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Tools got rusty

 
steward & bricolagier
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The back hatch of my car leaked. The water flowed right to my tool storage area and dripped in. The tools are in slightly padded cloth bags, like camera cases etc, and the bags were not moldy. But the tools have rust spots. Haven't looked close yet to see how bad the damage is. Saw a tiny torx head that you can't tell what it is for the rust.

My best guess is to soak them in a dilute vinegar mix, then oil them, and keep them in ziplocks from now on. Any better ideas? I REALLY don't want to lose all of these. Some are probably not bad, some are, depending on how long the bag was wet and where they were sitting in it.

Help!
:D
 
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You might get by with just a little oil and fine steel wool. Vinegar will remove any finish, and if any rust is bad will leave pits where the rust was.
 
pollinator
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Pearl,

I feel for you.  The vinegar will work.  Coke will also work.  You will be surprised how quickly the torx will come back to its recognizable state with a little acid bath.  There was a thread on here not long ago about removing rust.  Yes, you will need to oil them or paint them at this point.  Clear nail polish will also work, but will rub off with use.  Once rust starts, you can't ever get it to stop until you seal the surface from oxidizing.  

As far as suggestions, not many options other than a plastic case to keep things organized while in the car.  The bags are less obtrusive, but hard to keep dry.  

I found the previous thread here:

Permies rusty tools
 
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I'd keep a small cloth bag of rice with them, but 'seasoning' them, like you would cast iron would be a good idea, I think.
 
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I use full strength white vinegar.
 
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I have salvaged some very rusty tools using electrolysis. Probably the best was my dad old metal ruler/carpenters square. It was rusted to the point that the writing was no longer legible, and a bit pitted in places. Not only did the rust clear off like a dream, but the markings all popped up nicely. Practically as good a new. That thing is at least 40 years old, and he hadn't used it for at least 10 because he couldn't read it.
 
Pearl Sutton
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Thank you all, I read the linked thread about the rusted tow chain, and am looking up the rust converter (Gemplers Rust Converter.) Looks like there are other rust converters out there too. Anyone have experience with them? I'm from the desert, rust isn't in my skill set.

I haven't looked at the tools close yet to see how bad they are. I dumped them out to dry, that's it. Will be a couple of days before I can get to dealing with them. But I can buy rust converter before then if it's a good idea, I'll be in the city tomorrow.

I hope they aren't too bad. I'll try to look at them quickly in a bit, get a feel for how bad it might be, and post again. I know they are not solid rust balls. I saw spots, and tips that looked bad. I really didn't look. I'll look a bit closer today, but won't have time to try anything for a few days.

:D

Edit: interesting link: Comparative Study of Commercially Available Rust Converters That's the historic park and houses site... Spoiler: They like the tannic acid types, the Gempler's is one of them, as is Rustoleum. Gempler's is water based clean up, which is a bonus in my book.
 
Pearl Sutton
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Quick look at the tools: Most are just spotted, a few pliers type things are rusted enough they don't open and close easily, or at all. Wondering what bag I had those those in that didn't protect them at all... Screwdriver tips took damage. those might not be salvageable, especially the tiny ones (looks like the tiny torx set was cheap metal, they took the worst damage.)

Headed out to work on the car they go to, since it's sunny. Doing it without the collection of tools that were chosen to fit that car is less than optimal.
 
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