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Removing rust from antique tin tea canister

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I just purchased an antique, embossed tea tin. The unpainted edges of the tin are quite rusted. While probably most collectors do not restore tins, I have decided that I want to because I don't like the rust. Should I use Naval Jelly [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] to dissolve the rust? But what about the pitting? Could I ever so lightly sand the tin? Afterward, should I apply a sealer? Can anyone help me?

Ellen Bille
hobbyist - Friendswood, Texas


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We used to use a dilute solution of Oxalic Acid [linked by editor to product info at Rockler] (5 weight % to take rust off old beer cans. Its poisonous! I can't guarantee it won't dissolve tin and if the rust has eaten through the paint, it will leave holes in the paint. Leave the can soaking in the solution checking it every hour or so until its clean. Rinse well to remove traces of the acid.

Richard Michael Grazul
- Juiz de Fora, MG Brasil


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You can use very strong black tea(5 bags to 0,5 lit water). Citric acid is useful too(5o gm/1 lit water, for best results mix it with some ammonia,pH must be 3,5). You can mix it with wallpaper glue(celullose based), then you can use it only on rusty places. Rinse well! Good luck!

Goran Budija
- Zagreb, Croatia

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