Tool Restoration

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Electrolysis Setup and Supplies

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Rusty Stanley No. 10 Try Square

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Clean Away Grease & Grime First
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Try Square in Electrolysis Bath
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Hydrogen Bubbles Froming on the Handle of the Try Square
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Foam Pattern on Surface of Solution
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Gently Rub Away Sodium Oxide
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No. 10 Try Square After Electolysis
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Note Pitting cannot be restored

Rust Removal via Electolysis

Given herein is a description of methods and processes, and procedures that can be used to remove rust from antique tools. The techniques given here can also be used for any small metal object. The process I use is that posted in detail by Nathan Lindsey(1998). Given herein is a demonstration/summary of the "Electrolysis" technique as presented by Lindsey.

Required Setup and Supplies
  1. Non-conductive plastic container
  2. Two to Six Amp auto battery charger with amp meter
  3. A relatively flat piece of iron, steel, or stainless steel (I use a hand saw blade I got at a garage sale for $1)
  4. A box of Arm & Hammer "Washing Soda"
  5. Tablespoon measure
  6. Water
  7. Pair of kitchen gloves
  8. Non-metallic 3M Scoth Bright Finishing Pads product #10144NA
  9. Old tooth brush
  10. Johnson Paste Wax
  11. Roll of paper towels
  12. Old dishwasher detergent bottle filled with water
  13. Fan if performed in an inclosed space.

Connect the positive  (+ or red ) cable from the battery charger to the scrap saw blade ( sacraficial anode ) and connect the negative  (- or black ) cable to the rusty tool as shown in the figure.  Ensure that the scrap steel and rusty tool are not touching and the room is well ventelated before turing on battery charger. Typically the charger will indicate a current of one or two amperes. This is normal for a small tool such as a try square.
   After the current is applied a red substance named ferric oxide is formed on the sacrificial anode and typically clouds the solution into a red murky mess while percipating to the bottom on the tank. At the surface of the rusty tool Hydogen bubbles are formed and the oxygen in iron oxide (rust) in converted to sodium oxide.