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Tired of going through a length wet/dry progression? Read this.

So I’ve been restoring blades for roughly ten years now (with some long gaps in the middle), and have also done a lot of hand tool restorations for myself and on commissions.

Rust removal/polishing has, and will always be the thin despise most. It takes up THE MAJORITY of my time and energy, and is extremely monotonous/boring.

I have done it ALL. Electrolysis/LYE tanks, bead blasting, evaporust, wire wheels (steel and 100 % brass), sandpaper, scotchbrite, steel wool, Dremel (and every attachment they have ever made), vinegar baths, etc, etc, etc…

The only one I haven’t done (due to the insane cost and licensing requirement) is high powered laser rust removal.

Some things work better in different scenarios, but I almost always end up going back to paper for at least a portion of a job. My right hand is chronically sore/tight from countless hours of sanding tiny areas for what seems like eternities. I wish I could just take everything that had rust on it over to my 3m Deburring/Polishing wheel and go to town, but it’s not an option (especially with razors).

Well I believe that I may have discovered something that will absolutely change the game of restoring razors for me (and possibly you too)

I’ve never been a fan of using a dremel on razors before; learned that the hard way. There isn’t a single attachment/ accessory that allowed you to remove rust/polish in a precise manner (without removing too much steel, doing it in s non-uniform way, overheating, etc…). The sanding wheels (strip of paper wrapped around a rubber cylinder) dig out chunks even at the highest grit. The sanding disks aren’t the right shape, and also are very difficult to stay precise with. The buffing sponges (those bushy grey and purple things) are overpriced garbage and start deteriorating the second you touch a surface them.

Well recently Ryobi has moved in on Dremel’s castle, and now there is a large dedicated Ryobi attachment/tool section right next to Dremel’s in HD. I’m constantly buying stuff there for my various restoration projects, and have an absurd amount of dremel stuff. Ryobi stuff is interchangeable (same diameter collets so the tools can be used interchangeably), so I decided to try some of it (it’s a lot cheaper than dremel stuff, for example, the Dremel High Capacity Cutting Wheel Disk is $30. $30 for a single metal cutting disk, and that doesn’t even include the easy lock mandrel that it locks onto. It’s supposed to last 10x longer than one of the standard cutting disks. The Ryobi version is $19.99, so 1/3rd cheaper.)

I grabbed one each of these abrasive cleaning/polishing wheel things that look like they are made up of dozens of rubber arms. Kind of like a flap wheel. Three grits are sold; 80-yellow, 120-white, 220-red.

I got home and grabbed one of the rusted blades I’ve had lying around forever, set up my corded dremel with flex shaft and new ryobi attachment, threw on my PPE (ALWAYS WEAR EYE PROTECTION with dremel, and a mask if you are gonna be there for more than a minute. ALWAYS. I’d be missing an eye right now if I didn’t, as I once had a sanding wheel tear and fly off the tool directly into the center of my protective glasses. It left a divot and some material. ALWAYS WEAR EYE PRO WITH DREMEL.)

I laid the blade flat and used a piece of painters tape to secure the edge to the bench top. (Piece of tape parallel to edge with only 1/16” overlapping onto the blade, basically just the bevel is covered.). Another VERY IMPORTANT consideration is the orientation of the blade in relation to the direction in which the tool rotates. Imagine the blade had a big arrow pointing from spine to edge. That is the direction your tool should be spinning in. If you go the opposite way (tool spinning towards spine), a disaster is imminent. The edge will catch the tool and bad things will happen.

It took less than a minute to uniformly remove everything that I didn’t want on the blade WITHOUT taking away a bunch of unnecessary metal. Went up in grit and was amazed by how polished it was. Finished on the 220 and it’s essentially a mirror (still gonna finish with high grit wet/dry and mothers mag).

They are the BEST method of restoration that isn’t by hand by far. No contest. I went back to Home Depot and bought a box of each grit (4 in a box). $7 each I believe. The thing that sucks is you cannot buy them ANYWHERE else. It’s a Home Depot exclusive product or something. You can have them shipped by Home Depot, but no other store/site sells them.

These aren’t some totally new type of attachment; they have existed in some form for a long time. I’ve tried the others in the past. This particular one by RYOBI is special. The wheel is wider (more surface contact) and the abrasive arms are more flexible. It just works. I’m gonna try recording a video to show how effective they are.

One last thing. These are e great and miles ahead of anything else out there for dremel powered razor restoration, but they aren’t magic. The operator still has to know what they are doing and use it appropriately. Setting the proper tool speed (start low and increase to optimal setting), applying the proper amount of pressure, keeping the spinning attachment moving at all times should never let it stay in one spot or it will remove too much), stopping occasionally to allow the metal to cool down, etc, etc, etc…. Any one of these things can cause irreversible damage if forgotten/neglected.

Anyhow, I’m attaching a photo of what these things look like. I’ll try getting video today too. Cheers.
Oh yeah, here’s an image of the glasses that saved my eye from the dremel. Look closely in the center. The sanding drum ripped off and flung at my eye like a bullet.
I used to work with a guy that had a giant deep scratch across his (prescription) safety glasses. He turned around quickly one day and walked directly into a piece of pipe that was sticking out from somewhere. After that he always wore those scratched glasses as a reminder of what can happen if you don't wear them.
Thank you very much for testing different types of equipment an sharing the results. I will be picking up a set of these try myself soon.

