Vinegar as a rust remover

This forum is for those who like to repair and restore knives, and for those who would like to learn.
User avatar
muskrat man
Posts: 5194
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 4:04 am
Location: Ohio
Contact:

Vinegar as a rust remover

Postby muskrat man » Mon Jan 30, 2012 7:54 pm

I learned this from an old trapper who uses a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water to clean up old rusty traps (some that even looked to me like were beyond use). For traps depending on the severity of the rust he soaked them for up to a week. I had been wanting to apply this to knife repair and got my chance when I was sent this crusty old Schrade cut Co 4 1/4" switchblade. It was badly rusted, the bushing was fuzed to the blade and the bolsters were fused to the liners making disassembly and cleanup very difficult. I made up a small batch of the mixture and tossed the knife in and left it for 24 hrs. I pulled it out, rinsed it off and scrubbed it with a brass bristle brush under running water. Most of the rust was gone and left a dull even finish on the mild steel parts and turned the tool steel parts (blade, button lever) a very dark grey, all of the rust just washed right away. It freed up the fused parts and allowed me to remove the bolsters and separate the blade from the blade bushing and perform a more in depth restoration of this knife. This is something to keep in mind if you find and crusty old jewel in the bottom of a tackle box at the flea market for $1 but everything is rusted shut (I wish I had known about this trick 6 years ago). For the record, I am not sure how this will affect various handle materials. I soaked a bone handled knife in straight vinegar and it didn't seem to have any adverse effects at the time, but some kind of reaction happens when the vinegar is mixed with water because straight vinegar won't do nearly as good of a job as fast as the 50/50 mix does.

Before:
Image

After:
Image

A light wire wheeling after this photo was taken had all parts fully cleaned as you can see some of the thickest rust was still present in some areas, a longer soak probably would have removed this as well. Even without lubrication after the knife was reassembled and ready for me to install the new handles it fired and locked as well as if it just came off the assembly line in NY.
Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither and will lose both.

Custom knives, repair, restoration & embellishment
Certified Hubertus, Taylor, & Schrade repairman past and present
http://www.muskratmanknives.com

User avatar
TripleF
Posts: 10006
Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2011 3:42 pm
Location: West Central FL
Contact:

Re: Vinegar as a rust remover

Postby TripleF » Tue Jan 31, 2012 12:19 am

Awesome! Thanks so much for the information.
SCOTT

http://www.PocketKnivesBlog.com

Colonial Knife Company History ebook:
https://gumroad.com/l/ZLDb

User avatar
big monk
Posts: 5169
Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2010 1:53 am
Location: Ninety Six,South Carolina

Re: Vinegar as a rust remover

Postby big monk » Tue Jan 31, 2012 1:15 am

::tu:: ::tu:: We live and learn new things, everyday !!!!! right here on AAPK ::tu:: Thanks for sharin' Kaleb !!!!! ::tu:: ::tu::
I'm not young enough,____to know everything !!!!!!!!!!!!

User avatar
orvet
Posts: 13802
Joined: Tue May 16, 2006 6:23 am
Location: Willamette Valley, Oregon

Re: Vinegar as a rust remover

Postby orvet » Tue Jan 31, 2012 7:54 am

Good info Kaleb!
I have 2 or 3 boxes of rusted knives, plenty of "test subjects." :mrgreen:
Dale
AAPK Administrator

orvet@comcast.net
Please visit my AAPK store: http://www.allaboutpocketknives.com/kni ... e37-y.html

"Buy more ammo!" - Johnnie Fain

knifemaker3
Posts: 586
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2008 10:56 pm
Location: Southern Missouri
Contact:

Re: Vinegar as a rust remover

Postby knifemaker3 » Tue Jan 31, 2012 12:16 pm

I'd have to disagree with you on using straight vinegar.......DON'T DO IT!!!!!!

I dropped my great grandpa's old rusty micrometer in a jar of vinegar overnight to get some of the rust off of it. It was working great, just a little rusty..........next morning it was in pieces. ::dang::

vinegar works great as a rust remover......just be very careful how long you leave it in as it will eat thru heavily rusted metals.

