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Removing pitting or corrosion on steel tools

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  • Removing pitting or corrosion on steel tools

    I have a good many Pfeil bench tools that I frankly haven't used in months because I cannot keep them sharp. Yesterday, I pulled them out to (once more) attempt sharpening with a new diamond stone, and discovered several of the tools have pitting/corrosion on various parts of the tools--but none on the actual carving profiles, thank goodness!. After reading through quite a few old posts here, I decided it would be best to start a new post, rather than go back to one several years old.

    My question is, what's the best way to remove these areas of corrosion? I realize now that keeping the tools in my roll inside a "faux leather' roll case is NOT the thing to do and I will correct that situation today. I'd just like to be able to halt the pitting/corrosion before it goes any further, and do it in such a way as to do the least damage overall.

    If I don't learn how to sharpen these wonderful tools in the near future , I will simply give up on using hand tools and sell them.
    Thanks for your patience with ignorant newbies like me!

  • #2
    Re: Removing pitting or corrosion on steel tools

    a wire brush or a buffing wheel with coarse compound as long as its not near the edge would be my first choice.

    sharpening is a skill, you have to enjoy it to do it the right way. have you tried "the complete guide to sharpening" by Leonard Lee !? its a very complete guide on sharpening almost anything and various methods are explained. it will make you understand whats going on with that edge, and the author uses many pictures taken with a microscope.

    what sharpening stone/grit do you use !?

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    • #3
      Re: Removing pitting or corrosion on steel tools

      I use a "fine" wire wheel on my buffing setup. There is a wire wheel on one end and a cotton wheel with buffing compound on the other. The wire wheel is great for removing rust and light pitting.

      Al

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      • #4
        Re: Removing pitting or corrosion on steel tools

        If the corrosion is not too deep, you should be able to get rid of it easily with a buffing wheel and white or gray buffing compound.
        Terry

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        • #5
          Re: Removing pitting or corrosion on steel tools

          I bought some old rusty carving knives a while back, I sanded off all the rust, then buffed with compound. Good as new.

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          • #6
            Re: Removing pitting or corrosion on steel tools

            removing the rust/corrosion is one thing.
            removing the pitting caused by the rust process is another matter entirely.

            I use my tools occasionally in a severe salt water environment (actually ON the beach). The salt from even the sand gets transferred from the hands to the tools, a little moisture (100% humidity) and every salty fingerprint shows up later as a pinkish rust spot. Great for permanently marking your tools with a distinguishing mark....your own fingerprint!!, anyway...
            upon returning home, I use bowling alley wax, quite liberally applied, to metal surfaces....with steel wool if needed

            Removing the pitting requires the removal of metal until the pitting is removed. I buy tools that need to be reconditioned, process is not hard.....time consuming, remember you are sanding metal.
            The depth of the pitting determines the aggression that needs to be applied.
            Sometimes I start with a grinding stone in the Foredom, move to a smoother stone, then to silicon carbide paper, progressively finer than a polish....Little scary at first, the more you do, the easier it gets!!!

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            • #7
              Re: Removing pitting or corrosion on steel tools

              There are many ways to help prevent rust.
              You could wipe the tools down with a slightly oily rag (3-in-1 oil...), then wipe them off with a clean cloth when getting ready to use them again.

              You could give them a quick spray of WD-40, then wipe them off with a clean cloth when getting ready to use them again.

              Get some of the little silica gel packets that come with electronics/photo gear and keep in the box with the tools. These absorb moisture that could cause rust. Ask your local photo supply store for some, or check with the electronics department at a big box store - they usually throw the stuff away. This is the method I use.

