By Dennis Cook
I had noticed over the years that many of my spanners and other tools have developed a light coating of rust, particularly those that are less frequently used and therefore do not have the protective coating imparted by greasy hands.
Those who have done restorations are probably familiar with phosphoric acid which is a really great de-rusting agent, but phosphoric acid is not freely available and, like all acids, needs to be managed carefully. I found a tip that I have just used to restore all my spanners to sparkling as new condition that I thought to share with our members. It is easy and inexpensive.
Place the rusty tools in a plastic container wide and deep enough to be able to immerse them. I suggest not to use your wife’s best Tupperware container as you may not be able to clean it satisfactorily afterwards. Pour a couple of bottles of ordinary spirit vinegar, that you can purchase from any supermarket, into the container in order to cover the tools, and leave overnight. You may find the next morning that the don’t look any different but you will need to brush off the rust which will come away easily with a fine wire brush or even an old toothbrush. The rust brushes off easily and you will be left with a clean spanner or tool. Now neutralise the acid by immersing the tools in water in which you have dissolved a few tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda and, hey presto, they will be suitable for showcasing in your workshop. I suggest to wipe the tools with an oily rag to add a layer of protection or, as I did, drop them in a container of diesel before wiping them clean for use.