Friday, December 27, 2019

Happy Christmas, Rusty!

I hope your Christmas was enjoyable.  Mine was a smooth day.  One of the few this year.


I used to worry about rust.  I worked to keep it at bay, and tried every little trick I knew to clean it when it came.  Living within a 100 miles of the gulf, humidity is unavoidable. Machinery acts just like a glass of iced tea.  Cold front will chill it down, and then it'll sweat when it warms up.  Down here, our normal winter is a series of cold, dry fronts that back up as warm, humid fronts.

Since my tricks weren't working all that well, I had to learn some new ones.  



I've used several methods over the years.  Sanding, wire wheel, knotted wire wheel, sand blasting all have their place.  But on a machined or smooth surface, you are ruining that finish with those methods.

Before treatment


Vinegar - It will eat rust.  I wonder if it pulls iron from the surface as the part will be covered with a black film that needs a bit of scrubbing to remove.  It could be residue from the chemical transformation of rust, too.  The finish is usually frosted after the treatment.  I figure it is like Parkerizing, without the coating.  The resulting solution has a very metalic smell to it.  The smelly leftovers are easy to dispose of. I use hot water to wash it, and let it evaporate for a minute before hitting it with M1*.


After EvapoRust treatment

Evapo-Rust - It works like vinegar without the vinegar smell.  It leaves the same black coating on the part. The same metallic smell is evident and the part needs scrubbing a bit.  The finish is frosted.  It works very well.  Same process as vinegar for washing and treating.

Electrolysis - I did this on the foot of the Clausing drill press I reconditioned.  I hooked it backwards at first, and had some really nice looking sacrificial anodes for a couple hours.  Then, I reversed the leads.  It worked fine.  Just like it did for Mr. Pete.  The rusty part was pitted a bit deeper but did clean up well after I got it the right way round.



Hexavalent chrome warning:  

found via Bing image search




 WD-40 - I use this to remove the water from the item that needs protection.  It's what it was designed for, and it's good at it.  I wipe it off with a paper towel after flooding the part.

M1* - Starrett's M1* lube is great.  It evaporates to leave a thin film and it has done well to protect what I've applied it to.  You can find it on sale at times (Little Machine Shop)

CRC - I've got a test can of  350 and 400.  Testing will commence soon.

BLO - If you have a blacksmith type tool, heating it up, dipping in boiled linseed oil, then heating it again until dry will put a dark coating on it that is resistant to rust.  I've done that to several rough use tools.

VCI paper - I've unpacked tons of parts with this in the box.  I got a box of it for myself.  It's in most of my tool box drawers as a top cover.

Even with a coating of oil, or M1*, you have to keep up with the maintenance. 
If your tool acquisitions outstrip your ability to take care of them, you will have a rusty nightmare to fix.   Or a pile of rusty crap that others will paw through and wind up scrapping after you dirt nap.

No matter how you look at it, we are just stewards of what we have collected.  Someone else will inherit it and if it's in poor condition, they will trash it.  Make sure it's worth their time to sell it, or better yet, develop an apprentice.  

*   Okay, so, it appears that Starrett's M4 is really Starrett M1.  A memory is only as good as the paper it's written on.  And I didn't have any paper this morning.... heh....

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