Anything that is metal has a vulnerability of exposure to rust buildup. In case you use that tool in some purpose in a moist environment, the chance is even higher.
That brings up a situation where we have a rusted piece of axe head, and we’ve to proceed with it anyway to get it back in order. What we mean is, we have to figure out the process that removes the rust off and shines it over again.
Worry not, we’ve got your back there. This is a 6 step guide that explains every detail on how to remove rust from the metal axe and made axe restoration easy-
- 1 Steps on How to Remove Rust from Metal Axe Head
- 2 How to Polish an Axe Head
- 3 Bottom Line
Items You Need
For going through the process that we’ll instruct you, you need to have these many items and chemicals in hands-
- Box or container(plastic or metal): To hold up the axe head into solution.
- White vinegar: Contains acetic acid that takes off the rust from metal.
- Steel brush/steel sponge: To take off the loosen up rust by rubbing on it.
- Dry cloth or paper: To take off warm water.
- Oil/grease: To provide a protective layer for further rust prevention.
Steps on How to Remove Rust from Metal Axe Head
Once you are done with collecting the essentials, here are the steps to go through-
Step 1: Separate the metal axe head
Before stepping into the actual rust removal process from the metal head of the axe, you have to separate it from its handle. Otherwise, you can not proceed with the rest of the process where we will submerge the metal head into cleaning solutions. Also, soaking wood into various cleaning solutions like vinegar will darken the wood.
For different kinds of axes, the way to separate the head might vary. Choose the best way for your one. Once done, proceed to the next steps-
Step 2: Soak the head into white vinegar
Take a plastic or any similar container that can hold the axe head into in properly. Now, get some water on the container and put some white vinegar. If you want to make the solution more effective, you can directly put white vinegar without mixing it up with water.
Make sure that the solution can submerge the axe head completely.
Now, take the box full of vinegar and axe head, and keep it in a dry place for 24 to 36 hours. This timespan quite depends on how much rust is there on the axe head surface.
After the time is over, you might notice some of the rust layers are coming off. This is due to the acetic acid present in the vinegar.
Step 3: Treat the head with a steel brush
When the timespan on the white vinegar solution will pass, some of the rust will come out of the axe head, and some of them will be loosely attached there. To deal with those loosely attached rusts, you need to have a brush or sponge with metal bristles(Forney 70504 Wire Scratch Brush is recommended).
Take the steel made brush and rub it on the rusted out surface of the axe head. Make sure that you are taking off the rust that is already removed by little splashes of warm water.
Some spots on the axe head will contain deep rust, and some of them will contain light rust. Make sure that you are dealing with each portion of them based on how deep they are.
Once you are done with the axe head profile, don’t forget to do the same with the axe eye. Axe eye is the place where the axe head is connected with the axe handle.
Step 4: Rinse it into warm water
Once you are done with the cleaning process of the rust, you have to take the rust off by submerging it into warm water. You can use the same container that you used for a vinegar solution.
Make sure that the temperature of the warm water is high enough to take off both the rust and the bad smell of vinegar. Once done, check if all of the rust of the axe head is taken off or not. If no, repeat the same process from step 1 to 4 and check for some better result.
Step 5: Dry the axe head up
As we have stated before, the smell of vinegar is a stubborn one and it hardly gets off just after step 4.
So, at this stage, you have to dry it off under sunlight. Before letting it dry under sunlight, take off the water from the bare metal surface. As water is the main reason that might give it rust build up over again.
Once the axe head is completely dry, put it back on the axe handle.
Step 6: Insulate it from moisture
This step is rather precautionary in case your axe is likely to catch up some rust buildup over again.
To prevent the development of rust, you have to apply oil or grease or any similar material on the axe head. There are both vegetable oil and mineral oil available for this purpose. In case you don’t find any of these two, the next better options can be gun oil or vaseline. Even some linseed or olive oil will also do.
Here is the list of products for axe head-
The sole purpose of this step is to prevent the direct contact of the axe head with moist air. In case you store your axe in a moisture-free space, you can just put the sheath on and that will do the job.
How to Polish an Axe Head
- Different grits Sandpaper (Our pick- Dura-Gold Premium )
- Coarse grit emery cloth (Our pick- EZ-FLO 45201 Emery Cloth)
- Metal polish (Our pick- Mothers 05101 Mag & Aluminum Polish)
- Lubricant (Our pick- WD-40)
- File (Our pick- Needle File Set)
- Place the axe, apply the WD-40 solution on the check of the axe and scrub with the emery cloth.
- Remove the loose rust with a soft cloth.
- Repeat the process again; apply WD-40 and scrub.
- Follow the same procedure to clean axe toe, hill, beard and poll.
- Use file in dimples appearance place.
- Apply again WD-40 and scrub with different grit sandpaper( 320 grits>600 grits>1500 girts>2500 girts>4000 girts>8000 girts)
- Clean the axe head and apply the polisher properly.
So far, that was the 6 step guide on how to remove rust with vinegar from metal axe head and make axe restoration easy. In this way, you will never have to throw away any of the rusted axe heads anymore.