One of the challenges in repurposing/refinishing old furniture pieces is what to do about the yucky rusted metal pieces that may be part of the piece’s construction. As I continue to work on the chairs that Tom picked up last fall [see them here] I had alot of really rusted brackets that had held the seats to the chairs. These pieces were so gross I hated touching them without gloves. The rust was so thick that rust “dust” would come off when the pieces were dropped. I thought I was going to have to buy new because I didn’t think I could even get them clean enough to spray paint them.
Last night, however, before I gave into to buying new, and before figuring out how at least scrub off enough rust that they could be painted, I did a bit of internet research on ways to remove rust. I stumbled upon several articles that said to simply soak the rusted pieces in vinegar for up to 24 hours. Since the pieces were already sitting in an old plastic container that was lidded, I figured I had nothing to loose, except the 1/2 empty bottle of white vinegar I dug our of the back of the cabinet. Since the vinegar I had was not enough to cover everything, I added enough water to the container so that everything was fully submerged. Then I did nothing……
This morning I checked on the pieces. As I pulled the first bracket out of the vinegar water I was pleasantly surprised to see that quite a bit of the rust had come off- certainly enough to be able to paint them. But then I rubbed my finger over the bracket and I was amazed that just using my finger I was getting most of the remaining rust off. From there I grabbed a Scotch-Brite pad and lightly rubbed the rest of the rust off. Now the brackets look nice and clean- certainly not brand new, as there is no shine, but definately clean enough that it can reused without needed to be painted first.
So there you have it.. quick and easy rust remover from your hardware, simply be soaking the items overnight in vinegar.