So next the brace. Or rather braces. In the meantime I'd snagged a nice little 5” sweep one, so I figured I might as well clean that up at the same time...

I decided a quick run using the existing solution to see how things would go was worth while, before I went hunting for a larger bath tub.
Well that looked okay, so time to top up the mix and immerse them properly.
Otherwise things are only partially covered, as you can see by the “high water” mark here.
And here. But this part gave me an idea of whether the existing plating would be zapped off or not. But it's good stuff, and where it's still firmly attached, just fine. Looks a little dull though...
So I resorted to my old habits of sharp knife for cleaning out the knurling and wet'n'dry to impart a modicum of shine to the metal. I can't for the life of me remember where I picked up this tip, but a strip of duct tape on the back of paper-backed abrasives give them the necessary strength to cope with the shoe-shine technique.
A little elbow grease later, and I'm quietly pleased.
I didn't bother with the wet'n'dry on the 5 incher, as you can probably tell – particularly if you compare the chucks. The woodwork on both looks “not good” though.
No lacquer present needing removal with scrapers, so I went straight to a fine-ish foam-backed abrasive pad and sanded with the grain. A tack cloth to clean up and then the metal surfaces adjoining the wood where masked off. It's no good telling myself I'll be careful; I always end up getting the finish where I don't want it if I don't make that extra effort.
I used blonde de-waxed shellac on the handle of the 10” because the natural colour was so good, but garnet on the pad and the beech of the 5”. Wiped on, lightly sanded between coats.
The finished set ready to be packed up and sent off. The ratchet works like a Swiss watch.

Is citric acid the answer to all my tool cleaning tasks? Well it's a start, but I couldn't live with that dull look on some tools, so the wet'n'dry and elbow grease hasn't bitten the dust entirely yet. It certainly does speed up part of the process of cleaning bits, I must say. It also did a better job on the ratchet than I ever could. In theory the dullness can be reduced by judicious experimentation with soaking times and solution strength - in practice I haven't managed to avoid it yet while still getting the proper benefits of the citric acid. Experiments continue!


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