Acid bath for plane rehab

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The acid bath (vinegar) works well for me for rust removal.  Is it possible for it to be in the bath too long.  I usually leave it submerged for a couple days, scrubbing it each night.  The last plane I did came out pretty pitted and dull and every time I scrubbed it in the vinegar it had this thick black coating that I had to scrub is polishing up as I lap it, but it had a very rough texture to it on all the surfaces of all the metal parts.  Can the vinegar bath hurt the metal?  I always heard it just attacked the rust.  Thanks!


Jeff in KC

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The longest I've soaked a plane in vinegar is about two hours.  That was enough to bring back an eBay plane whose sole was pure rust.  I'd go for sort times and removing the surface rust every 20 minutes or so.

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Vinegar will eventually destroy the iron, it is intentionally done with steel wool to make an iron acetate solution to ebonize wood.


For long term baths I'd use Evaporust.  It won't hurt anything.  As far as other acids I've heard good things about lemon juice but not tried it.  I'm not sure if it is gentler than vinegar or not.

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