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by Dave "Koolkar" Feltner & Paul "Inky05" Yacabitis

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RUST -- The Stovebolter's Arch Enemy!

It's probably the one thing we all do, whether we are preserving a drivable original, doing a frame-off restoration or building the ultimate road-shaking street rod -- battle our age-old enemy rust! Just about all of us Stovebolters have dedicated our lives (seems like, anyway) to finding the ultimate cure for rust. It's our Holy Grail. Is it best to encapsulate rust? Do you sandblast it away? Do you dip it in an acid or molasses bath? Here's a couple of our dedicated Rust Crusaders, Koolkar and Inky05, with reviews on a new product called "Evapo-Rust." Is this the one? Has the grail been found at last??? A follow-up explanation from Evapo-Rust's distributor, Rusty from The Rust Store, explains why that one Holy Grail probably will never exist ...


Working with Evapo-Rust

       Any of us who visit the auto parts or hardware stores have seen them -- Those miracle products that really don’t work, or work to just mask a problem, but not fix it. The Stovebolt Page, in conjunction with The Rust Store, asked for some volunteers to test a product called EVAPO-RUST. Yea, I volunteered and believe me, I was skeptical.

       I HATE RUST!! For over 30 years I have suffered from a mental illness that causes me to restore old trucks and cars. Some of my vehicles have been show cars, and I am extremely picky about what I do to a vehicle, and how I do it. I have been short-changed hundreds of times by products that haven’t lived up to their promises. I couldn’t wait to try this EVAPO-RUST stuff and burn this guy up on the forums of The Stovebolt Page for old GM trucks.

       Did I mention I was skeptical?

My ex-son-in-law is an idiot

       This rocket scientist left an antique 22/410 shotgun in a garage with a leaky roof for more than a year. Indiana weather features snow in the winter and hot, humid days in the summer. These extremes are very hard on unprotected metal, so the shotgun was, I thought, nearly ruined (click here for a larger image). The perfect test of this EVAPO-RUST stuff, and an opportunity for me to announce to the world it was snake oil.

       Did I mention my ex-son-in-law is an idiot? In case I didn’t, my ex-son-in-law is an idiot!

Before we proceed ... (I want to discuss how to deal with rust).

       ACID kills rust, but it does so at a cost. There is a powder acid product that comes alive with water. It does kill rust, but there’s the problem of runoff and cleanup. You have to completely rinse the parts after cleaning off the rust or, when the parts get wet, the acid starts working again. You better not breathe any of this stuff because the linings of your lungs are, well, wet. So, using this stuff without a mask gives you the opportunity to spend the rest of your life hacking like a cat with a hairball. Then there’s that wonderful feeling of accidentally splashing the stuff in your eyes, (so use goggles -- or get a German Shepherd to guide you for the rest of your life), or on your skin. Acid eats rust, so what do you think it will do to your skin? EVAPO-RUST IS NON-TOXIC, AND I PUT MY HANDS ON IT WHEN I GRABBED THE PARTS!

       YOU CAN ENCAPSULATE RUST. Or so the story goes. Personally, I don’t trust the idea that just because the rust is sort of surrounded by something, it is harmless. I keep remembering the old saying, “Rust never sleeps.” So I’m a little afraid it will wake up under a $1,000 paint job. Remember, I told you some of my vehicles are show cars and trucks. One rust bubble in the paint would at least hurt my feelings as some of these paint jobs are near impossible to reproduce without considerable labor and expense.

       YOU CAN TREAT RUST and turn it into something that isn’t rust and stop it. This has been my method of choice for several years. Whenever I use this method, I always sand off the treated area until it is completely gone. Again, I trust very few products when it comes to rust.

Here comes the test!

(OR Why I had so much trouble in kindergarten)

       The note from my teacher said, “Does not follow directions.” That was again about to be true. We can discuss “Does not work or play well with others” another time. By the directions, I assume EVAPO-RUST is best when the part to be cleaned of rust is soaked. I didn’t do that. I soaked a shop towel with the product and applied a thick coating to the shotgun. I waited about five minutes and repeated the process. After about five minutes, I removed the EVAPO-RUST with a clean shop towel and was impressed with the result.

