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Thread: Cleaning old tools

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    dhoff's Avatar
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    Default Cleaning old tools

    Nothing fancy, I just acquired out of my quest for a good tool box, (see other thread) many tools that had been owned by a mechanic. Obviously he used them often and clearly some of them had been with him for a long time. I have a pile of stuff to bring to the Craftsman, Mac or Snap-On guy for replacement.

    It also seems that this mechanic did not come from the school where they keep all of their tools in neat order clean and oiled. So I have lots of hand tools; well worn and coated with thin layer of whatever crap he worked on. If it were a few pieces, what I have done in the past is use WD40 as a cleaner/lube. But it seems like allot of WD and also, if ever there was someone with a better idea, this would be that crowd.

    So any suggestions? If you had a big pile of well used mechanic's hand tools, what would you use to clean them up?
    ExecutiveDirector@Ultracycling.com
    The UMCA


    The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore. ~ Vincent Van Gogh

  2. #2
    Too Tall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cleaning old tools

    I'd suggest something like Varsol however you are a friend and it would make your eyeballs fall out.
    Why not take it to a machine shop or local largish garage and pay them $20 to dump all that cr@p into their parts washer.
    If you go to a engine shop and have them hot tank the whole mess.

  3. #3
    AngryScientist's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cleaning old tools

    too tall has the same idea i did reading your thread. what you want is access to a parts washer, even the manual kind that recycles parts washing fluid through a brush hose. the fluid should be a good solvent to oil based grime which is likely to be on mechanics tools.

    if that doesnt work for you, my next idea would be to get a 5 gallon bucket, and a gallon of oderless mineral spirits. put the parts you want to clean in the bucket and apply the mineral spirits liberally and clean the tools with a brush. keep as much of the fluid as you can in the bucket to continue washing other tools. when you're done, put the waste mineral spirits back in the original gallon bottle and bring it to your town recycling center, or an auto parts store for proper disposal.

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    Lazer's Avatar
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    Default

    Ultrasonic cleaner.

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    Gummee is offline VSalonistas
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    Default Re: Cleaning old tools

    If you go google it, there's a way to use Pine Sol to get that stuff off. I'm pretty sure there's a thread on ADVRider about it. I've seen before and after pics of some carbs. It was amazing how clean they got.

    M

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    Default Re: Cleaning old tools

    Wash them like dishes. Lots of detergent and a scotch-brite pad. Basement sink would be better than a kitchen one. Dry them fast so they don't oxidize. Wipe down with an oily rag when dry.

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    Too Tall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cleaning old tools

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyler Evans View Post
    Wash them like dishes. Lots of detergent and a scotch-brite pad. Basement sink would be better than a kitchen one. Dry them fast so they don't oxidize. Wipe down with an oily rag when dry.
    Tyler, I'm no tree hugger however gotts to disagree with putting nasty petroleum down the drain or into septic.

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    steve garro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cleaning old tools

    Allot of times what they need is a simple disassembly, wipe down with a rag, quick round with a bristle brush and re-built as needed.
    Plus, you will weed out the jacked up ones.
    The OM (Old Man) tool box I rescued, while it had oodles of awesome shit, also had it's share of broken taps, tweaked micrometers and total ???? parts.
    - Garro.
    Steve Garro, Coconino Cycles.
    Frames & Bicycles built to measure and Custom wheels
    Hecho en Flagstaff, Arizona desde 2003
    www.coconinocycles.com
    www.coconinocycles.blogspot.com

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    Default Re: Cleaning old tools

    IMG_0106.JPG
    Quote Originally Posted by steve garro View Post
    Allot of times what they need is a simple disassembly, wipe down with a rag, quick round with a bristle brush and re-built as needed.
    Plus, you will weed out the jacked up ones.
    The OM (Old Man) tool box I rescued, while it had oodles of awesome shit, also had it's share of broken taps, tweaked micrometers and total ???? parts.
    PS - got a pic of the haul?
    What manner of tools, generally?
    Here is a sample of the kind of thins I got.

    - Garro.
    Steve Garro, Coconino Cycles.
    Frames & Bicycles built to measure and Custom wheels
    Hecho en Flagstaff, Arizona desde 2003
    www.coconinocycles.com
    www.coconinocycles.blogspot.com

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    dhoff's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cleaning old tools

    This is about 1/2 of the top box

    image.jpgLRIMAG0581.jpg
    ExecutiveDirector@Ultracycling.com
    The UMCA


    The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore. ~ Vincent Van Gogh

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    steve garro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cleaning old tools

    Damn, Son - that's an OM tool box - someone's lifetime in there.
    Glad you got it before it got scrapped.
    That stuff looks like it's in good condition.
    - Garro.
    Steve Garro, Coconino Cycles.
    Frames & Bicycles built to measure and Custom wheels
    Hecho en Flagstaff, Arizona desde 2003
    www.coconinocycles.com
    www.coconinocycles.blogspot.com

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    Bssc is offline VSalonistas
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    Default Re: Cleaning old tools

    Regular hand tools cleaning in bulk on the cheap at home with out a parts washer get a square container big enough to fit all the tools, a pair of chem safe gloves, a nylon gun cleaning brush, and some orderless mineral spirits. Let the tools soak over night do the easy ones first , get a chair or stool and do the scrubbing outside. When done use some ATF, power steering , or mystery oil, Starette make an fantastic tool preservation oil, avoid WD it is mostly a solvent not a protection

