Restoring a Rusty Washboard?

I just came across an old washboard and it is in very good shape except the scrub part it is very rusty, I don't know if it is made out of aluminum or tin. I would like to display it but I would like to try and restore it somehow first. Does anyone have some suggestions? How can I remove the rust?


Jean from Banning, CA

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May 21, 20070 found this helpful

A lot of people pay good money to have antiqued whatnots rusted for them! I say go with it. It's rustic, and fits with the object. Plus, if it's an actual antique, you can ruin the value of it by cleaning it. Ever see Antiques Roadshow? ("Oh, too bad you refinished this lovely table. With the aged patina, it would have been worth $10,000. Now that you've "cleaned" it, it would sell at auction for about $100")

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By rustyreks (Guest Post)
May 24, 20070 found this helpful

Nice washing board looks great Important to know what material you are working with as aluminium is very sensitive to many cleaning products.If steel electrolysis is good but would remove the metal section separately so no damage done to to wood or painted area looks like it is pegged together and the good thing with electrolysis is that it it is the safest method without destroying the steel object check the web many museums use this method to remore old metal ie cannons and steel antiques.Havent had alot to do with alloys but there is a special


process where it can be cleaned check with the chrome metal people as many car badges are alloys and they restore them back to new so they could clean it down poss by acid or alkali dips need to know what you are doing they can anodise the aluminium so it looks like new to leave the rust on the steel without treating would cause the washboard to deteriorate.The rust would continue to eat its way deeper into the good steel unless treated other option is black strap mollasas a 1 part to nine of water and just soak the steel in for a week then wash with water then scrub down with a plastic brush if more rust put it back in the solution and wait another week then wash if no rust wash and dry and spray with wd40 also a friendly method only works on steel.Would need to remove the steel section separartelyAvoid abrasives as will leave scratchs may marr the appearance not recommmended these two are your best options for steel i use both on restoring old tools etc rustyreks nz

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By rustyreks (Guest Post)
May 25, 20070 found this helpful

In reponse to the above answer you can also make vintage objects more valuable if you know what you are doing.Be informed about making the right decisions before restoring an item it would be crazy to sand down a priceless antique without finding out some history or value first I recently repaired a very old sewing machine made 1895 or there abouts it had seized completely due to negligence left in a damp shed for many years but have managed to get it back to running order without damage to the machine its value before was worthless it now has value more to me as i repaired it people quite often comment on it as it is in going order just another opinion.Have been taking it to shows and use it for displays as is interesting.That is just one example of many items i have restored it is quite satisfying to restore them to original order rustyreks nz

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May 25, 20070 found this helpful

I agree with Beth - MA. Antiques Roadshow has taught us all - leave it alone until you're absolutely sure it's not an antique.


Your washboard looks like an antique. Besides, I think it looks really cool just the way it is.

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By chris (Guest Post)
May 25, 20070 found this helpful

try this website
I have asked them many questions
and they have always helped me out
for free...

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By (Guest Post)
May 27, 20070 found this helpful

It is definitely NOT aluminum as aluminum does not rust!

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By megan (Guest Post)
May 13, 20080 found this helpful

Just leave it alone. It looks really unique like that.

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By Theodore (Guest Post)
August 22, 20080 found this helpful

I have the same washboard and no its not old the they still sell that model Columbus of Ohio washboard company has been making them for many decades. I have found that the best thing you can do is to remove the rust with a marine battery, water, washing soda, a plastic container, jumper cables and clean steel object (nails or file). Put the marine battery or 20 amp battery charger on the wood board. Take some water and washing soda and put it in the plastic container and put the rusty washboard and the clean steel into the water mix and take jumper wire and connect the negative wire (black wire) to the rusty sheet metal and connect the positive (red wire) to the clean steel.


Connect the battery or charger. What happens is the the positive wire will attract the rust from the washboard to the clean steel. Leave for over night, in well vented room or outside. The next day take disconnect the power and take out the washboard. Place it into the carbonated water or cola. The acids in the soda will take the black oxide off the washboard and it not be rusty but just clean and ready for use or painting with boat paint. In the future the best place for the washboard is to in a dry area or if it is to be used for washing clothes, have a steel wool pads and lard (fat) to rub on the dry washboard it will keep it from rust and wood rot. China sells glass and plastic washboards.

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