Hand Tools

Re: electrolis
Response To:
electrolis ()

Jack Dover
You haven't overpaid, Eliot, in fact you had a very, very great deal.

Given that you access rust as "not too bad" I would recommend mechanical removal: scrape off as much as you can, wire brush carefully, sand the rest. In my experience this is the most gentle approach.

Evaporust is great for complex shapes like screws, handles, thumbscrews, etc. However it will react with the rust at least partially and form another form of iron oxide, dark color and very stable. The color is characteristic to the point where I can always tell whether an ebay vendor tried to clean up an item with Evaporust. I find it acceptable on small surfaces, but large flat areas just look better finely sanded. Of course you can evaporust it and sand, esp. when you busy with other non-woodworking aspects of your life (heresy, I know). If you go with Evaporust make sure a part is completely submerged, or it might etch the waterline so deep you won't sand it off ever.

Electrolysis should be the last effort in my opinion or maybe reserved for large volume restoration (could be your case btw). The thing that I don't like about it is it might erode surfaces if you're not careful. Besides, it requires quite an extensive surface prep, so if there's any japanning left - you'll have to remove it, and it's about as much work as wirebrushing all the rust. If you decide to go this route you would need a source of electrical current that has manual control. The popular choice is a car battery charger and pretty much any manual type will work. The best ones are those that can produce around 2A of current. Keep in mind that 2A can reduce your life expectancy to zero almost instantly, so treat with utmost respect.

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