              Claude
              My FaceBook Page: https://www.facebook.com/beadman1

              My Pinterest Page: https://www.pinterest.com/cfreaner/

              My ETSY Shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ClaudesWoodcarving

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              • #8
                Re: Removing pitting or corrosion on steel tools

                Claude offers good advice.... since you evidently live near the lake and in the Camden SC area, you have LOTS of humidity. Keep some oil on those tools when not in use.
                Member of Caricature Carvers of America
                My website: https://mitchellcartledgewoodcarvings.com

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                • #9
                  Re: Removing pitting or corrosion on steel tools

                  what has already been said, buffer, sandpaper, and personally I dont like oil on steel, I sometimes use auto wax on a tool that might sit. You can get those little silicon packs that comes like in spices etc that absorb moisture. the problem with a tool roll whatever is that some material absorbs moisture and retains it, thus rusting the tool. I might suggest carve more and then the tool gets used and it doesnt rust!!!

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                  • #10
                    Re: Removing pitting or corrosion on steel tools

                    Thanks to all of you for taking time to answer. I know some of you must get tired of seeing the same question posted so many times.

                    And yes, Mitchell, I live ON Lake Wateree, but I don't think it matters where in SC you live, 85% + humidity is pretty much the norm.

                    I brought all the tools inside today (it's COLD out in the shop today!) and cleaned first with WD and some scotchbrite "steel wool" to remove the rust, then used a fine grit sandpaper wheel in my power carver to remove the pitting (quite bad in some areas!), then polished and buffed, then used Turtle Wax and buffed that off. A couple hours of work, but the tools look great again.

                    As for how sharp they are, I purchased a Trend 1000 grit diamond stone (350 grit on the back side) at the woodshow in Hickory NC Friday, and actually used that yesterday to sharpen the cutting edges of all my tools. They're not "scary sharp" yet, but I believe they are much improved--will find out later today when I try them in wood.

                    Will get dessicant (sp?) ASAP. I have used silica gel for drying flowers and I know I can buy that at Michaels. I thought about doing what we do here in the south to keep our salt from clumping: Add a few grains of rice to the shaker. Then I figured the rice is actually holding the humidity so that's probably not a good idea for my tools.

                    Used a Trend diamond steel hone for my knives and THEY are scary sharp now. Bought the hone for my kitchen knives, and found it works just as well on carving knives and pocket knives of all types.

                    Rest assured, IF I can keep the tools sharp, they will see a lot more use. I've all but given up on sharpening and have gone to power tools almost exclusively because dull edges are too challenging for me. And the good news for some members of this forum is: If I just can't keep these wonderful bench tools sharp, I will admit defeat in a few months and sell them.

                    Again, thanks for all your help.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Removing pitting or corrosion on steel tools

                      One thing I should mention here. I believe the reason the profile edges of my tools show no rust at all is because I keep them in "edge protectors" I purchased from Rick at Little Shavers (and that he includes whenever he sharpens tools). On a couple of tools, the rust simply stopped at point where the tool edge was inserted into the protector. On the rest, the rust was primarily near the handle, where I hold it for use.

                      So a big "thank you" to Rick for saving the profile edges of my tools!

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                      • #12
                        Re: Removing pitting or corrosion on steel tools

                        From what you has said about your sharpening process you may only need to strop to get to carving sharp. Mechanical or manual it is the final step and it is really necessary.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Removing pitting or corrosion on steel tools

                          You're right, Sebastiaan, I do need to strop the tools now. Then if they don't move wood as they should, I'll go back to the diamond stone and repeat the sharpening-stropping process.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Removing pitting or corrosion on steel tools

                            a while ago, i had extensive sharpening to do (reshaping and rescuing) and wanted to do that by hand. i made myself a jig to keep the tool's edge angle. you might want to check it out. use a black marker on your edge to see what you're grinding, and dont give up on carving so easily.

                            do you have honing compound !?

                            heres the link to my thread
                            http://www.woodcarvingillustrated.co...-pt-2-a-43836/

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                            • #15
                              Re: Removing pitting or corrosion on steel tools

                              Kewl jig, will put it on my wish list! Yep, I have honing compound and a good strop. Just need a good pair of hands (or a good jig?) to get things sharp.
                              THANKS!

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