How To Remove Rust on Woodworking Tools

Vinegar – Quick, Easy & Inexpensive!

The type of vinegar I recommend isn’t the kind people like to put on their fries! Once again, I’ll give a small list of things to buy:

  • White vinegar
  • Salt
  • Denatured alcohol
  • Baking soda
  • Steel wool or another kind of abrasive
  • A mat to protect the work space
  • A large plastic container

First of all you should give the rusty tools a hose down with water to get rid of deposited dirt and debris on their surfaces. Then you submerge them in a gallon of white vinegar. The next step is to add around one cup of salt; while the vinegar itself is relatively acidic, the added salt really ups the ante and adds to the solution’s rust removing power.

While it is up to you to decide, I would allow the solution to settle for at least a day before attempting to remove the rust. Take the tools out of the vinegar/salt bath (use gloves!) and begin scrubbing them with the steel wool pad. Once you’re satisfied with the level of rust removed, place the tools back in the container and add a gallon of water.

Add a cup of baking soda and mix the solution. The purpose of this step is to neutralize the acidity and it also does a great job of bringing out any vinegar trapped behind the rust; it should foam which heightens its rust removal potential. Leave the tools in the solution for around 10-15 minutes, take them out and start scrubbing again. Finally, rub the tools with a rag covered in denatured alcohol and add a coat of oil to prevent the rust returning.

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I’ve tried almost every method to remove rust from metal parts! In the above VIDEO I show my favorite method for removing rust from metal parts – specifically traditional woodworking hand tool parts – but it’ll work for most other metal parts, like auto parts.


But first let me tell you about the other methods that haven’t worked very well for me:

  • Electrolisys with a car battery charger didn’t work very well, and is quite difficult to setup
  • Evaporust worked great the first time, but not so well when I bought a smaller container…go figure. But is really expensive.
  • Krud Kutter didn’t work, and it’s expensive when you break it down to a per-ounce cost
  • Vinegar sort of worked, but not perfectly…I had some strange issues with the metal afterwards
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