What causes this crazy brown 'crazing' in a varnished steel measuring square?

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Update: You guys were right all along!
The crazing didn't look like rust at the crazed parts - but - at the end, where the varnish/lacquer peeled up - it certainly did look like rust underneath.
Here's a closeup:

I think I'll just replace it.
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Chuck Banshee wrote:

Stainless steel would be good.
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dadiOH
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Wasteful....a little elbow grease,and you're restored a good tool.
I had to use steel wool to clean my square's steel rule,and then I sprayed it with Krylon crystal clear. wipe the rule with paint first to fill in the markings for an easier read.
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Jim Yanik
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On Fri, 03 Feb 2012 21:53:03 -0800, Bob F wrote:

I never thought it was rust. Sure, it's 'brown' ... and the square is steel so it 'can' rust.
But I've never seen rust like that!
Rust usually covers a wide area, and it's rough. This is smooth as silk.
Still ... maybe it 'is' rust as it must be something!
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On Sat, 4 Feb 2012 14:20:41 +0000 (UTC), Chuck Banshee

It may be rust in the pinholes of a clear-coat?
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