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Rusty blade cleaning?

Themanwho

LE
Book Reviewer
I have an angle grinder, don't want to spend any cash and don't want to spend hours on the job.

I was more after a "don't do that, or you'll knack it", but since no one has warned me...
Don't do that or you'll knack it.


Too late Ethel.
 
Off thread but anyone have any tips on restoring the guard of an 1897 pattern Infantry Officer's Sword? My grandfather's WW1 vintage - zero TLC since he passed but now it's come into my possession I'd like to buff it up a bit.
 

HE117

LE
That's the main benefit of citric acid, its totally safe, non toxic, non polluting and you need no PPE.

Plus it works just as good as anything else, even electrolysis.
...except it can get into the metal grain structure and give longer term problems!

It very much depends on the metal and its structure.. acid treatments, although effective at removing rust, can leave the metal "activated" and in a state that will cause rusting to continue. You need to "passivate" the metal after treatment to stop this happening. This is what happens when you use acid flux for soldering.. the joint will almost rust before your eyes unless you very quickly treat it. Boiling is good..

This is basically the same process as rust bluing or browning.. you use an acid to kick off the rusting process and then card off the rust. You then boil the rust layer to passivate it and turn the brown blue...
 

Oyibo

LE
That's the main benefit of citric acid, its totally safe, non toxic, non polluting and you need no PPE.

Plus it works just as good as anything else, even electrolysis.

I popped out this afternoon and bought 2Kgs of citric acid crystals. Just testing a solution of them on an old casserole and a rusty spokeshave.

Any top tips?
 
Disagree with going backwards on the stone. It actually makes my skin crawl as it rolls the edge.

Move the metal into the metal by pushing forward on a stone. Pull it back and it either rolls the edge, or strips the metal off the blade.

I was taught the art of moving metal when I had to do lead roofing as part of my plumbing course - the instructor was old school, really old school, and had worked on cathedral renovation projects.

iu


Rolls created by moving lead with lead bashing tools and not by cutting and soldering.
 

Oyibo

LE
It speeds up the process if you keep the solution hot or even just warm.

Thanks - I should have taken a 'before' photo. There's some satisfying bubbles coming off the spokeshave. I've just popped it on the hob to see what happens!
 
Looks like there's been a bit of clumsy grinding on the blade. Might be a need for a wire brush, and then heavy duty polishing compound using a bench grinder (with wire brush and polishing wheel).

Here's one of my utilitarian ones (I haven't cleaned it for some time). I've only ever used wire wool on the main part of the blade, and it comes up well, although the photos don't show it. The blade is a double grind to answer someone's earlier question:

View attachment 504660

View attachment 504662

This one is Pakistani. It holds a very good edge.

As suggested earlier, might be worth getting someone who knows what they're talking about (not me) to advise you.

Sabre ground. Gives a stronger edge for utility knives than hollow ground.
 
I found today an Opinel 8 that I thought I had lost or was stolen.
Sadly the blade now has some light rusting. Grandad would have put engine oil into a jar, and pushed the blade in and out of that to clean it.
Is there something better?
Ordinary Vinegar if the blade is not blued

Soak it for 3 days then use 0000 Bronze wool (It wont scratch into the steel as steel wool can)

Alternatively a mix of kerosene and penetrating oil
EDIT
I once helped restore a Maxim 08/15 that had extensive surface rust, not pitted but had been in an attic in a humid place

We used Kroil and wood followed by Bronze wool
 
Last edited:

Oyibo

LE
Neutralise it once done as @HE117 suggests.

You'll be glad to know that the cast iron casserole is a Proudly South African one bought in Boardmans many years ago - I'm not sure that the acid can get rid of the delicacies we have plastered it with for over 15 years.

Spokeshave is coming along a treat though.
 
Wouldn't bother stripping the casserole down. Give it a good clean with a bit of steel wool to get rid of any chunky nasties, rinse well and then get yourself two or three pounds of pork spek. Dice and chuck in the casserole dish on a medium heat on the stove to cook out the lard. Use lard for eggs, bacon and other tasty treats and scoff the kaaiings remaining once cool with a light sprinkle of salt.

Make sure the grease coats everything inside, wipe lightly with a cloth once seasoned and store somewhere dry.
 

HE117

LE
Ordinary Vinegar if the blade is not blued

Soak it for 3 days then use 0000 Bronze wool (It wont scratch into the steel as steel wool can)

Alternatively a mix of kerosene and penetrating oil
EDIT
I once helped restore a Maxim 08/15 that had extensive surface rust, not pitted but had been in an attic in a humid place

We used Kroil and wood followed by Bronze wool
Bronze wool is not a thing in Europe.. 0000 steel wool is just as good and is made by Trollull in Germany..
 

HE117

LE
Move the metal into the metal by pushing forward on a stone. Pull it back and it either rolls the edge, or strips the metal off the blade.

I was taught the art of moving metal when I had to do lead roofing as part of my plumbing course - the instructor was old school, really old school, and had worked on cathedral renovation projects.

iu


Rolls created by moving lead with lead bashing tools and not by cutting and soldering.
Interesting stuff lead.. it has no elastic properties at all, and acts more like a liquid at room temperature. It also behaves the same way as red hot iron..

This is a major issue when you try and replace lead bullets with brass or other metals.. lead distorts or breaks up when it hits something and does not bounce back. Other metals do not, and have a nasty habit of ricocheting considerable distances..
 

Oyibo

LE
Wouldn't bother stripping the casserole down. Give it a good clean with a bit of steel wool to get rid of any chunky nasties, rinse well and then get yourself two or three pounds of pork spek. Dice and chuck in the casserole dish on a medium heat on the stove to cook out the lard. Use lard for eggs, bacon and other tasty treats and scoff the kaaiings remaining once cool with a light sprinkle of salt.

Make sure the grease coats everything inside, wipe lightly with a cloth once seasoned and store somewhere dry.

It's an enamelled casserole - trust me, tungsten carbide would shatter on hitting the crud from leftover stews we have made. I am curious to see what acid will do. I'm not even going to try the poitjies.

On another note, I took the spokeshave out and cooled it down under running water , and once cool and wiped dry gave it a quick shot of WD40 to stop any oxydisation. The rust has completely gone. So has any shine. Every bit of metal is a tactical matt grey. I have the world's first sneaky-beaky spokeshave. (I suspect I left it in the acid for too long.)
 
Ah, OK. The enamelled ones are cool too. Bit of acid should shift the crud.

Spokeshave sounds like you gave it a bit of light surface pitting/oxidation in the acid. Watch that it doesn't continue rusting on the sly.
 

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