A Chemistry Experiment

Rust is the eternal enemy of tools. Some have a degree of protection, whether that is the inclusion of Chromium as an alloy, being made from Aluminium (and thus having an Aluminium Oxide layer), or another coating added (paint, plastic, etc), but many others do not, and rust is soon to follow.

I’ve been looking for a way to easily reverse the chemical process, and have been giving Oxalic Acid a try. Readily available as a timber cleaning product, it is often used to remove the dead (grey) cells from a piece of timber to reveal its normal colouring.


I’ve started with a couple of rusted posts, and have graduated to a whole collection from the Torque Workcentre.


The liquid forms a great deal of tiny bubbles in the vicinity, so it is obviously doing something. I left a couple of test pieces for days, and it seemed to work, so graduated to the remaining collection (seen above). After a couple of days, I came back to it for a view.


Think the acid is basically exhausted, so after a look at the progress, I have emptied out the first bath, and refilled.


You can see the progress easily enough. But as I’m not sure, I’ve refreshed the bath for an additional go.

The earlier parts seems to be better (and they were in twice as long), so worth pursuing.


An interesting (ongoing) experiement. Got any other suggestions, pitch them in. There is an interesting situation where there is a skin forming in the liquid.

If anyone knows the mechanism (chemistry) here, let me know.

If they come out cleaner than that after another few days, will post an update photo. Any better rust removers that you know of (and I already know about the elbow grease one!)?


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