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Thread: Axe versus vinegar...

  1. #1
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    Axe versus vinegar...


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    I have an axe head boiling right now in vinegar, because its the darnedest axe head I've seen. I cleaned it up, leaving the deep pits and soaked it in new vinegar to form that patina, using vinegar from the same company I've always used. After five days with NO results, I gave it up and boiled it for 20 minutes. Pulled it out to find what appears to be two temper lines on the bit (? Different shades of black ?), with only half a patina. Literally splotches of shiny metal right in the middle of a grey patina. Boiling the thing again after cooling it. I just don't know about this axe head. Anyone ever have this happen?

    Just boiled it again, came out with a very weak full patina. What I normally get by soaking an axe head for a day. As far as the two different shades of black on the bit, I think thats just weird grinding.
    Last edited by Crazyotter; 12-29-2011 at 09:22 PM.

  2. #2
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    Boiling?
    Axes4Life

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    Ya... its forces a patina on ALOT faster than soaking. Not sure about rust removal though.

  4. #4
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    Yeah, some of the knife makers step it up to boiling bleach to form spalting. Boiling bleach...sounds pretty nice, eh?

  5. #5
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    Try mustard or some other acids, I once had trouble with vinegar but mustard worked. (Weird I know since it's just white vinegar in mustard, but maybe it's another factor)

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Liam Ryan View Post
    Try mustard or some other acids, I once had trouble with vinegar but mustard worked. (Weird I know since it's just white vinegar in mustard, but maybe it's another factor)
    Could be the little bit of salt content. Some salt combined with vinegar supposedly gives a faster reaction. If I soaked an axe head in vinegar with salt, I'd make sure to have good ventilation and clean it thoroughly after soaking.

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    This thread needs pics!!!!

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    I dont get the boiling part, but oh well. You need to be careful with the vinegar. You leave something in there too long and it just kills it, in my opinion. Mustart I have used, and it is ok, should have it air tight in a bag. Its a mess.

    Best thing is 3 in knotted wire brush for your angle grinder.
    Axes4Life

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Operator1975 View Post
    I dont get the boiling part, but oh well. You need to be careful with the vinegar. You leave something in there too long and it just kills it, in my opinion. Mustart I have used, and it is ok, should have it air tight in a bag. Its a mess.

    Best thing is 3 in knotted wire brush for your angle grinder.
    In what way do you feel that a long vinegar soak kills the head? One thing I've noticed with long soaks is that rust seems to go into suspension so no matter what you do you get a light, even film of rust on the head. I've heard someone refer to this as "rebound rust". A re-soak in fresh vinegar always solves the problem however.

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    Quote Originally Posted by trailmaker View Post
    In what way do you feel that a long vinegar soak kills the head? One thing I've noticed with long soaks is that rust seems to go into suspension so no matter what you do you get a light, even film of rust on the head. I've heard someone refer to this as "rebound rust". A re-soak in fresh vinegar always solves the problem however.
    No, it doesnt. Vinegar is ok for rust removal. It isnt the best however. You will get rebound rust on the head, days after u take it out of soak, because it willl remove all protection from the head.
    Axes4Life

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Operator1975 View Post
    No, it doesnt. Vinegar is ok for rust removal. It isnt the best however. You will get rebound rust on the head, days after u take it out of soak, because it willl remove all protection from the head.
    That method has worked for me on many, many heads. Of course the final soak in fresh vinegar is followed up by some type of protectant. I doubt the heads I'm soaking have any rust protection to begin with so I always add some as a last step. I've tried your method of a wire brush on an angle grinder but I was always left with an ugly, uneven finish that was still susceptible to rust, unless coated with protectant. I'll give the angle grinder another try, however, since you're obviously having some success with it.
    Last edited by trailmaker; 12-30-2011 at 03:55 PM.

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    Well yeah, you put a protectant on an axe head, and it probably wont get rebound rust.
    Axes4Life

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    Lots of replies, I'm just going to say boiling bleach sounds like a death trap. And I agree with Operator, over soaking an axe in vinegar is terrible. It leaves the metal with a dried out appearance and feel. But as far as rebound rust, I automatically oil an axe head until its saturated and almost dripping, leave it for a day, and then clean the excess oil off after any form of restoration. May be over doing the oiling, but it works and you'd be hard put to find rust on any of my axes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Operator1975 View Post
    Well yeah, you put a protectant on an axe head, and it probably wont get rebound rust.
    +1 anything I derust, regardless of the method, gets coated with wd-40 as soon as the rust is off. I've had these set for weeks without "rebound".

  15. #15
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    Any vinegar, acid or bleach soak should be followed by a neutralizing soak such as baking soda.
    Gun bluing or browning is nothing more than controlled rust.
    Personally I love rust, reminds me of me.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by church&son View Post
    Any vinegar, acid or bleach soak should be followed by a neutralizing soak such as baking soda.
    Gun bluing or browning is nothing more than controlled rust.
    Personally I love rust, reminds me of me.
    Thanks, Randy. Do you mix the baking soda with water?

  17. #17
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    Yes and I've also heard of using Windex (ammonia) to neutralize

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    ferric chloride is what you need.

  19. #19
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    When I want to derust an axe head I use electrolysis. The internet has instructions for setting it up and it will remove 100% of rust and you cannot overdo it. It reacts with just the rust and when the rust is gone the reaction stops. Any japanning is not harmed. After I clean it up I apply a coat of car wax and the axe looks great. Of course, it will not fix any pitting unfortunately. I've never tried vinegar.
    Jim

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