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Rusty knives

Dec 2, 2015
Hello Folks,

I have a few knives that I need to polish up due to rust and general grunge/sap/tar. Both polished and villager (satin) finishes. Nothing too serious, mostly surface stuff, I dont think any pitting.

Any recommendations on grade(s) of steel wool to get? I have some metal polishes already. I have gone after it with plastic pads, but too labor intensive.

Also might be interested in blueing one of my blades for fun, so any recommended product for this would be great.



Dec 19, 2012
Sometimes steel wool doesn't get the job done, as mentioned scotch brite or I usually just start with sandpaper. Depending how bad it is, I'll go with like 220 and then finer and finer.

There's a lot of cold blueing products out these days. Birchwood Casey has paste and liquid. There are others at like Brownell's or Midway etc. No doubt on Amazon these days too. I often times use different brands and types back and forth to get the look I want. Sometimes it helps to take the blue better if you heat it a bit with a hair dryer or heat gun. Not super hot just good and warm.


Basic Member
May 29, 2004
Before you start with sand paper or steel wool, consider using hot distilled vinegar to remove the rust. It’ll leave a dark patina in place of the rust but won’t leave any scratches like abrasives will. If you’ve looking for a perfect finish then yes - sanding followed by buffing will be best but will take much more effort... Good luck and post some pics if you can!
Aug 7, 2020
It depends on how bad things are....I like start light and work up....steel wool or scotch brite to sand paper in increasing grades only going as far as needed to see the results I want. Then I work back down to polish things out... I sometimes finish with a die grinder/ Dremel with polishing compound for the final finish. Be careful near the thinner points s it is possible to overheat them with high speed tools.
Aug 26, 2010
Before you do anything get the sap and tar off with acetone, gasoline, alcohol, Wild Turkey 101 or whatever is your favorite. There is nothing better than sap and tar to clog up your abrasives rendering them useless. I use scotchbrite pads to do that.