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Files going rusty


#1

Hi,

I don’t know if you can help me with some advice. I am having
problems with my files going rusty. I keep them indoors in a dry
environment, but they still seem to rust. Is there anything that
you can suggest that I can do to firstly remove the rust and then
hopefully prevent it happening again?

Many thanks
Kind regards,
Linda Regan


#2

Do you by any chance store them above your pickle and what pickle
are you using? When I first learned, I used watered down muriatic
acid as my pickle and tools I kept nearby rusted from the fumes.

Jeanne

Jeanne Rhodes Moen
Kristiansand, Norway
http://www.jeanniusdesigns.com


#3

Hi Linda,

I’ve heard from several folks that dipping the files into an acidic
substance (sulphuric, hydrochloric…) will not only remove the rust
from the file but will also actually sharpen the files nicely. I,
personally, dipped copper clogged files into ferric chloride etching
solution for several minutes and they came out copper free and seem
to be sharper as well. I don’t think ferric will get rid of rust but
I’d try Hydrochloric (aka Muriatic) Acid. Don’t forget to neutralize
and rinse before putting away the files. I’ve also been told that
spraying the files with WD-40 during storage will prevent rust.
Seems to me that it might also lead to clogging the file up too and
would contaminate the filings being saved for recycle. You might try
storing the files in a silicon cloth/sock that gunowners store their
weapons in for extended periods. Most sporting goods/gun stores have
these for sale fairly cheaply.

Hope this helps. I really learn a lot when questions like this get
asked because some of these folks are really knowledgeable in these
areas.

Mike


#4

Hey Linda,

Sorry to hear about your files. Well What I do when rust strikes I
dip the patient (lol) in oil. NOT olive oil or machine oil but
petrol. DIESEL FUEL to be exact. I let them in for about an hour and
then scrub them down rigoursly with a steel brush in order to remove
the rust.

Now if you want to prevent rust from forming I would coat them with
a thin layer of machine oil and wrap them in rice paper. The paper
is there to prevent the oil from making a mess.

That’s it really. Hope everything works out ok.

Lee Lyssimachou
Lee Feenix Art Workshop
Greece


#5

Concerning the treatment of rusty files and the like:

What can be done about neglected, rusty stainless steel surgical
instruments? Can anything be done in this vein to restore them? Some
of them could be useful for other jobs (other than surgery), I
think, if they can be cleaned up. It is a shame to toss that
wonderful metal into a landfill site.

Footnote: I am not the one who left them in this state. Someone else
who shall go nameless is the culprit for such wanton neglect.


#6

I was told that by storing files in an air tight container and using
the silicone packets that come in leather shoe boxes often found in
vitamin bottles or anything to keep moisture out works great. You
know the packets that look like salt!


#7

While checking out this thread on preventing/cleaning rust on files,
I had a weird thought strike me. I wasn’t entirely sure whether it
was worth sharing, but I’ve seen some great threads on here sparked
by weird thoughts!

Here goes: I once read (in Arms and Armor of the Medieval Knight)
that early Viking swords were kept in scabbards lined with sheared
sheepskin. This was beneficial in three ways: the sword was
protected from motion inside its sheath, which helped prevent
dulling; the lay of the hair kept the sword from slipping out of the
scabbard, and (here’s the most pertinent bit) the lanolin in the
wool allegedly helped to curtail rusting of the iron blade.

I’d been meaning to get around to making a leather tool roll for my
files, which I like to keep in the bench drawer (where they are
currently rattling around dulling themselves). Maybe I can
scrounge up some sheepskin and try this out…a little worried that
the skin might actually hold excess moisture and cause problems, but
maybe it’s worth the experiment.

Penny for your thoughts?

Jessee Smith
www.silverspotstudio.com


#8

Not quite three years ago, David Huffman posted this solution to the
problem of removing rust (I’ve been meaning to try it, but haven’t
yet. Hope it helps! And-- thanks, David):

[Orchid] Electrolytic rust removal
https://orchid.ganoksin.com/t/electrolytic-rust-removal

Hi all; I recently posted a couple of URL’s describing the process of
using inexpensive and common equipment to remove rust from tools and
steel articles. I’m afraid those URL’s are of no use to us. I can
no long find the there. Here’s the process entirely:

