chrome damage on hand tools
When I retired I was in the process of building my new shop and did not have room to store things, especially my big rollaway Mac tool box. The drawers were filled with thirty years of accumulated hand tools, mostly Snap-On, Mac, etc. wrenches, sockets, specialty items. Once the shop was completed I started to move tools and equipment into the building. I opened the drawers to the tool box to get the contents out so I could move it and found just about all the items had been urinated on by mice, the more I looked the more damage I found, I tried cleaning the tools with steel wool and acetone, diesel, gasoline, paint thinner, nothing would remove the corrosive damage. I am restoring the box and drawers with powder coating, but tools? Anyone ever delt with this before? Any recomends would sure help!
What about electrolysis? Would that hurt the chrome?
In my limited experience nothing will completely restore damaged chrome plating but cleaning well and then buffing with a buffing wheel comes about as close as anything. Chemical and electrolytic rust removal can get the rust out of the crevices, at some risk to the plating.
One option, for some of your tools, is to clean them up and then apply heat shrink tubing. It is readily available in multiple colors and diameters up to 2" or more. You can color code US vs. metric.
You can also buy chrome-like paint, though it won't hold up to much use.
For anything that gets a lot of use with greasy hands and odd shapes your best bet is to polish out the corroded spots and live with the still-fully-functional wrenches - as Don suggests.
Years ago I worked in a junk yard. One day while crushing cars, the loader caught a piece of metal that had been buried for years in the dirt. After cleaning the dirt off, we could tell it was a ratchet. And as luck would have it, it was a brand name with a lifetime warranty. We took it in and got a brand new 1/2" drive ratchet for that rusted out piece of metal. If you have tools with a lifetime warranty, you may want to ask the company about replacement. It may be a very long shot, but it never hurts to ask.
I had a bunch of tools peed on by my cat. Utterly ruined! Amazing how corrosive it is.
there will be no cheap solution. Either wire brush or glass bead blast the ugly mess and live with it or have the chrome sripped off. Next would be to have the lot black oxide treated, which would be fairly cheap.
I've used the wire wheel on my grinder arbor many times to remove rust damage from tools. Evaporust is another option, followed by the wire wheel. Then follow up by cleaning your tools off with WD-40, or Boeshield, or a mixture of mineral spirits and motor oil. The solvents will help remove the urine odor, and prevent further rust. Mice can do some real damage, and I sympathize with your problem. If you get urine odor into materials that absorb liquids, such as wood, leather, or rubber, the problem is even worse.
Several sprayings with urine odor removing products , as sold at pet stores, can help with materials that absorb the urine. Keeping the mice out of tool boxes and cabinets is the first priority, and it's surprising how many products make no provision for blocking them out.
Nature's Miracle works great on the smell. Sold at pet stores.
My sympathies. One time many years ago my wife took in a stray cat during a cold spell. She has a big heart and a soft spot for animals but didn't think through all the implications. She put the cat in my workshop while I was traveling and when I returned the cat had peed everywhere there was sawdust. The top of my table saw still has the mark of that episode......
I hope you can figure out a way to clean up your tools.