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There has been some discussion lately about using the electrolysis method in the restoration of old woodworking machinery & equipment. This technique is not limited to the heavy cast iron of old "arn"; it can be used on sheet metal also. About four years ago I discovered that my neighbor was preparing to throw away several old toolboxes that he had inherited. He had already cleaned up with a wire wheel and salvaged those hand tools that he wanted and thought he could save. Unfortunately, he had already thrown out a bushel basket of wrenches, sockets and such that he thought too far gone. IIRC, there were seven boxes total; and he was happy for me to take them out of his shop to experiment with. On closer inspection, two of them were too far gone to bother with. One was totally rusted through on the bottom, the other was a hip roof box that I thought was to rusted and thin. It was a small hip roof, old, box - and I found a home for it with a buddy working on doing up a "rat rod" pick up truck and he wanted something like that to bolt to the bed; it was just what he had been looking for. Of the five remaining boxes, I stripped them down. Drilled out the rivets holding nameplates and carry handles and scraped off as much surface rust as I could using a wire wheel on a drill. I likely spent a little time here also with a body hammer and dolly. Some where in better shape than others. Following the general clean up, it was time for the electrolysis tank. A more detailed description of this process has been posted in other threads; here is a link to the process: http://wiki.vintagemachinery.org/RustRemovalByElectrolysis.ashx I used a 30 gallon plastic trash can, battery charger set on 2 amps hooked directly and a piece of iron pipe that was laying around. I used plain baking soda for the electrolyte, likely taken directly from the refrigerator or freezer with the explanation that it was time for a new box anyhow From the pic above, it is cooking pretty good! Not sure now, but I think that each box was in the "can" about 4-5 days? I checked them each morning and just left them in until they were clean and any remaining paint just scraped off with a plastic scraper. As I recall, I put the box in with the lid closed and put the sacrificial rod on the backside, the next day or day and a half, bring the sacrificial rod to the front side and then a couple days with the lid open and the rod positioned so as to draw the rust out of the inside of the box (where the rust was the worst). As far as I know, you cannot leave them in too long - the chemical process just slows down to nothing as the project metal is converted to a rust free surface. May be wrong on this, YMMV... A couple of items to note in the above pic, peeking out from behind the can you can see a few more of the "project" boxes. The long Klein box on the bottom, a short hip roof box and a red box missing the drawer. There is also a tray in there, most of the boxes were missing the trays, or the trays were beyond saving. The long Klein box was long enough that I had to do one end, and then flip it 180 degrees to do the other end. After the electrolysis bath, I washed them down and done any additional "body work" necessary to make them presentable. Flash rust occurs if these parts are not painted in short order. I don't remember any additional steps before painting, but may have given them a light scuff. A couple of the boxes were painted with Rustoleum hammered paints. That is really good stuff, tough and the textured finish covers up a bunch of dings and scratches that would otherwise show up. The other boxes got a coat of whatever I had on hand and felt like using. The exception was the Craftsman boxes, and those I went with a machinery gray on purpose. Nothing special here, just rattle cans of paint I had on hand. These are tool boxes after all, and old tool boxes at that. They show some abuse. They are what we would call 20 footers in the trade. They look pretty good from 20 feet away! After the paint was dry I riveted on new latches on those that needed them - which was most of them. I also made new trays if needed, and for one box a new drawer. These parts were made from sides of washing machines, or dryers. I have a friend that recycles metal and will give me anything he has on hand that I can use. You can see in the bottom of the Klein tray being fabbed up that it was likely some type of appliance in a previous life... So, what has become of them? The best of the whole bunch was a Craftsman box. I gave it to the neighbor. He was pretty shocked to see it returned in that condition! The other Craftsman box sits in my Duster with a few handy tools to have on a trip; the small red hip roof is in the son's Pontiac; the Klein has my long torque wrenches and other fragile measuring tools and the small red (now green) box is full of router bits and accessories. This was a fun project that didn't cost me much; but gave me a lot of satisfaction. I recently did another tool box using a rust converter. It did not come out anywhere near as nice as these - I would call it maybe a 30 footer...
View File Workbench Magazine Mar-Apr 1966 Rolling Sheet Metal Patterns This is a scanned document of the now defunct Workbench Magazine of this era. Permission was granted by the new Workbench Publication for The Patriot Woodworker community to copy and use the old Workbench Magazine at our pleasure, and for free distribution and re-use. Submitter John Morris Submitted 10/30/2016 Category Home Improvement