The main thing you need is a battery charger (automotive type).
They’re about $30 at an auto parts store, probably less at a place
like Harbor Freight or Wal Mart. Any source of DC current will do,
the higher the amperage, the better. In theory, a 9-volt "wall wart"
will do, but it would take a long time for any larger article. You
also need a plastic container, a scrap sheet of metal, preferably
stainless steel, and some baking soda. Fill the bucket with water
and add a handful of baking soda, about a tablespoon per gallon.
Washing soda works well too, if you can find it. Some folks use lye
in their electrolyte, but the soda is non-toxic. Prepare your sheet
metal anode. Stainless sheet works best (since it holds up longer),
but a flattened tin can will do in a pinch. Wire the POSITIVE to
the scrap steel. This will be the anode. You’ll want to keep the
clamp out of the solution, or it will eventually dissolve too. You
need to connect the article to be cleaned to the NEGATIVE side of
the charger, again, keeping the clamp out of the solution. You’ve
got to make a connection on a clean spot on the article, so you may
need to sand or grind through the rust at the point at which you
connect your contact. Put both the pieces (the article and the
scrap steel anode) in the solution, as close as possible but NOT
TOUCHING. The part being cleaned will begin to bubble. After about
two hours at 12 volts, six amps, you can take it out and examine it.
The part being cleaned, if originally badly rusted, will now be
covered with a black powder which you can wire brush off. Then
return the article to the solution for another 6 hours and you’ll
see all that is left of the rust is a little more fine black powder,
and the high spots may be getting shiny. At this point, you can
take the article out, rinse it off, wire brush it some more, and
then lightly oil it with linseed oil. Linseed oil is great for
tools, but be careful. . .rags soaked in it can spontaneously
combust, and I’ve seen this happen, so better put them in the burn
bin or bury them. If they’re cotton, you can put them in the
compost, everything in this case is organic, just don’t store them
in the house or garage. You can, of course, substitute any kind of
oil you’d like, but you’ll need to get that raw metal covered with
some sort of protection as soon as possible. This demonstration was
employed on a large steel punch, about 1/2 inch in diameter and 5
inches long. It was badly rusted, but not pitted. Even pitted
steel will clean. The pits will still be there, but they’ll be
clean of rust. Times for smaller articles could be significantly
shorter. Obviously, the less rusted a piece is, the shorter the
cleaning time. I don’t think that higher concentrations of baking
or washing soda will shorten the time, as it’s not the same as using
an acid or alkaline to clean, the soda is used to make the water
more conductive.

David L. Huffman


#9
I'd been meaning to get around to making a leather tool roll for my
files .... 

Hello Jessee,

I’d recommend you do a test with your leather and files before you
actually make the tool roll. I once bought some nice new pigskin,
took it home and spent an afternoon making a spiffy little tool roll
for my spiffy new needle files. It was a late hour by the time I
finished, but I finished and packed my files away all nice and snug
in their new home while I headed off to bed for a good, comfy, “job
done!” sleep.

A day or two later when I pulled down the roll to eye my handywork I
found a nice light frosting of rust over the entire surface of every
single file and the leather noticeably rust stained. Needless to say I
was horrified! I took my neat little rust-a-lot bundle into the shop
where I purchased the leather and showed it to the shop owner fully
expecting excuses and bewilderment and the like. He just looked at it
and shrugged. “What did you expect,” he said, “everyone knows that
the salts and chemicals they use to cure that stuff will do that. You
should never store your hunting knives in their sheaths for exactly
that reason.”

I was a little suspicious that he was just fast-talking his way out
of a difficult situation but it turned out that what I wanted was
vegetable tanned leather not the regular salt tanned leather. He
kindly offered to sell me some, at about a 40% premium since veg
tanned leather supposedly costs more. I decided to cut my losses and
find something else to use the tool roll for.

I’ve since learned that a good scrub down with saddle soap will
pretty much eliminate the salt corrosion problem with most leathers
on most carbon steels. That said all of my files have canvas tool
rolls now, not leather.

Cheers,
Trevor F.


#10
  Penny for your thoughts? 

Well, my first thought is, Vikings didn’t care if what they were
cutting got contaminated with lanolin…

–Noel


#11

Isn’t wool prized for foul-weather clothing not only because it will
insulate well while wet but also because even in dry weather it
wicks moisture away from your body?

Pam Chott
www.songofthephoenix.com


#12

The quickest and probably best way to clean files is with a soft
metal brush on your bench polisher. you can get both brass and fine
steel at the jewelry tool supply houses.

If you don’t have too much rust you can get it off- (after brushing)
using “Bartenders Friend” ( like but not comet) cleaner from the
grocery store or hardware store . a similar cleaner is called “Zuck”
. an old tooth brush 0r kitchen bush helps-- rinse an dry and
lightly oil after cleaning.

These two cleaners contain some oxalic acid to remove iron stains
regular cleaners don’t. Oxalic acid is toxic – the reason you don’t
eat rhubarb leaves … or if you grew up in the US south you cook
young poke leaves in several rinses of water. Phosphoric acid ( Naval
jelly) also works.

Tool rolls can be made from old jean or chino legs.

jesse


#13

Prevention is worth a pound of cure. There are a variety of sources
for “silica gel” which is a “desiccant” that works …if the tools
are stored inside a drawer or tool box… to dehumidify air and
prevent “corrosion” which contribute to (rusting) steel. That
"corrosion" …(rust) which is iron oxide… the chemical Fe2O3.,
read all about it at

http://science.howstuffworks.com/question445.htm.

