place the bolt, washer, and anything else which happens to be part of that fastening (models vary in terms of how the blades are married), on the side, and clear of your work area. Now, pick up either blade, and lay it on your workbench. You will see that they are a pain to lay flat, so, assuming they are blunt, lay the blade down across your thigh.

If you are not a total moron, you will not be able to injure yourself doing this, although if you do happen to be that certain kind of special, warning... Idiocy can lead to femoral artery bleeds.

Snatch up your 320 grit paper, and take off a small square, about 40mm on a side, from the sheet. Drop some three in one oil onto the rusted surface of the blade. I tend to apply a line roughly the length of the blade at first. Rub the living hell out of that blade with the paper. You will need to clean the rust filled oil off the blade and tear off more paper, and repeat the elbow grease laden rubbing, until one side of the blade looks more like this...

Once this level of shiny has been achieved, you will want to make sure you caught any stubborn areas of rust, just check the thing over a little bit. Then, have at it with the finer P800 paper. It is much finer, and it is this paper which will provide a nice smooth finish to the blades. Use it dry. You will note, that the blade looks much shinier once this has been done.

Now, do exactly the same for the reverse side of the first blade, and both sides of the second blade.

Now that both bits of metal have been returned to a decent state, take some more three in one oil on a rag, and rub down both blades. Get them good and coated in the stuff, to ensure that any moisture they come into contact with, has to penetrate a significant barrier before getting to the metal beneath the coating.

This complete, remarry the blades using the fastenings provided, and then add just a little more three in one between the blades, at the pivot point.

And there you have it. A perfectly decent pair of shears, that less than an hour previously were so rusted that they could not be used. A word on epoxy coatings, and anti-corrosive coatings on all but the most expensive tools...

They are rubbish. Uniformly, and totally rubbish. If you see rust on the surface of the blade, I do not give a damn whether the rest of the visible blade is coated in black paint, pink marshmallows or pure refined unicorn urine. If there is rust, rub that sucker down, because once breached, the coating is totally useless in virtually every case. Have no fear of rubbing down through the coating if it will chase rust away. All it will mean, is that you have to clean the blades more often, and that is no bad thing.

I hope you found this information useful. You will note, that at no time were any power buffers or bench mounted buffing tools used, so these methods will be just as good if the crap hits the fan, as they would be any other time. I personally find maintaining tools to be a very therapeutic activity, and rewarding. There is nothing quite as satisfying as returning something from a useless state, to a useful one.

posted on Mar, 6 2014 @ 12:12 PM
If I might add something here for smaller items which aren't as easy to work with?

A sonic cleaner (Harbor Freight type works very well for me) with a mix of White Vinegar, Distilled Water and a couple drops of Dawn dishwasher soap for surface tension issues...and it'll do the same or better. It won't do tools like that, and your methods are the best for large items, when possible. When it's just not workable though? A dip for 30 minutes in the sonic bath has taken the rust off padlocks and restored them to normal function, as one example.

I'm all for recycling old equipment rather than disposing and replacing. Great thread!

* One warning... don't use the above method to simply clean something. I cleaned a gun that way and found HOW clean it got it. The finish was stripped to bare metal. 100% stripped of everything... Ugh.... So use care, with that in mind.

posted on Mar, 6 2014 @ 12:14 PM
Nicely done and worded in places (Moron etc lol).

You just saved me as the wife was recently in her garden shed-planning this years stuff. And, of course, she wants all new tools/items (as she leaves stuff out in the rain and..............let's not go there).

Good presentation and USEFUL info.


posted on Mar, 6 2014 @ 12:21 PM
reply to post by TrueBrit

Great thread...
one of those deals that make me remember that something as simple as rust removal is to you and I---is a total mystery to others!

The only thing I do different is I use steel wool and penetrating oil
Steel wool is graded from the coarse 5 and 6 to the very fine grade 0000....Triple and quadruple grades leave a kind of polished surface for something like those looping sheers I would have used a 0 or 00.

BTW unlike sandpaper steel wool doesn't get all floppy from to much oil.
edit on 6-3-2014 by HardCorps because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 6 2014 @ 12:27 PM
reply to post by TrueBrit

I would have thought that a thread in this forum would have involved cleaning with things you can't really buy at a hardware store. Pretty standard stuff. Was hoping for more... you know... survival-ey. Using natural means, or things that you could acquire in an emergency, when most 'regular' supplies are going to be non-existent, or very rare.

Not bad other than that though. I learned about sandpaper and sharpening stones as a kid, something everyone should have a basic knowledge of.

posted on Mar, 6 2014 @ 12:36 PM
reply to post by Chronogoblin

well if you want
undiluted white vinegar works okay as a rust remover
so does ketchup to a lesser degree.
In my grandpa's shop he used Borax and lemon juice.
don't know if you can still buy Borax but if you live out in the western US you can dig up yourself--- see Borax is nothing more than a ground up mineral called Trona (trisodium hydrogendicarbonate dihydrate)
edit on 6-3-2014 by HardCorps because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 6 2014 @ 12:45 PM
Just the guy I need to see.

I found this behind one of the old barns. It was a play car that belonged to a friend of my Aunts when she grew up here and I think it was manufactured 1948-50 or so.

