I have one that sat in the shed and has surface rust to the point where
it's hard to read the square. It's steel. I thought about steel wool
but I need something that will get to the grooves in the numbers. Once
clean, I'd like to "paint" the numbers only and then apply something to
the whole square to protect it. Ideas?
This might sound funny, but I do that with my older steel squares on
purpose, sort of. My eyes aren't as good as they used to be, so when one of
my squares starts getting hard to read because of surface patina I leave it
out overnight for a few nights until it's got a bit of rust on it, and then
blocksand it with, say, 150 wet-or-dry sandpaper to take off the surface
rust and shine it up. The rust down in the grooves and numbers gives me
better contrast. Sometimes I'll spray paint the whole rule with black primer
and then block-sand off what's on the flat surfaces to get even better
I know this isn't exactly what you were asking for, but I thought you might
enjoy a different perspective. Maybe some of the old-timers here will see
themselves in this situation.
<dan> wrote in message
That's pretty much my thought as well. Of course I can't read the
blasted numbers no matter what unless I get real close and squint, so
it's all a bit of a moot point.
"We need to make a sacrifice to the gods, find me a young virgin... oh, and
bring something to kill"
Makes me think of a problem I noticed recently. My regular glasses don't let
me read anything close up and my reading glasses don't let me see things
very sharp far away. Now, I'm noticing that I have problems seeing things in
between close up and far away which for me equates to about a distance of 3
feet. It's getting to be a pain in the ass and I'm damned well not going to
get a third pair of glasses.
Works faster than molasses, so if it's molasses-based, it
probably contains some sort of accelerant, probably a
degreaser. At $10 per pint vs $2.50 per pint of Grandma's
(dilute to 1/8 to make 1 gallon), I'd go with the cheaper of
the two and be patient.
I finally tried this stuff (on some inherited auger bits that were coated
with rust), worked quite well but at that price I won't be using it often.
Making sure the pieces being treated are completey immersed is important,
otherwise there's a sharp line of demarcation where the solution ends and
the air begins, duh. It kind of smells bad too, and leaves a black residue
behind which wipes off to some extent. I'd use it for something intricate
enough that steel wool and elbow grease were inappropriate, but not for big
I tried Naval Jelly on the same bits and was less than dazzled with the
results, at the very least repeated applications would have been needed.
Naval Jelly doesn't know when to stop working. Electrolysis
or molasses only attack rust. Naval Jelly leaves a pitted
surface great for painting, but not for leaving bare. Even
then, DuPont blue metal prep works better.
Using it on a blade ruins it, pitting it badly enough
that it can't be sharpened. For rusted knives or chisels,
the only real way to clean them is rubbing with oil and
Naval Jelly works best to remove the rust, then lightly sand it or steel
wool it to get it smooth again.
Then wipe on and then wipe off some yellow or contrasting color enamel
paint. It will fill the lines and numbers making them much easier to read.
If you can't get all the paint off the flat surfaces, put a very small
amount of paint thinner on the rag and wipe the surface again. If you use
too much thinner you will remove the paint that's in the lines and numbers
and you will have to start over again. When finished let it dry overnight
I brighten up all of my engraved scales and squares this way, even new ones.
I use yellow paint for dark finish tools and black paint for chrome or
stainless tools. It makes them much easier to use.
I just did this a few days ago. I used a product called "Rust Free"
from Woodcraft. It comes in an 8oz pump spray bottle.
Spray it on, wait 60 seconds, wipe it off. For heavy rust, scrub with
steel wool before wiping. I used the steel wool. Most rust came off on
the first pass, but I had to treat a couple of spots a second time.
Unfortunatley, it can't remove the pits the rust left behind.
This'll most likely be phosphoric acid - often sold as rust convertor
in auto shops.
Works a treat and turns surface rust into a grey coating (iron
phosphide) - it actually passivates the surface, slowing down any
further rust development.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.