    Try never to soak any tools that are plated in simple green simple green has a acid that loves to create hydrogen embrittlement to plated surfaces this goes for chains too.

    for fine tools you need to be a bit more evolved clean each piece carefully making sure to only use xxxx on surface rust and the correct oils to ensure proper working order

  13. #13
    dhoff's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cleaning old tools

    Perfect, thank you

    Quote Originally Posted by Bssc View Post
    Regular hand tools cleaning in bulk on the cheap at home with out a parts washer get a square container big enough to fit all the tools, a pair of chem safe gloves, a nylon gun cleaning brush, and some orderless mineral spirits. Let the tools soak over night do the easy ones first , get a chair or stool and do the scrubbing outside. When done use some ATF, power steering , or mystery oil, Starette make an fantastic tool preservation oil, avoid WD it is mostly a solvent not a protection

    Try never to soak any tools that are plated in simple green simple green has a acid that loves to create hydrogen embrittlement to plated surfaces this goes for chains too.

    for fine tools you need to be a bit more evolved clean each piece carefully making sure to only use xxxx on surface rust and the correct oils to ensure proper working order
    And yeah, Garro, I did score. There is so much in there I am just digging through. I found a few tools specially for odd ball applications like a Ford Pinto, a centrifugal bore hone and 2 different ridge reamers and a two impact guns, tire tools, instruction manuals for pullers dated in 1974. Lots of the stuff is in great condition. It took some cleaning to make anything shine. I can only imagine the stories these tools could tell. A mechanic who was working professionally in the early 70's and died last year, still working. 40 years of a man's professional life. I can tell a little about how he thought from the tools. There are screw drivers with square shafts (two sizes) where he cut 2 inces of the tip off and the tip has wrench marks from where he used it to get into tight spots. He didn't seem to own allot of electronic equipment so I can only assume he worked in a well stocked shop where that stuff was provided, but it seems he was pretty diligent about certain types of things. there must be 25 different spark plug sockets, some new and of odd shapes. And he didn't seem to like fancy specialty stuff, opting more to use the basics. Lots of solder, NO body tools, his one welding tools (slag hammer) was almost unused, but he did like vacuum gauges and had a set plus a back up set, hardly used. He didn't sharpen his scrapers, and only had one pry bar, but allot of bent screw drivers and many of the sets of wrenches were missing one, sometimes replaced with a cheap house brand. there were a bunch of loose drill bits all sharpened many times except a few new ones, no taps or dies, not one. I would have liked to meet this man. I'll bet he liked his beer and snowmobile, and quit at 5pm sharp. This was not a man who had a love affair with the tools, he just used them and used them hard, for a long time. There was not a measuring tool in the box other than a half dozen wooden rulers and some feeler gauges. There were no stickers or other adornments on the box or in it and the drawer liner was probably original.

    Hey how do you pull the drawers out of these boxes? Anyone know?
    ExecutiveDirector@Ultracycling.com
    The UMCA


    The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore. ~ Vincent Van Gogh

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    Default Re: Cleaning old tools

    Why don't you have a parts washer already when you got that old grimy harley in house?

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    Human Epic Jolt is offline One of a kind Vsalonista
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    Default Re: Cleaning old tools

    Quote Originally Posted by dhoff View Post

    Hey how do you pull the drawers out of these boxes? Anyone know?
    At a guess. Middle finger. Feel down the sides. Press up. Pull forward.

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    Brian Smith is offline VSalonistas
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    Default Re: Cleaning old tools

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyler Evans View Post
    Wash them like dishes. Lots of detergent and a scotch-brite pad. Basement sink would be better than a kitchen one. Dry them fast so they don't oxidize. Wipe down with an oily rag when dry.
    I'm in total agreement with this, and in I'm in contradiction to what others said about bothering professionals with cleaning your hobby find.

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    Corso is offline VSalonistas
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    Default Re: Cleaning old tools

    As posted earlier: Pine Sol. Get the real PS, not a generic brand. Put tools in a plastic container, let soak for 24 hours or so. The heavy crud will be taken care of. Then wash with warm soap/water. PS works great with things that have rubber o-rings and gaskets, as it won't ruin them.

    Simple Green: I soaked a Suntour headset in a small jar of the stuff years back. Forgot about it for way too long...and it "etched" weird grooves in the cups, like a worm eating through wood. Not the best for aluminum.

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    bertiewhang is offline VSalonistas
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    Default Re: Cleaning old tools

    I'd go with your wd40 idea. buy a gallon and cut the top of the can off or pour it in a tray.
    Just because it isn't clean doesn't mean it won't do the job you want it to do. you won't leave any moisture in any nooks or crannies either.

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    Default Re: Cleaning old tools

    Natural bristle brush makes a difference.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Cleaning old tools

    Quote Originally Posted by dhoff View Post
    I have a pile of stuff to bring to the Craftsman, Mac or Snap-On guy for replacement.
    I would be hesitant to trade any old Craftsman tools for new Craftsman tools unless they were actually broken and unusable.
    The tool department in Sears makes me sad lately.

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