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JoeBean
01-16-2012, 10:56 AM
I just bought a used Starrett combination square with an 18" rule. Everything's in pretty good condition, but the rule, and to a lesser extent, the protractor head, have some light rust on them where the markings are. I want to clean them up and make the lines and numbers more visible, but from reading some forum threads I'm worried about making things worse. Any suggestions on how to clean this up, and if I'll need to re-ink the numbers/lines what to use to do that?

Here are some shots of the rule and protractor head:
http://autodidaktos.com/tmp-img/rule1.jpg
http://autodidaktos.com/tmp-img/rule2.jpg
http://autodidaktos.com/tmp-img/protractor.jpg

Arcane
01-16-2012, 11:07 AM
http://www.evaporust.ca/ might be worth considering.

Arthur.Marks
01-16-2012, 11:11 AM
Wipe down with CLR. Make sure you clean very well after you use the CLR to remove all of the residue. Oil with any kind of tool oil. Then buff if you have the tools to do so. Last, use (sorry, can't think of the name at the moment) engraver's wax sticks. You rub it on like a crayon and wipe off. The wax stays in the engravings and dries permanent. If you oil right away, the wax will soften and come off on your fingers, but after a while, min. 24hrs., it stops doing that. ...more like a week in reality, I have found. I used it on some dials for my lathe which sees a lot of oil. None of the engravings have rubbed off yet.

McMaster sells them in boxes of a number of sticks. Where are you at?? I have a whole box of these from when I used them. I am willing to send you a 1/2 stick or so no charge. That would last you a lifetime! I am in the USA near IL. PM me through the forum if you're intersted.

[EDIT] Here is the thread from when I inked my graduated dials mentioned above: http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/showthread.php?t=44400&highlight=engravings+dial

JoeBean
01-16-2012, 11:16 AM
Wipe down with CLR. Make sure you clean very well after you use the CLR to remove all of the residue. Oil with any kind of tool oil. Then buff if you have the tools to do so. Last, use (sorry, can't think of the name at the moment) engraver's wax sticks. You rub it on like a crayon and wipe off. The wax stays in the engravings and dries permanent. If you oil right away, the wax will soften and come off on your fingers, but after a while, min. 24hrs., it stops doing that. ...more like a week in reality, I have found. I used it on some dials for my lathe which sees a lot of oil. None of the engravings have rubbed off yet.

McMaster sells them in boxes of a number of sticks. Where are you at?? I have a whole box of these from when I used them. I am willing to send you a 1/2 stick or so no charge. That would last you a lifetime! I am in the USA near IL. PM me through the forum if you're intersted.

Perfect, that's just the info I need. I'm in Newfoundland, Canada, but I'd gladly Paypal you some money to ship one up if you've got Paypal. I'll pm you.

lakeside53
01-16-2012, 11:20 AM
I've done a few rules as bad as that - degrease thoroughly (put in the dishwasher) then evaporust. A very light rub with 0000 steel wool will remove any surface carbon left by the evaporust. Wash, dry and oil immediately.

BigMike782
01-16-2012, 11:47 AM
I bought a Starrett combination square that had some surface rust and had very good results using electrolysis.

JoeBean
01-16-2012, 11:57 AM
That evapo-rust looks interesting. They stock it at Canadian Tire apparently, but I haven't used it before. From the website description it sounded like just another phosphoric acid based rust converter, but the picture of the bottle on Canadiantire says prominently "No acids". I wonder what it uses?

AiR_GuNNeR
01-16-2012, 12:01 PM
+1 for evapo-rust. That stuff is amazing. Fully submerse the item however, or it can leave stains that are hard to remove.

logic
01-16-2012, 12:41 PM
+2 for evapo-rust. I've been using it for a few years now and have been very happy with it.

Patrick

Doozer
01-16-2012, 12:59 PM
EvapoRust is an iron chelator.
It has somthing to do with the ionic attraction or ???
Google Chelaton.

Be careful with CLR.
The MSDS sheet lists hydrochloric acid.
Any rust cleaned with a chloride solution leaves the metal with a severe affinity to rust more and more.
Anyone who has cleaned rust with muratic pool acid has experienced this.

Go with EvapoRust. Just be aware, it will reduce the size of your steel rule (or any part) by just a little bit.
I learned this by cleaning some rusty nuts and bolts in EvapoRust, and after the thread fit was super loose!?!!!
Just leave it in a short bit.

--Doozer

JoeBean
01-16-2012, 01:05 PM
EvapoRust is an iron chelator.
It has somthing to do with the ionic attraction or ???
Google Chelaton.

Be careful with CLR.
The MSDS sheet lists hydrochloric acid.
Any rust cleaned with a chloride solution leaves the metal with a severe affinity to rust more and more.
Anyone who has cleaned rust with muratic pool acid has experienced this.