Will I use vinegar again......yes.....but I'll watch it more carefully after loosing a treasured piece of equipment like that.
God Bless!

Craig Blankenship
Booger County Outfitters LLC.

Maker of Custom Knives and Custom Screenprinted Garments

User avatar
muskrat man
Posts: 5194
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 4:04 am
Location: Ohio
Contact:

Re: Vinegar as a rust remover

Postby muskrat man » Tue Jan 31, 2012 3:29 pm

"I learned this from an old trapper who uses a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water to clean up old rusty traps"

I don't use straight vinegar either. I damaged a couple nice straight razors using straight vinegar.
Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither and will lose both.

Custom knives, repair, restoration & embellishment
Certified Hubertus, Taylor, & Schrade repairman past and present
http://www.muskratmanknives.com

knifemaker3
Posts: 586
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2008 10:56 pm
Location: Southern Missouri
Contact:

Re: Vinegar as a rust remover

Postby knifemaker3 » Tue Jan 31, 2012 5:21 pm

muskrat man wrote:I learned this from an old trapper who uses a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water to clean up old rusty traps (some that even looked to me like were beyond use). For traps depending on the severity of the rust he soaked them for up to a week. I had been wanting to apply this to knife repair and got my chance when I was sent this crusty old Schrade cut Co 4 1/4" switchblade. It was badly rusted, the bushing was fuzed to the blade and the bolsters were fused to the liners making disassembly and cleanup very difficult. I made up a small batch of the mixture and tossed the knife in and left it for 24 hrs. I pulled it out, rinsed it off and scrubbed it with a brass bristle brush under running water. Most of the rust was gone and left a dull even finish on the mild steel parts and turned the tool steel parts (blade, button lever) a very dark grey, all of the rust just washed right away. It freed up the fused parts and allowed me to remove the bolsters and separate the blade from the blade bushing and perform a more in depth restoration of this knife. This is something to keep in mind if you find and crusty old jewel in the bottom of a tackle box at the flea market for $1 but everything is rusted shut (I wish I had known about this trick 6 years ago). For the record, I am not sure how this will affect various handle materials. I soaked a bone handled knife in straight vinegar and it didn't seem to have any adverse effects at the time, but some kind of reaction happens when the vinegar is mixed with water because straight vinegar won't do nearly as good of a job as fast as the 50/50 mix does. Before:
Image

After:
Image

A light wire wheeling after this photo was taken had all parts fully cleaned as you can see some of the thickest rust was still present in some areas, a longer soak probably would have removed this as well. Even without lubrication after the knife was reassembled and ready for me to install the new handles it fired and locked as well as if it just came off the assembly line in NY.



Just saying don't use vinegar straight as it will eat metal up fast....much worst than diluted. You stated otherwise. Not trying to pick a fight....just trying to warn someone before they think they can use straight vinegar without diluting it to get a better result. In my experience all you come back with is pieces of metal.
God Bless!

Craig Blankenship
Booger County Outfitters LLC.

Maker of Custom Knives and Custom Screenprinted Garments

User avatar
muskrat man
Posts: 5194
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 4:04 am
Location: Ohio
Contact:

Re: Vinegar as a rust remover

Postby muskrat man » Tue Jan 31, 2012 10:12 pm

yeah I've tried it straight on traps, no adverse effects really but on tempered steel it seems it gets real aggressive real fast, especially on thinner and/or harder steels. I put 3 straight razors in straight vinegar one time overnight, the next morning one's edge was all ragged and the other two had cracks. No idea why though. you can put the knife in straight vinegar for a few minutes, then pour in an equal parts of water and it will sometimes fizzle and bubble so there's got to be some kind of reaction there that lessens it's aggressiveness (other than just dilution) ::tu::
Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither and will lose both.

Custom knives, repair, restoration & embellishment
Certified Hubertus, Taylor, & Schrade repairman past and present
http://www.muskratmanknives.com


Return to “Knife Repair and Restoration”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests