Sudden tool rust

Hello Everyone,

I would really appreciate any help you can offer me. I went into my
studio this morning and found all of my tools covered with rust. My
rolling mill, disk cutter, bench block, chasing tools, and
everything else made of steel. I had been out of the studio for two
days and the last time I was there things looked pristine. There are
only two things I did differently last week: I opened a window for a
couple of hours to enjoy the fresh air and cooler temperatures and I
used Silver Black to oxidize a lot of sterling. In fact, I am pretty
sure I messed up really badly by putting the Silver Black in an open
dish and leaving it uncovered for most of the day on Saturday. Am I
right that this was my problem and if so what is the next step? I
tried some fine steel wool on the bench block and it didn’t touch
it. Could anyone tell me the proper steps to get my tools back in
good condition and any other advice about oxidizing silver in the
future to avoid this happening again? I have invested a significant
amount of money in good tools and it is very important to me to fix

Thank you so much for any help you can offer me.


Probably was the silver black. Anything that has acid in it and left
in the open would create the rust on your tools. Try Naval Jelly to
get the rust off easily…but time consuming.


Sorry to hear about your tools. I did the same thing 30 or so years
ago. I think all oxidizers/acids will rust your tools. I have gone
outside to patina since the 70s, and immediately wash anything in
contact with Silver Black, like my metal rods and the like. And I
have no answer for removing the rust although I have
experience…its never been a good experience and attacking the
problem from several approaches works the best. What ever you can do
to remove the least amount of metal is all I can suggest. From light
oil rubbing with a scotchpad to wirebrushing on a wheel and fine
wetordry sandpaper. I’m sure hoping you will get some decent replies
from the group.


Alas, Tracy, you are absolutely right–it was the open Silver-Black.
I have about an ounce in a plastic screw-top bottle, and enough of
it manages to diffuse out of the bottle that I can’t keep it within 3
or 4 feet of any metal. I know your pain! More experienced jewelers
than I will tell you nifty ways of how to remove the rust. But the
first thing I would do is get copious amounts of oil and grease
spread all over all the metals to stop the action. Also goes without
saying, ventilate your studio thoroughly. I’d use large fans. Even
more troubling to me than your tools is the action of those vapors on
your lungs. That stuff contains strong inorganic acid(s)–my
suspicions are that it’s HCl, and perhaps others. The fumes are very
dangerous. All my sympathies. The product works just great–gives you
a true black on silver and is the only thing I’ve ever found to
blacken gold, but is it ever a pain.

Gary Strickland

Silver Black (Tellurium based) is dissolved in acid and this is a
likely culprit for the rusting of your steel tools.

A steel wire rotary brush either in an electric drill or a bench
grinder will do wonders in removing the rust. Definitely wear
eyeglasses when using high speed wire brushes.

Oxalic Acid (sold as wood bleach in hardware stores) has the ability
to dissolve rust with an overnight soaking without affecting the
underlying steel.


Note From Ganoksin Staff:
Looking for a compact drill for your jewelry projects? We recommend:

Just submerse them in concentrate citric acid it will remove the
rust and bring the steel back to natural color

Thanks Randy

And I would add just one thing – Get the silver-black OUT of your
studio! Use it out in the back yard, or some such!



Thanks to you and all the others who responded to my predicament. I
have started the clean up process and have found a spot outdoors to
work with Silver Black in the future. As far as venting, I was using
it under a fume hood with a filter designed to handle many
chemicals. I assumed (probably not the best thing to do) that I was
working as safely as possible, except of course for the one time I
forgot to keep the solution in a lidded bottle.

By the way, I am a small start-up with no extra funds but I found a
way to make my donation to Ganoksin. If I can, everyone else can
find as way too!