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How to clean tools after fire?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by troneew, Mar 23, 2011.

  1. troneew
    Joined: Aug 10, 2005
    Posts: 4

    from Georgia

    I have been digging some of my tools out of the ruins of my shop after a fire from several months ago. Does anyone have any suggestions for trying to clean the crud like rust and fire residue and who knows what else off of them? They are mostly hand tools and sockets and tire tools and things like that. Thanks.
  2. iamspencer
    Joined: Aug 3, 2008
    Posts: 350


    I would soak in kerosene
  3. phat rat
    Joined: Mar 18, 2001
    Posts: 4,473

    phat rat

    The ones that are not usable can be turned in for new if they are Craftsman and I think SK also. Wouldn't hurt to check out the other brands guarantee also
  4. Halfdozen
    Joined: Mar 8, 2008
    Posts: 618


    Oven cleaner.

  5. Destralo Roach
    Joined: Mar 27, 2006
    Posts: 521

    Destralo Roach

    Wire brush on a grinder motor, and then oil, but if they are that bad they are probably soft and wont be usable, sorta like the cheapest Chinese tools out there.....Roach.
  6. Get an old dryer and put it out back. Throw the tools and some abrasive in it. Set it on cool and let her run........
  7. thepolecat
    Joined: Mar 24, 2009
    Posts: 687

    1. S.F.C.C.

    almost every hand tool has a guarantee to be replaced if damaged- go try and turn them in.
  8. Dane
    Joined: May 6, 2010
    Posts: 1,351

    from Soquel, CA

  9. Willy301
    Joined: Nov 16, 2007
    Posts: 1,426


    as long as most of the heat was indirect they probably are still useable, I have seen tractors restored after direct flame contact without too big of a problem. The other thing is how hot did it get, if it was fully engulfed and burnt to the ground there would be more heat, but if the only part of the structure burnt then it was not nearly as hot. I hope you had insurance, not sure how good the tool warranty programs are for tools damaged by fire as opposed to breaking under heavy use... good luck, sorry for your loss.
  10. moparmonkey
    Joined: Aug 14, 2009
    Posts: 565

    from NorCal

    Oven cleaner will take all the junk off. Use some oil for the rust.

    If there's significant flash rust, that indicates the tools got hot, possibly hot enough to change the temper. Most of the time, this isn't the case though. The tools pretty much have to glow red hot to change the temper, flame contact alone won't do it.
  11. Swifster
    Joined: Dec 16, 2006
    Posts: 1,449


    Any reason why your homeowners insurance didn't cover these?
  12. tommy
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 14,757

    Member Emeritus

    I have some that were in a garage fire 35 years ago. They are still blue/black. Most of the bigger sockets lost their temper and simply stripped the flats out when we tried to open up an engine with a breaker bar to see how bad it was inside. I have some 1/4" drive sockets that still work ok. Not much torque required for those sizes. I could push the valve springs down with my fingers on a 396. I don't think you will ever make them look good again. The chrome blues just like a Harley exhaust pipe.
  13. Try Citriclean it's a citrus based cleaner works great. I work in oil and gas and deal with some pretty nasty crap and this removes most anything. Smells nice too.
  14. The all steel items could go in the engine vat. Castrol superclean will take smoke off.
  15. Snickern
    Joined: Sep 1, 2009
    Posts: 46

    from Norway

    I lost most of my tools in a fire 15 yrs ago, still have some of it for use. I wirebrushed it, an painted dem with cheap spray paint, you find out fast witch fits the garbage bin, and witch you still can use. I had a lot of kamaza and teng tools (good quality) still have those, but the cheap stuff, like HF in usa is not worth anything after a fire. Dont think you will get dem nice again, so my tip is spray can paint. Good luck
  16. 123
    Joined: Jul 2, 2009
    Posts: 283

    from Seattle

    If you can't exchange them for new ones try Evaporust from Harbor freight. I used it on some old rusty sockets and it cleaned them right up. It wont hurt the rubber or plastic on th handles either.
  17. 1971BB427
    Joined: Mar 6, 2010
    Posts: 6,430

    from Oregon

    If the tool boxes they were in didn't get hot enough to sag or distort, then the tools will be fine. Just soak them in Kroil or kerosene and then wipe them off.
  18. bryan6902
    Joined: May 5, 2008
    Posts: 1,137


    Just clean the big chunks of nastiness and grit off and use them as is. I bet most of the stuff will wear off with use. If the temper is gone, most of them will hit the trash soon enough so why bother with a whole lot of cleaning....

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