How would you take the rust off without ruining the hand painted detail. The petal mechanisms still work and I'm not much of a refurbish person(I'm not that old and feeble yet) but was wondering about removing the rust-it might show up at your business one day.

I can't find a clue where it was manufactured.

posted on Mar, 6 2014 @ 12:53 PM
Hey lots not pretend everybody knows the proper way to use a wetstone. how about wetstone 101? please

posted on Mar, 6 2014 @ 12:53 PM
reply to post by spooky24

My suggestion is to do nothing until you can talk to an antiques dealer.
Some of those old peddle cars are worth big Big BIG bucks!

BTW looks like a 1950"s Murry\ Champion Pedal Car????

posted on Mar, 6 2014 @ 12:55 PM
I used paper, then wool, then Flitz polish to strip a KaBar USMC of it's black coating. Turned out beautifully.

Flitz is great stuff.

posted on Mar, 6 2014 @ 01:00 PM
Good thread Brit, very useful info as hand powered tools may be all we have if the SHTF.
Bow saws, scythes, draw knives, axes, mauls, hatchets, brace bits and other such tools will be better than gold if well-maintained.
Keep them oiled, keep them sharp and keep them out of the weather.
A light soaking in mineral oil will keep wooden tool handles from drying and cracking.
Steel wool and a sanding block can be helpful in restoring a finish as well.
A small wire brush is great for knocking rust off of bolt threads or use a sharpened steel scribe point to scrape the area between the threads to knock really thick rust out.

There's always oil around if the SHTF.
Every gas engine has a crankcase full of it.

posted on Mar, 6 2014 @ 01:01 PM
might i suggest until the power goes out using a wire wheel on either a bench grinder or a handheld one, before sandpaper. works a whole lot faster.
i have had great success in removing rust on many tools and different items through the years at the shop.

posted on Mar, 6 2014 @ 01:02 PM
Great information. In a SHTF scenario it is important to keep those hedges looking good.

Seriously, This will save someone some $$ and give them a sense of accomplishment.

posted on Mar, 7 2014 @ 02:05 AM
For anyone concerned that this was not "survivaly" enough, I ought to explain, that the method would be the same whether you used sandpaper shop bought, or made some yourself by creating a resin from tree sap, or by animal skins left to soak in urine (which creates a very strong glue) coating a strip of cloth in it, then applying sand to it and leaving it to set.

The crucial thing is, if you are wandering the wilds, and you come across a totally abandoned dwelling, and you see apparently dead tools around, there will be things you can use, and even though they might look knackered, old bits of equipment can be bought back to function with relatively little difficulty.

Regarding removing rust without removing a valuable finish... That's not my area of expertise. Classic car restorers would probably be better with that than I am. I am all about saving the working metal so that it can still operate. That little car you have should probably be placed in the hands of such a person, because it looks old, and may be worth a penny or two, even in its current condition for all I know!

And regarding sonic baths...yes, that will work for small items, as would steel wool as an alternative to sandpaper. Thing is, sandpaper is easier to store than steel wool, because it is flat and therefore easier to take around with you in a pack, because it takes up less storage volume.

posted on Mar, 7 2014 @ 02:30 AM
You should also look into stainless steel mesh balls, like this.

You load this thing up with some Breakfree or WD-40, and scrub a rusty surface, and it'll clean up really fast. I've gotten rust spots off of firearms with them in seconds without ruining the bluing (YMMV!).

posted on Mar, 7 2014 @ 02:33 AM
Not trying to be a spelling Nazi, but the correct spelling is "whetstone."

As for the thread, very interesting, OP. Might I also suggest you can soak rusty tools, or metal of any kind, in Coca Cola for a while, and it also does the trick amazingly well.

posted on Mar, 7 2014 @ 02:54 AM
reply to post by TrueBrit

Navel jelly is awesome stuff. But to really amaze you is the use of ketchup. In construction many of my tools get rusted in cold and rainy weather. Soak in ketchup for 24 hours and wipe clean. The result will blow you away.

I stand corrected. A few hours of contact, 24hours for best results.

My sheers and trowels need the most care as they can be expensive to constantly replace.

If I can, I just do my best to work in sunny weather. Statewide in Alaska it's a hard place on tools, especially on the coastlines with salt in the air. Grrrrr!

S&F Brit, thanks.
edit on 7-3-2014 by AK907ICECOLD because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 7 2014 @ 05:47 AM
Incidentally, my pictures appear to have been placed in the thread, upside down. I have no idea why that has happened, and I apologise. When I actually authored the thread, they were the correctly oriented, and now, they are upside down! I do not have a clue why!

posted on Mar, 7 2014 @ 05:51 AM

Incidentally, my pictures appear to have been placed in the thread, upside down. I have no idea why that has happened, and I apologise. When I actually authored the thread, they were the correctly oriented, and now, they are upside down! I do not have a clue why!

Good to know. I thought I was drunk.

posted on Mar, 7 2014 @ 06:11 AM
Hi cheeky monkey!
I have some of my dad's old tools that need your treatment....guess what I'll be having a go at next?!
Thank you ( )

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