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How to Remove Rust From Tools

Breathe new life into your work shop by learning how to remove rust from tools.

You use your tools for work, home improvement projects and anything in between. What happens, though, when your beloved tools become rusty? Or you find the perfect old ball peen hammer, but it’s covered in rust? With help from Blain’s Farm & Fleet, you can easily repair your rusty hand tools. Learn how to remove rust from tools and get started on your next home project.

How to Remove Rust From Tools With White Vinegar

How to Remove Rust From Tools
Give your rusty old tools a second chance! Learn how to remove rust from tools with help from Blain’s Farm & Fleet.

Whichever type of tool you’re repairing, it’s best to first examine the handle. If the metal part of the tool is really corroded, there’s a good chance the wooden handle is also in poor shape.

1. First, remove the metal head or blade from the wooden handle. You can saw off what’s left of the handle with a handsaw. Clamp the head or blade in a machinist’s vise and use a punch to get out the remaining part of the handle.

2. Soak the metal overnight in a bucket filled with a gallon of white vinegar. Cover the bucket with a lid or a piece of wood. After the tools have soaked overnight, use steel wool to remove the rust. You may need to try different coarseness levels, depending on the amount of rust built up on the tools.

3. Rinse the tools in clean water to wash away the vinegar and wipe dry with a shop towel. If you need to, you can smooth out any pitted surfaces with a disc sander. Be sure to wear eye protection when using the sander. For blades, use water sharpening stones to smooth out and resharpen the cutting edges.

4. Wipe the tools clean, and use an anti-rust metal primer to protect it from future damage. Paint the tools with an anti-rust paint. If you originally removed the wooden handle, you’ll need to replace it. There are replacement handles for hammers, axes and more.

How to Remove Rust From Tools With Baking Soda & Water

1. Mix baking soda and water to create a thick paste. Spread the paste on the tool’s rusted surface.

2. Let the paste soak in. You can scrub the paste off with a toothbrush or steel wool. Reapply the paste if it begins to dry. If it gets too dry, it can scratch the surface of the tools.

3. Rinse off the tools with clean water and wipe dry with a towel. Smooth out any rough or pitted surfaces with a disc sander. If you’re working with a blade, sharpen and smooth edges with a water stone.

4. Wipe the tools clean and prime them with a rust-preventive metal primer. Paint the primed tools with a rust-inhibiting paint for more protection against rust.

Once you have removed rust from the tools, it’s important to take proper care of them. Storing them in a dry area, such as a sealed tool box, will help prevent rust from building up. Consider installing a dehumidifier in your shop to control moisture. While it might seem expensive, think about the cost of your tools, too. For more information and how-to’s on tools, visit our hand tools blog.


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