Hints and Notes
- The electrolytic bath is basic (caustic), like lye, so wear goggles and rubber gloves and keep a bucket of water or a hose nearby in case you spill or splash some on yourself.
- Alligator clip cables work well for suspending small parts like nuts and bolts from the hook.
- Painted rusty objects can take much longer because paint impedes electricity. For better results, scratch up the paint first, or use a paint remover before treatment.
- Ordinarily, you can dispose of the used bath liquid down the drain. But if you removed lead paint or you suspect that heavy metals (chrome in particular) have leached from your items, let the water evaporate to form a sludge (not a dust!) and bring it to a local toxic materials processor.
- Metals Handbook, Volume 5: Surface Cleaning, Finishing, and Coating, American Society for Metals, various editions and years — an excellent general reference
This project first appeared in MAKE Volume 17, page 147.