Ultrasonic Tool Cleanup

I have been doing a lot of old tool cleanup lately.  Maybe half of it ends up on my blog because I doubt anyone wants to see yet another number 4 cleanup.  My technique hasn’t really changed since I first posted about it.  Maybe there is a better way however.  Maybe the power of ultrasonics can speed up the cleaning of old tools a thousand fold!  Or not as we shall see.

My subject is a Number 9 1/2 block plane, a pretty common model.  I picked it up from an antique store for a reasonable price.  All the parts were present, but they were very full of dirt and rust.  Specifically the adjustable shoe was completely stuck.

Now previously I would just soak it overnight in the ole Evapo Rust.  This time I put it in an ultrasonic cleaner with Evapo Rust.  The results were…. CRAP!  After nearly an hour of going in an out of the cleaner I had what appeared to be a wet plane with ever so slightly less junk.  A bit of google searching seems to indicate that rust removal is a big thing with ultrasonics.  My cleaner is an old all stainless unit I got from a surplus place years ago.  Time for a shaming!


That should teach it a lesson.  Oh well this block plane and all its parts completely filled the basket.  I would never be able to clean anything bigger.  So much for time saving technology.  A new large unit would probably due the trick, but those are expensive.  I should just be patient and let em soak overnight.

There we are, no rushing this process I guess.   I’ll leave the flattening and sharpening for a later date.  While I was working on my big secret woodworking project I might as well soak something else.  I got an mixup of heirloom twist bits and brace accessories over christmas.  They look rough now, but a trip through the Evapo Rust cures all!

After the rust bath a soaking in WD-40 and a quick scrub with a scotch brite pad does a good job of getting into the twist areas.  After the block plane, the twist bits and another small project the tub of rust remover was starting to look like the black lagoon!

wpid-20150111_183941.jpgThe liquid is completely opaque.  I hope that in a few days the sediment will fall out to the bottom and leave a clearer liquid at the top.  If not, I will pour it through a coffee filter to keep the junk from contaminating my main supply of Evapo Rust.

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