Need advice on vise restoration

Yelverton

Mitch
Corporate Member
Good morning, all. I'm working on restoring an old 10" Craftsman vise and looking for some advice on next steps. Here's what I've done so far:

1. Scrub off surface grit/grease
2. Soak in vinegar for 24 hours
3. Scrub off rust with brass and steel wire brushes
4. Return to vinegar for additional 24 hours

First, the vinegar did a great job on the rust. Because of the size of the parts, I needed two gallons to cover them all and at $2.50/gallon, vinegar is a lot more attractive than more expensive chemical rust removers. The issue I'm running into at this point is that when I scrubbed off the rust the first time and rinsed the parts with water, the newly shiny parts developed a coat of surface rust almost immediately, within 10 minutes or so. I dried them after rinsing, but that apparently wasn't sufficient. I've been doing this in my non-climate controlled basement shop, so I assume that the humidity was pretty high given the weather this week and the fact that the basement is a concrete floor with cinder block walls (and partially below grade). Is the surface rust a result of the high humidity? Is there anything I can do right after rinsing to keep the parts from rusting again before I can paint?

When I've solved that problem, my plan is to prime with self-etching primer and paint with enamel. I'm considering using a teflon spray on the screw instead of oil, just to avoid having it gum up with sawdust over time - has anyone done that instead of using a light oil? Any other suggestions for improving my approach?
 

creasman

Jim
User
I purchased a can of silicone spray lubricant and use this ever so often on the threads of my vise. I don't think it lasts as long as oil would, but it does the job and doesn't stain as much if I overspray.
 

Gofor

Mark
Corporate Member
After using vinegar or any other acidic (low pH) cleaner, you can minimize the occurance of "flash rust" by adding some baking soda to the rinse. Although you may have thoroughly rinsed, the surface will still be a bit acidic so will form rust very quickly with any moisture, including just from high humidity. The baking soda neutralizes the acid, slowing down the process so the parts can thoroughly dry before the rust forms.

I would not spray the surface with silicone if you plan to repaint it, because silicone is difficult to remove and paint doesn't want to stick to it. WD-40 or other light oil that can be rinsed off with solvent (i.e alcohol, mineral spirits, etc) will protect the surface during the refurb, but can be removed more easily when getting ready to paint.
 

creasman

Jim
User
I would not spray the surface with silicone if you plan to repaint it,
Definitely agree with that statement. Only use the silicone AFTER you've finished painting. I use denatured alcohol to remove any oil/grease just before painting. It evaporates quickly and doesn't leave a residue.
 

Yelverton

Mitch
Corporate Member
After using vinegar or any other acidic (low pH) cleaner, you can minimize the occurance of "flash rust" by adding some baking soda to the rinse. Although you may have thoroughly rinsed, the surface will still be a bit acidic so will form rust very quickly with any moisture, including just from high humidity. The baking soda neutralizes the acid, slowing down the process so the parts can thoroughly dry before the rust forms.

I would not spray the surface with silicone if you plan to repaint it, because silicone is difficult to remove and paint doesn't want to stick to it. WD-40 or other light oil that can be rinsed off with solvent (i.e alcohol, mineral spirits, etc) will protect the surface during the refurb, but can be removed more easily when getting ready to paint.
This is great advice, exactly what I was looking for. Time to raid the kitchen pantry. Much appreciated.
 

tvrgeek

tvrgeek
User
As I usually paint with POR-15 or RUst BUllet, the flash rust is exactly what you want! No on the threads and jaws, I hit it with T-9 until it goes together than grease the screw.
 

Jeff

Jeff
Corporate Member
After the vinegar and a thorough rinsing just pour some denatured alcohol or acetone over the parts to remove traces of moisture from the rinse. Then coat them lightly with machine oil until you're ready to paint them.
 

Yelverton

Mitch
Corporate Member
After the vinegar and a thorough rinsing just pour some denatured alcohol or acetone over the parts to remove traces of moisture from the rinse. Then coat them lightly with machine oil until you're ready to paint them.
Yep, just finished. Out of vinegar again, scrubbed, rinsed in baking soda water, dried thoroughly (including with hair dryer and compressed air), then coated in a little bit of light oil. All looks good.
 

Oka

Oka
Corporate Member
I have been using a food based protectorant on my tools. I derust them, then rinse them with water or isopropl, then blow dry them and then spray the protectorant on them. Being on an Island in the Pacific EVERYTHING needs to be treated or it rusts after a month
 

BWhitney

Bruce
Corporate Member
Wow! There is such a difference between before and after!

So now I have a #4 1/2 Stanley that I am going to have to try the vinegar method on.
 

Yelverton

Mitch
Corporate Member
Wow! There is such a difference between before and after!

So now I have a #4 1/2 Stanley that I am going to have to try the vinegar method on.
Yeah, better than I expected for sure. The only challenge was getting into the nooks and crannies with the wire brushes. Otherwise just going through the motions.
 

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