If you take good care of your tools, they will last a lifetime. However, rust is one of the greatest enemies of metal tools. This can be avoided if the proper precautions are taken.
What is Rust?
Rust is caused by metal corrosion. This chemical reaction results in an “oxide”, which can be expressed as the well-known red or rust-colored powder.
The oxidation process is when the underlying material is broken down and must be stopped or eliminated. It will cause the metal to corrode over time. There are many ways to prevent corrosion, and steps you can take to remove rust that has occurred from tools.
How to Get Rid of Rust
A multi-purpose oil that can clean, lubricate and protect tools should be kept on hand by tool owners. Light rust can be removed by using oil on a rag. Oil can be used multiple times to remove rust from articulating parts.
- Drop some oil in the joint, and move the tool back-and-forth, opening and closing, grinding the rust into a slurry.
- To make the tool again usable, clean the surface with a clean rag.
- Continue the oil application, and continue manipulating the tool until there is no more rust on the rag.
Stop tool rust from spreading
You can remove oxidation from the tool if it is only on the surface.
- To remove any rust traces, use a wire brush or sandpaper.
- Scaling and pockmarks are especially difficult to remove. Power tools such as a drill with wire wheel attachments or a bench grinder with metal wire buffer wheels can be used to quickly clean up deeply rusted surfaces.
- After the tool has been thoroughly cleaned of any rust, it is possible to lubricate the entire surface of the tool with a non-oxidizing oil such as mineral oil. Finally, you can wipe the entire thing down with a rag.
In order to prevent rust, moisture control is essential. It is important to keep your tools dry. Sub-grade basements in areas with high water tables will encourage the growth of rust. This is not a great place to store tools.
Although the hinges of a wrench can be a prime place for rust, many tool owners don’t think about the motors and brushes within power tools. These are made of copper and other highly-corrosive metals. If it is humid, keep your tools up to the surface and inside. You can also install a dehumidifier to your tool storage area.
To extend the life of a hand tool’s lifespan, owners should lubricate and clean it with petroleum products. A single drop of multipurpose oil in an articulating gear or joint will often ensure its longevity. A multi-purpose oil-soaked cloth wiped over any metal surfaces can provide a thin layer protection against the elements that can cause rust.
Sealing and painting metal parts exposed to the elements is a great way to prevent rust and corrosion. Although most tools come with a protective coating of powder-coating paint or chrome, some older tools don’t have this protection. For a good bond, it is essential to do the proper prep work. However, a sealant such as paint or rubber can prolong the life of your old tools and give you a new gripping surface at a very low price.