Go with EvapoRust. Just be aware, it will reduce the size of your steel rule (or any part) by just a little bit.
I learned this by cleaning some rusty nuts and bolts in EvapoRust, and after the thread fit was super loose!?!!!
Just leave it in a short bit.

--Doozer

Thanks, that's interesting re: chelation. Evapo-Rust is actually mentioned by name in the Wikipedia article on the subject.

Would applying it to just the affected area work? Or does it need to be completely submerged?

Doozer
01-16-2012, 01:17 PM
Local application works.
Put a paper towel wet with EvapoRust on a large area you are trying to clean, like a saw blade or a mill table. It works well, just re-wet as needed.
One thing to watch out for, is partially submerging a part, like half in and half out of a bucket of EvapoRust.
There will be a line on the surface where the part breaks the liquid.
The surface of EvapoRust seems to be stronger, and an undercut line etched in your part occurs. Bad bad.
So when dipping, fully submerge your part.
But for spot application, like with a paper towel or a sponge, it is OK.

--Doozer

RWO
01-16-2012, 01:26 PM
Glass bead blast, degrease and use liquid epoxy dyed black to fill all the lines and lettering. After the epoxy cures polish that area with fine abrasive paper with a hard backer to remove the surface epoxy. Polish all the bare metal to whatever degree you like.

RWO

sophijo
01-16-2012, 03:41 PM
One part feed grade molasses :: nine parts water ; soak a couple days. Rust washes off.

woodnerd
01-16-2012, 03:54 PM
+ a bunch on Evapo-Rust, it works shockingly well. I like it so much, I just bought a 5-gallon bucket.

I have some photos showing how well it worked on a rusted-up old crescent wrench: http://www.workshopaholic.net/reviews/Evapo-Rust.html

lakeside53
01-16-2012, 10:15 PM
Go with EvapoRust. Just be aware, it will reduce the size of your steel rule (or any part) by just a little bit.
I learned this by cleaning some rusty nuts and bolts in EvapoRust, and after the thread fit was super loose!?!!!
Just leave it in a short bit.

--Doozer


It's only "smaller" because of the rust removed. Evaporust has no effect on the Iron. I leave things in for days when I forget -no issues at all. Make sure your temperature is 60-70 or more - huge diference than a cold shop. I just put a lamp over the solution.

JoeBean
01-31-2012, 02:08 PM
I thought I'd post a quick update for any interested:

Arthur Marks generously offered to ship an engraver's wax stick up for me to use, something I really appreciate as they're quite difficult to find up this way! Anyway, it arrived today and I set out to test things out.

I bought some Evapo-Rust (available at Canadian Tire and Home Hardware up here in the North for any who might be reading this and wondering...) but I was too impatient to use it yet :D Instead, I decided use some polishing compound on a 6" buffer wheel to see what I'd get. It turned out pretty good! I'm actually pretty happy with it the way it is, so I'm not sure if I'll use the Evapo-Rust on this project or something else (I have an older shop-made surface gage that I got recently that needs some cleaning up, so maybe it'll be the test dummy). Anyway, here are some before and after pics:

Protractor head before (this picture doesn't show the rust very well unfortunately):
http://autodidaktos.com/tmp-img/protractor.jpg
Rule before:
http://autodidaktos.com/tmp-img/rule2.jpg

JoeBean
01-31-2012, 02:09 PM
Continued due to photo limits...

Rule after:
http://autodidaktos.com/tmp-img/FinishedRule.jpg
Protractor after:
http://autodidaktos.com/tmp-img/FinishedProtractor.jpg

lynnl
01-31-2012, 02:34 PM
Local application works.
Put a paper towel wet with EvapoRust on a large area you are trying to clean, like a saw blade or a mill table. It works well, just re-wet as needed.
One thing to watch out for, is partially submerging a part, like half in and half out of a bucket of EvapoRust.
There will be a line on the surface where the part breaks the liquid.
The surface of EvapoRust seems to be stronger, and an undercut line etched in your part occurs. Bad bad.
So when dipping, fully submerge your part.
But for spot application, like with a paper towel or a sponge, it is OK.

--Doozer

Well my experience in trying to use saturated paper towels was not good. I tried that with a 10" saw blade and it ending up looking like crap.

I will not use it on anything that can't be totally immersed in the Evaporust.

gvasale
01-31-2012, 03:31 PM
Just remember, there isn't a rust remover made that will fill in or otherwise remove pitting. Sorry.

Rosco-P
01-31-2012, 05:22 PM
Any sort of mild abrasive process will soften the edges and make the graduations less readable. Might never be a shiny as it was when new, but next time try copper wool to remove the rust.

Looking at the "after" photos, either the rust wasn't as bad or you just got lucky hitting the rule with the buffer. Exacly what compound did you use on the wheel?

MotorradMike
01-31-2012, 05:52 PM
That worked really well Joe.
Thanks for posting it.