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Rust Removal on Power Tools

Rust on your power tools can be more than just frustrating; it can actually hurt the performance of the tool. Tools, like planers, jointers, and table saws, have carefully machined cast iron surfaces for the wood to slide along freely. Unfortunately, if cast iron is left unprotected, it is very susceptible to rust.

Garages and basements are not the best places for tools. Basements are notoriously high in humidity, and garages also tend to be very damp. These conditions, along with moist sawdust, are breeding grounds for rust. Unfortunately, garages and basements are often the only practical place to put these tools.

This jointer bed (see photo at left) was left unprotected in a garage. With use, the sawdust built up on the cast iron bed. Upon dusting off the sawdust, numerous rust spots were revealed. If this condition were to worsen, it would become more difficult to save this tool from an early demise.

Since this tool was past the rust prevention stage, I tried Rust Free by Boeshield to remove the rust. Rust Free works great on surfaces that are difficult to soak in a rust removing solution like Evapo-Rust. Since most of the surface was showing light rust, the whole surface was sprayed with Rust Free. After a few minutes, the surface was wiped off with steel wool. This process was repeated a few times on the very worst areas.

As you can see from the photo on the right, this method was very effective at removing the rust. If you look closely, you can see the pit in the metal left from the largest rust spot. These kinds of rust pits are what you want to avoid. No matter what method of rust removal you use, these pits are left because the rust has consumed the good metal. Once the metal is gone, no removal methods will replace it.

The best method for keeping tools free from rust is to apply a layer of some type of rust preventative. To keep the problem from returning, Boeshield T-9 was chosen. This product is very easy to apply -- just spray on the surface and wipe clean with a cloth.

After using Rust Free for rust removal and T-9 for rust prevention, this jointer will be easier to use and retain its value much better.