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  1. #1
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    How to clean up and look after old tools

    Hi, I was lucky enough to be able to buy a fantastic and very complete set of bike tools off Craigslist.

    Some of the tools however have some rust, and are generally showing signs of being stored away for ~8 years with no use. How do I look after them now?

    Should I do anything to remove the rust?

    Should I just wipe with an oily rag?

    Do cutting and facing tools need any special care (eg different oils)?

    Any advice appreciated.
    Bruce.

  2. #2
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    Scotchbrite or fine wire wool is good, then wipe with oil.

  3. #3
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    If some are really rusty try evaporust, it works pretty well and doesn't eat the metal itself. You can pick it up at Harbor Freight if you have one in the area.

    Evapo-Rust rust remover description page

  4. #4
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    ELECTROLYTIC RUST REMOVAL It works, and is pretty fun to try.
    Voodoo Canzo 29er (sporting a Lefty) + Raleigh XXIX SS + Traitor Crusade SSCX + Lapierre Xelius XDJ

  5. #5
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    Take a moment to do a bit of additional research but I just learned that vinegar is great for removing rust. My father just cleaned a number of old tools using a vinegar soak. I have not yet tried it for myself but seeing as how easy it is to get vinegar it may be worth a shot.

  6. #6
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    ...further proving my ignorance, but when wiping the tool down with an oily rag after use, does it matter what sort of oil to use? I bought some 5-40 motor oil but am now second guessing that purchase.

    What oil do you recommend?

  7. #7
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    WD-40 works pretty good for tool storage. You don't need anything as heavy as motor oil.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by mechantbruce View Post
    Hi, I was lucky enough to be able to buy a fantastic and very complete set of bike tools off Craigslist.

    Some of the tools however have some rust, and are generally showing signs of being stored away for ~8 years with no use. How do I look after them now?

    Should I do anything to remove the rust?

    Should I just wipe with an oily rag?

    Do cutting and facing tools need any special care (eg different oils)?

    Any advice appreciated.
    Bruce.
    400 grit sandpaper and then oil. Tools should always have a light coat of oil. I have precisionon measurement tools that are from like 1950, carbon steel, still in extremely good condition. Always oiled. sure steel darkens but it wont rust with oil, ANY oil.

    Also for long time storage, soak in oil and then wrap oil soaked brown paper around the tools and they will never ever rust.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.

    Quote Originally Posted by iheartbicycles View Post
    Specialized sucks ass.

  9. #9
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    Btw cutting tools are almost always made out of hss and thats very high alloyed steel, usually has several % of Cr, and t5his is needed for it to be a hss type steel, high speed steel means it can handle high heat, about 550deg C which also happens to be the standard tempering temperature, and if the tools are used a temperature lower than the tempering temp they will never go soft.

    If the tools are quiality tools they are made of hss, and if they are used they probably already have a light coat of oil on them. Hss is generally much more rust resistant than tool steel. Its half way to stainless basically.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.

    Quote Originally Posted by iheartbicycles View Post
    Specialized sucks ass.

  10. #10
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    WD40 is not an oil, it's a solvent. I don't use any oil on my tools at home but at the station (fire department) guys use motor oil to chain bar oil to 2-stroke oil to linseed oil.

    I like using penetrant oil (like PB Blaster or Zepreserve) or Linseed oil myself. Hell, even mink oil for boots wold work well. Motor oil just smells bad.

  11. #11
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    Thanks for all the tips. I have gone through and wiped all my tools down with oil.

    I did try ELECTROLYTIC RUST REMOVAL as suggested above. It did work, and it is fun, but at ~5 hours per tool its going to take a while. Here is a before and after of a drill blade I did as a test before subjecting any of my bike tools to it;

    Before Electrolytic Rust Removal;


    After;


    Process described here; Electrolytic Rust Removal aka Magic
    Last edited by mechantbruce; 11-03-2012 at 05:00 PM. Reason: before image wasn't showing up

  12. #12
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    It's a neat trick to fix rusty things, and definitely the way to go to preserve the tool itself. Grinding or using steel wool can change the tolerances of fine tools, especially wrenches.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoban View Post
    WD40 is not an oil, it's a solvent. I don't use any oil on my tools at home but at the station (fire department) guys use motor oil to chain bar oil to 2-stroke oil to linseed oil.

    I like using penetrant oil (like PB Blaster or Zepreserve) or Linseed oil myself. Hell, even mink oil for boots wold work well. Motor oil just smells bad.
    WD-40 is actually a good application for this as you're trying to prevent corrosion.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by bad mechanic View Post
    WD-40 is actually a good application for this as you're trying to prevent corrosion.
    exactly. It's easy to remove which is important if your coating hand tools with the stuff.

  15. #15
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    A light PERMANENT coating of oil on tools is not exactly a bad thing! IMO.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.

    Quote Originally Posted by iheartbicycles View Post
    Specialized sucks ass.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by car bone View Post
    A light PERMANENT coating of oil on tools is not exactly a bad thing! IMO.
    As long as you don't need to hold on to it.

  17. #17
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    I always work with gloves I mean you get dirty anyway. Why get dirty at all?
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.

    Quote Originally Posted by iheartbicycles View Post
    Specialized sucks ass.

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