So my cane mill is around 105 years old. It has rust slightly younger than that, but that’s not saying much. Pretty much all un-restored mills have old rust to some degree. Some folks like the rust look and it technically will not harm you if it is otherwise clean. I don’t like the look though and the mills weren’t rusty when they were new so it’s not like I am changing its original state.
So, I was searching around for the best way to remove rust from old iron and there were tons of people using electrolysis. I had heard of electrolysis for hair removal (which is becoming increasingly more interesting as I age and my ears have started to sprout). Anyhow, it is a well known technique for rust removal too (Here is a great bit of info on it). I put my rusty iron into a plastic tub filled with water and laundry soda. I hooked up my battery charger and hee-haw if it didn’t start bubbling!
Cut the power on and wait a few hours and poof…science happens! Search around for more details on your own because, of course, this could kill you if you do it wrong (Just look at my de-rusting tank…those bars are electrified when it’s running). Abigail and I enjoyed our little experiment and I am here to report that it works pretty well. I will still touch it up with a sand blaster (or maybe a soda blaster) but I think it is going to turn into a really nice piece!