|Ol' Rusty getting stripped down for the rust bath.|
|This fork has seen better days.|
|This chainring, believe or not, will shine after the oxalic acid bath.|
Taking the bike apart is the easiest part depending on how you look at it. Where there's a bolt, use a socket wrench, a screw, a screw driver. But it is also very labor intensive. Turning parts that have don't want to be turned because of rust can be a real challenge. My secret weapons for stubborn parts are my bicycle repair stand and WD40. Whenever possible, use the bicycle repair stand to your advantage. Even if its to remove a pedal from a crank arm, you can set the crank arm in the vice and bear down on the bolt of the pedal to screw it freely off. This will save you from having to bend over constantly and in the long run will save your back.
|Once the frame has been stripped down, a painter should have no problem removing the remaining rust and repainting the surface.|
Now that all the parts have been removed, it's time to put that rusty pile in a chemical bath. The chemical you will need is called oxalic acid. It is a compound mostly used to bleach wood decking. You can buy it at some hardware stores in its concentrated, or crystallized form. They also carry a diluted liquid version which takes longer to remove the rust. At first I went to my nearest Lowe's and bought a gallon of Cabot Wood Brightener which contained oxalic acid. I set the rusty parts in a bucket and filled it with water. Then I started adding a few ounces of the wood brightener. After leaving it overnight, the parts looked almost the same, so I added more copious amounts of the stuff into the bucket. At the and of the day I saw the water turning yellow which is a sign that the oxalic acid is doing it's job. I will leave it again overnight and see the results tomorrow.
|My first 48 hour Oxalic Acid bath using liquid wood bleach.|