There are probably many sources; my quick web search found several
products at this URL http://www.air-tites.com/ATsupplies.htm Also,
searching Orchid for the term desiccant returned some results. Often
we store and use a variety of chemicals; some of which may be
"oxidizers". For those up for a little experimenting on testing your
chemicals for their pH levels (are your chemicals “acids” or
"bases"?) …visit http://www.howstuffworks.com/experiment1.htm

Regards,
Mark


#14

Jessee, I’d bet that there would not be any problem with the fleece
holding moisture. I’ve worn a good bit of sheepskin items over the
years. It’s wonderful warm ! It actually sheds moisture because of
that lanolin content. Sheep on the hoof shed water too. A bed with
sheepfleece under pad does not hold moisture at all and is a lovely
aid for the bedridden or elderly who need the extra softness on
delicate skin. There are so many uses for sheepskin with fleece these
days. Just look around. Maybe you could find an old coat at a thrift
shop. Google for your sources of skins direct. You’ll enjoy working
with it - great for your hands ! Go for it !

Pat


#15

Vegetable tanned leather is better for not corroding steel, but still
can. Be careful about sheepskins – the wool might not corrode your
steel, but the skin will if it was chrome tanned!


#16
    I was a little suspicious that he was just fast-talking his
way out of a difficult situation but it turned out that what I
wanted was vegetable tanned leather not the regular salt tanned
leather. He kindly offered to sell me some, at about a 40% premium
since veg tanned leather supposedly costs more. I decided to cut my
losses and find something else to use the tool roll for. 

Actually, most likely the leather you had was tanned with Chromium
Salts, and yes it is corrosive to iron alloys. Veg Tan is more
expensive, for some very good reasons, but is tanned with Tannic
Acid, again not that friendly to steel. Generally, when I make a
knife sheath (my “jewelry work” is primarily leather findings), I
have to insert the knife, well oiled several times before I
pronounce it blade safe, even then, I don’t recommend long-term
unattended storage in the leather.

That said, yes, if the sheepskin shearling has not had too much of
the lanolin washed out in processing, it is a rust retardant. I
wrap my hammer heads in it to protect them from Florida damp, and it
cushions them from dings, even so, I wouldn’t store them that way
for a long period.

A good leather to make a tool roll from is oil treated Latigo. This
is actually pretty metal friendly stuff (you often see blacksmith’s
aprons made of it).

    I've since learned that a good scrub down with saddle soap
will pretty much eliminate the salt corrosion problem with most
leathers on most carbon steels. That said all of my files have
canvas tool rolls now, not leather. 

Basically you are giving it a heavy oiling (saddle soap is a form of
oil soap), and removing the surface chemicals.

Ron Charlotte – Gainesville, FL
@Ron_Charlotte1 OR afn03234@afn.org


#17

Thanks, Trevor, for the warning about the salty leather! (That’s the
same as chrome-tanned, right? Like about 80% of commercial leather?)
Nothing like a Rust-o-Matic file case, eh? I think I’ll stick to
canvas, as well - especially since the only sheepskin I have around
the house is an old Persian Lamb coat collar.

Thanks also to everyone else who has contributed thoughts on the
matter. Maybe I’ll wrap some of my old junky files in that collar and
see what happens… :slight_smile:

Jessee Smith
www.silverspotstudio.com


#18

Noel

Well, my first thought is, Vikings didn’t care if what they were
cutting got contaminated with lanolin…

May I kindly offer to take off my (unhorned) viking helmet for that
remark :wink:

Niels Lovschal
Viking and Contemporary Jewellery
Bornholm, Denmark


#19
Thanks, Trevor, for the warning about the salty leather! (That's
the same as chrome-tanned, right? Like about 80% of commercial
leather?) 

Hello Jessee,

Yes, as far as I know. In fact I’ve been told by a leather shop-owner
that it’s not really all chrome tanned leathers that get get labeled
thus but that’s what people are used to hearing and it’s close enough.
I really couldn’t say one way or the other but it’s canvas, or denim
as someone else mentioned, for most of my tool rolls.

Cheers,
Trevor F.


#20

Dear Jesse, aahh…poke salad! It has been years and my country
relatives always washed the leaves (maybe I should have said
warshed) but I had no idea why. This is enlightening. We also have
some good “sang” growing in the hills where conscientious gatherers
allow the growth to continue( ginseng) and morrell mushrooms though
I am not adept at finding either.

Makes me quite hungry and a good start to get going to the jewelry
shop.

Oh, on the thread about rust, I also do wood carving and have used a
denim like home sewn roll for the gouges for years. With a good
spray of one of the better rust inhibiting concoctions, like
Tri-flow(with Teflon, but I don’t need the Teflon) the tools do not
rust unless neglected for a long time in a damp basement. Boeing
makes a “rust preventative” spray that is essentially dissolved
parrifin wax, called Boeshield T-9. It is very effective and does
not affect wood work like silicones and should work well for files
and jewelry tools as well. Spray some on the cleaned metal, give it
a minute then wipe off for a thin coat. For longer storage, let the
stuff go on wet and dry for a visible wax coating. I have found the
Boeshield to be quite effective and not interfere with the use of
the tools as oily rust preventatives can do.

God Bless.
Tom.