Rusty tools restoration

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GBarb
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Rusty tools restoration

Post by GBarb »

Hi Guys,

I thought i would photograph a few of the things i did to my carbon steel tools to remove the rust and crud buildup from neglect over the years, and put a protective coating on them again.

i didnt get a picture before hand, with the rust on the tools, but i did get a picture of the solution after 36 hours of soaking.

First i used inox to try and strip the rust, and hit it with wet and dry, man what an effort, and didnt really yield the results i was looking for.

So then i mixed up some vinegar and a teaspoon of citric acid in a tupperware container, enough to cover the tools.

This is the first picture.
11.jpg
I then rinsed these off in warm water and hit them with steel wool to take off the majority of the patina and gunk, getting in and around the crevices etc.
12.jpg
i then dried them off with paper towel and set my oven (fan forced) to max (250 degrees) and got it roaring hot.

When the oven was pre heated, i wiped the tooles down with canola oil and put them in for 45 minutes, and then once finished, left them there for half an hour without opening the oven.

I then opened the oven and wiped down tools with more oil, while still very hot (almost too hot to hold through a folded tea towel)

You can see the patina and seal from the oil, just like with seasoned cast iron.
13.jpg
14.jpg
15.jpg
Once they are cool, ill be wiping them off and storing them, perhaps ill do a few targeted sprays of inox/WD-40 on the rivets.
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Re: Rusty tools restoration

Post by Jow »

Nice result Gbarb.

The original black coating is a black oxide coating so it is very hard to remove rust from tools without taking the black finish off (which is essentially also a form of rust) with it.

The oil finish is a good idea but with heat you have to be careful to not effect temper too much. But this is probably dependant on the steel used and heat treating temps utilised originally. That said 250-300 is getting very close to tempering heats of certain steels. Linseed oil can make a more robust finish on steel than most cooking oils and forms a good film with heat and without. It is a popular finish with blacksmiths and the likes. Might be another option.

I've done a similar thing with some of my tools but used a cold bluing product to restore the black finish with OK results.

https://nichigobonsai.com/2020/08/07/bo ... storation/

I've just bought some nickle anodes so am about to try some DIY plating as another option. I'll let you know how it goes.
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Re: Rusty tools restoration

Post by GBarb »

Good point about the tempering Jow, but in a conventional oven, at least for that period of time, I don’t think I would have done any harm.

But, now that I think of it, I may have been better to just oil the bejesus out of it and then simply dry in the oven at 100 degrees to bake the oil in.

Either way I think it went well, if they fail I’ll report, and Then I’ll have to get a new set of tools, which will be just terrible..........
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Re: Rusty tools restoration

Post by Jow »

Temper temps are really dependant on the steel in question and i have no idea what steels bonsai tools use. I am assuming some carbon tool steel of one kind or another. You're probably fine with 250c but it can be a risk ( for reference O1 tool steel is tempered for knives at around 230c).
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Re: Rusty tools restoration

Post by MJL »

Thanks for these posts. Very informative.

I find WD-40, my bonsai tool eraser (I can't remember the name but a Japanese product that looks a pencil eraser that I used to use at school and perhaps a clump of that hobby steel wool - Medium (Grade 1) works ok but these tips will raise my game - thanks again.

Any good tips/sites on tool sharpening would be appreciated - I find mine are but I reckon I could improve my technique.
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Re: Rusty tools restoration

Post by GBarb »

This is really good.

https://youtu.be/D7ad0QJ-Zc8
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Re: Rusty tools restoration

Post by MJL »

Thank you - I'll watch with interest.
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Re: Rusty tools restoration

Post by robb63 »

Hi Barb
I have an old pair of Japanese scissors that I restored in a slightly similar way
Mine were new in 1970 then spent their time outdoors until 2015.
Not to mention the fact that some fool used them to cut fencing wire.
Anyhow my scissors unscrewed at the hinge which made it easier to restore them.
A grinding wheel & wire brush is all they needed apart from half a day of my time
I use them every day and prefer them to all my new Japanese tools bought more recently.
Well made tools I think are worth restoring despite the effort required
cheers
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Re: Rusty tools restoration

Post by wrcmad »

I clean up with a crean mate followed by a coating of lanolin oil - beautiful.
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Re: Rusty tools restoration

Post by MJL »

wrcmad wrote:I clean up with a crean mate followed by a coating of lanolin oil - beautiful.
‘Crean Mate’ yes - odd name but that’s the eraser type thing use ... must be something like compacted fine sandpaper ....


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Re: Rusty tools restoration

Post by pureheart »

After using any tools I always use crean mate and then camelia oil ( which apparently is very good to clean the pot exterior too ) it keeps them good as new


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