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
Here's a closeup:
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.
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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