And thanks for stressing the fact that PPE is a must! Ive been lacking now and then in that way and have only been bitten once. But such bad things can happen.

I will be looking for your vid.
Yup, been using them for years and have posted on them a few times.

I only use them for jimps and the tang between the scales. You can use single wheel or gang them up, do use a flex shaft for much better control and safety.

You can get them online, eBay and from Jewelry suppliers in an assortment of grits, and non-Dremel brand much cheaper, that work just as well. Search, Scotch-Brite Radial Bristle Disc.

I use the Maroon 220 mostly. The radial curved discs are safer and polish better, straight fingers, (break off easily).

For me Dremel are dangerous, so I limited use.

You can buy, and I regularly use the 6 inch, 3m Radial Bristle Brush on a buffer. They are pricy about $100, but last a long time if used with care. They are also dangerous and can rip a razor from your hands. There is a learning curve. Here too I use the 220 maroon grit.

Buffers can remove rust or scratches quickly but there is a learning curve, and they can be dangerous.

I also use almost the slowest speed on the Dremel with radial disc, just a couple clicks up from the slowest speed.

Single speed Dremels are way too fast.

If you are buying a new Dremel, do buy Variable Speed and Cordless. The cordless batteries last a long time and charge quickly. One less cord on the bench is a good thing.

Do not use the Radial Disc with oil or get any oil on them from the razor, they will stop cutting. If you do you can soak the disc in any good degreaser for a short time or alcohol to dry them out. After they are good as new.
Thank you very much for testing different types of equipment an sharing the results. I will be picking up a set of these try myself soon.

And thanks for stressing the fact that PPE is a must! Ive been lacking now and then in that way and have only been bitten once. But such bad things can happen.

I will be looking for your vid.
From age 6 to 40, safety wasn't an issue. I wore glasses, no choice. Fortunately, when I get around tools, I grab for the glasses. I have a bin on the shelf that has nothing but goggles, and hearing protection. Multiples of each in case I don't get it back right away.
Unfortunately, Ryobi don't seem to sell those here in Aus...but I've bought some no-brand ones and I quite like them.
I wish I had a grit between 80 and 220 though...

I'm using them in combination with hand sanding on a blade that's got some deep grind marks on it.

Slash McCoy

I freehand dog rockets
Dremels are great! Dremels are TERRIBLE! Depends on how you use them.

First of all, proper PPE is absolutely essential, as it is with any power tool, but more so.

Second, as already posted, get a variable speed model and ignore the upper half of the range. It will do a lot more harm, and a lot less good, than slow to moderate speed.

I use the Harbor Freight heavy duty tool rather than the brand name Dremel tool. It lasts a lot longer and costs a third as much. It is a beast. Same collets, same tools. And I much prefer the corded version. My biggest pet peeve is cordless tools that last a long time but the batteries don't, and then they stop making the battery. My grandpa (I am 63) bought a "Skilsaw" circular saw when he was a young man building bombers for Boeing in WW2. My uncle has it now. Still runs. So almost 80 years old. Brushes replaced a few times, probably bearings, but still works. Cordless? Never gonna happen. If I buy a tool once, it sucks to ever have to buy it again, but it really sucks to buy a new one every few years, and it super sucks to buy the new improved model because I can't get a battery for the old one that is still good, but for lack of a battery. Okay so I hate cordless tools. I like that corded HF dremel knockoff.

I mostly use the cloth wheels or felt wheels, with diamond paste of whatever grit I feel is appropriate to start with. I only resort to the sanding drums when a lot of steel has to go, never for just simple rust removal. I already have the pastes, for honing, so there's that. If I start with 3µ paste and progress all the way to 0.1µ, I can have a flawless mirror finish if I don't get in a hurry.

Best way to protect the edge and also to keep the heat down, is to lay the razor flat on an aluminum or copper plate. Low to medium speed, light pressure, rotation always spine to edge and not edge to spine, and mishaps will be few.

When messing about with Dremels, I absolutely in the most strongest way suggest and implore you to make noob mistakes on expendable junk razors, cheap fleabay basket cases, or Gold Dollar 66's. In fact, the annual GD Modification Competition is a fine excuse to destroy a few GDs in pursuit of Dremel skills and artistic excellence.

Best way to sand, IMHO, is to fold sandpaper with the grit sides facing each other, and pinch this down on the blade, from behind the spine, so the edge is oriented away from the hand. Then run the razor back and forth between the pinched sandpaper. You can also lay the razor down and wrap sandpaper around a piece of garden hose or fuel hose or whatever. This makes a rounded sanding block that is also flexible and resilient, perfect for cleaning up a hollow grind. From 1k grit sandpaper, you can begin with diamond paste on a felt wheel. 3µ is a good grit to start off with. Get all the sanding scratches completely out, then go up the progression. Use a fresh wheel for each grit and don't allow cross contamination, if you want a mirror finish. The 3 micron will give you a slightly softer finish.
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