While it sleeps. . .
Electrolytic Rust Removal
© Frank Ford 2005; Photos by FF

I bought this little plane at a garage sale, and it sure is orange with rust!

Thanks to the Internet, I've been reading about this cool way to eat rust using simple household gear.  All I have to do is mix up some baking soda in water in a plastic container, and connect the negative lead from my regular car battery charger to the rusty item and the positive lead to a piece of steel.  Immersing both items in the solution, making sure they don't actually touch, I simply turn on the juice, and bubbles come streaming off as the rust is eaten away:


I can retrieve the plane body in a few minutes after the rusty areas have all turned black:

And, after just a quick wipe with a towel, the rust is simply gone:

What a simple and effective technique!

My old Unisaw lives in a shed most of the year, and recently I noticed a bit of rust forming on the table surface:

Just for fun, I thought I'd try using the electrolytic technique on it.  I brought out my battery charger and mixed up my baking soda solution, dunked a small hand dowel in the liquid, and laid the wet towel over some of the rusty area:

Then, on top of the towel, I laid a steel sheet, making sure it didn't touch the table directly, and connected up my battery charger with the negative lead on the table, positive on the steel strip:

I used a nonmetallic weight to press the sheet down relatively flat:

Just as with the plane body, it made short work of the rust:

Those white spots are just little foamy areas of the electrolyte that formed as I lifted off the towel.

A quick wipe to clean the black gunk off:


And, would you look a that?  The rust was simply erased:


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