All you need to get this job done is to set aside an afternoon and gather a few materials (you may even have many in your shed). The small effort required will help prolong the life of your tools, which is especially important if you have quality tools that have been passed down through the generations. Here’s how to get started on your quest to conquer that dirty four-letter word – rust!
• WD40 or RP7
• Methylated spirits
• Cutting-tool lubricant
• Graphite powder
• Steel wool
• Wire brush
• Fine-grit sandpaper
• Clean, dry rags
• Eye, ear, hand and respiratory protection
Wondering why you’d bother to clean your screwdriver? Try using a rusty screwdriver, then put your hands straight onto clean paintwork and you’ll soon discover why! To restore your screwdrivers to their hardware-store glory, lightly sand to remove the bulk of the rust, then rub with steel wool. Next, dampen an old rag with WD40 or RP7 and rub over the blade to prevent the rust from returning. Use this process to remove rust from any of your hand tools and drill bits.
Shift the grit
Tools with moving parts, such as an adjustable shifter, will sometimes only need a light sand, a rub with steel wool and a spray of WD40. But, if rust has really taken over and your shifter has seized up, it’s time for a metho bath! First, submerge the shifter in a container of methylated spirits for 24 hours. Remove it from the container, then scrub it with a wire brush. Dry with a soft cloth and, if the mechanism still hasn’t loosened up, tap it on your workbench and try again. Once it’s loosened, rub with steel wool and wipe over with a rag dampened with WD40. Next, apply a little graphite powder to the mechanism.
Chisel it (just a little bit)
Rust-free tools are one thing, but it’s also important that your tools are razor sharp, so they’re ready for action. Blunt chisels can lead to a messy result, plus they’re difficult to work with and even dangerous to use. The ideal angle for
a chisel point is 25-30 degrees. So, if you have a chisel that needs sharpening, grind it back using a bench grinder.
Step 1 Grind chisel, holding it at 90° to grinding stone, to square it and remove nicks.
Step 2 Adjust grinder platform to 25-30° and grind chisel, working it to a sharp edge. While grinding, regularly dip tip of chisel into a cup of water to prevent it overheating. If you overheat chisel, you’ll notice a dark burn mark appear close to the tip. This means you’ll need to start the whole process again.
Step 3 To refine bevel, apply a small amount of cutting-tool lubricant to an
oil stone. Keep flat side of chisel flat to stone and work back and forth. For bevel side, tilt it up a little beyond angle and work in figure-eight motions to hone chisel to a sharp edge. You’ll know that it’s sharp when there’s
a little burr on tip of chisel.
Step 4 Knock off the burr by dragging the tip against a leather belt (the back of the belt you’re wearing will do).
Let’s twist again
No doubt you frequently use twist bits in your power drill. And, if you’ve ever worked with a blunt bit, you’ll agree it can be a frustrating experience. But, it can be easily fixed – you can resharpen your bit using a bench grinder. The tip of a twist bit is a cone shape so you need to make sure you follow this shape on the grinder, turning the bit gradually as you go. And use the ‘touch and dip’ method: for every couple of seconds on the grinder, dip the drill bit in a nearby cup of water to help prevent the tip from burning or breaking.
Snip to it
Here’s an idea that applies to the toolbox as well as stationery and craft supplies – sharpening blunt paper scissors. Just fold a piece of foil to create seven layers. Then cut through the foil 10 times. It sounds too simple to be true, but try it and you’ll notice they’re instantly sharpened.