Daily Wire Tip June 5: Removing Rust Without Damaging Tools

By on June 5, 2010
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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip
June 05, 2010

Question:

Unfortunately I live in a very humid state and my tools are beginning to show signs of rust. How do I remove the rust without damaging the tools?

Answer:

I did some research for you, and although there are several commercial products that are designed to remove rust from hand tools, I like this one the best. Found at auto supply stores, the product named Evapo-Rust claims to be the most environmentally friendly and easy to use. As this solution says that it will not harm plastic or wood, your hand tools can be safely submerged and soaked. You would then remove them and rinse with good clear water and use a rag to rub off the rust that has been loosened. Repeat this process as necessary, when the tools are clean, submerge them into the solution one more time and then allow them to air dry, as Evapo-Rust leaves a protective coating on the tool.

For natural, more gentle rust removal on your hand tools, try making a thin paste out of either salt or cream of tartar, mixed with either vinegar or lemon juice. Use a rag or old toothbrush to apply and scrub the rust off, rinse well and dry completely.

Believe it or not, Renaissance wax will help to prevent rust from forming on your tools. It takes a bit of work to rub on a couple of coats and then let it dry, but this wax will leave a hard coating that will prevent rust that can come from even the oil your fingers leave on your tools. If you are not going to be working for a while, you could lightly coat the metal parts of your tools with WD-40 (remembering to wipe them clean each time, before working with wire and stones).

Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong

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4 Comments

  1. avatar

    Shirley

    June 5, 2010 at 8:53 am

    I found a very good product to safe guard your tools and more.

    http://www.everbritecoatings.com/index.html

    How to Restore Metal, Protect Metal and Keep Metal Looking Its Best.
    Bring your Old, Faded, Dull Metal Back to Life. Everbrite and Protect a Clear, Protective Coatings restore faded metal and keep metal looking its best by preventing corrosion, oxidation, rust, tarnish, acid rain and more.

  2. avatar

    Mary Phillips

    June 5, 2010 at 10:43 am

    Excellent ideas – a big thanks from southern Florida!

  3. avatar

    Ginni Tutterow

    June 5, 2010 at 11:04 am

    One more cheap and eacy choice: Steel Wool graded 000 and finer (even more zeros) is polish grade, and can be used on rust as well. I use it to clean a metal flake painted finish without damaging the finish…the shine is still there afterwards!

  4. avatar

    Casey Willson

    June 5, 2010 at 11:09 am

    There is this little trick I learned from a painting on rocks book. The generic form of Mop N GLow (called Mop N Shine at the dollar general and family dollar stores here) makes an awesome coating. You must do a bit of experimenting to get it right but I use it on base metal findings (dipping before assembly) nickel wire work, sometimes on copper or even sterling when they’ll have a lot of skin contact. It will totally ruin spring clasps so those I use a tiny paint brush and coat the outside lightly.
    For tools I dip the tips, avoiding spring closures and such. No rust, fewer knicks in wire and tools when I use this. You certainly don’t want it on really high end jewelry but for the low end to mid grade its a big help, especially when you have customers with nickel allergies as it puts a polymer coating between metal and skin. I’ve only met two people in many years with an allergy to the coating itself.
    It can only be removed with ammonia so the items must be really clean!!
    I use a strainer or a small cleaning jar with a strainer container inside it for small things. And a paint brush for larger things or to keep it off shiney beads and cabs as it can turn ugly on them.
    Drain on a pad of GOOD paper towels. And be sure to blow through any thing that has “holes” or circles to prevent a film.
    Hope this helps.

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