       Thinking this was working pretty well, I again took the soaked shop towel and re-applied the EVAPO-RUST to the gun. This time, I took a soft wire brush to the metal. I watched the rust come off the gun and the metal change color! The EVAPO-RUST removed the blueing from the gun, as well as the shellac from the stock. The metal looked almost new! When I wiped off the EVAPO-RUST, the metal looked like it had never rusted, except for the deeper rust pits, and even those are darker and don’t resemble rust! I was able for the first time to not only see who manufactured the shotgun, but even the tiny serial number! (Click here for a larger image.)

       You can doubt me, but not the pictures!

More tests!

       I started looking for other things to test. There were the hitch balls (click here for close-up) I had to heat with a torch to remove, and some tools my three-year old grandson decided he would “hide” in the yard. I filled up a stainless steel bowel with EVAPO-RUST and started soaking the items. In about 30 minutes, I removed everything and was amazed. I came to this conclusion: EVAPO-RUST DOES INDEED WORK AS ADVERTISED!

Before (click here for larger image)

After (click here for larger image)


The Conclusion

       EVAPO-RUST WORKS! It makes no toxic fumes, no offensive odor, and no mess. This product does what it says it does and cleanup is easy. Compared to every other product I have used (and I think I have used nearly all of them), this is without a doubt the best product I have used. I can honestly tell you I highly recommend EVAPO-RUST.

       For automotive restoring, gunsmithing, antique hardware restoring, or for any steel or iron item that’s been exposed to the elements and rusted, EVAPO-RUST is a product that does not mask or cover rust. I will trust it for the many projects I have, and I intend to purchase a small parts washer and fill it with EVAPO-RUST!

       If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.


Dave “Koolkar” Feltner


       (Editor's note: Dave, I'm a little unclear -- could you tell me again what you think of your ex-son-in-law?)



†† ††† I first visited The Stovebolt Page on a quest to help my son, “InkyJR”, with his high school Senior Project … a 1957 Chevy Panel truck resto-mod. As a regular visitor, I asked lots of questions, and tried to answer some as well. Once InkyJR’s project was well underway, I got my own Stovebolt, a 1948 Chevy 1.5-Ton Dually Dump 5-Window. When The Rust Store was looking for someone to do a product evaluation for Evapo-Rust, my son and I were anxious to help out. Between us, there is more than enough rust to go ‘round.

        Rusty from The Rust Store was kind enough to send me a free gallon of Evapo-Rust in exchange for an objective review. Keep in mind, I am not a chemist nor an expert on rust removal. I am just an ordinary guy with a bunch of rusty metal to contend with. When Rusty made the offer, I figured I would give it a try and see what happens. For those of you that may have encountered me in the Stovebolt Page forums, it is like my tag line says ... "It's not that I haven't done it ... It's that I haven't done it yet..." I originally came up with this line for my boss, but it has dual meanings and has become my motto. Enough about me... on to the review.

        I pondered long and hard as to what would be a good candidate for the test. There is certainly no lack of rust in my life, but choosing the right piece still wasn't easy. My son offered up his water pump but I decided against it because I wasn't sure if the treatment would affect the bearings. Also, if this stuff will dissolve rust, perhaps the impeller would disappear. I finally decided on a REALLY rusty chain from the dump body of my '48 Chevy truck. The chain had been exposed to the weather for countless years.

        The product arrived several days after Rusty chose me to do the review. My first comment would be with regard to product labeling. The label appears to be well designed as an eye catching sales tool. However, I was somewhat surprised by the absence of technical data. IE: Directions, Cautions, and Warnings. Although I know the directions for use can be found online, someone who may come across the bottle in the future would be at a loss for instructions.

        I proceeded to test the product on the rusty chain. I got a plastic basin, put the chain in, and poured in the entire gallon of Evapo-Rust. Since the instructions state that the product can work on lightly rusted surfaces in as little as 20 minutes, I decided to work in two-hour intervals, removing a little more chain from the solution each time.

        I did so after two, four and six hours (see pictures below), marking the chain at each step. I could see a difference in the appearance of the chain with each step, but it had become obvious (as expected) that this chain would need the full 24 hours, so I waited. After the full 24 hours, I removed the entire chain and rinsed it with water per instructions. Once it had dried thoroughly, I compared it to another un-treated section of the chain. The results were indeed dramatic. The chain had, for the most part, turned from rust colored to a silver-black in appearance. There was, however, some rust still visible. It was predominantly in the indented area of the hook, but also along the surface of the chain. I decided to give it a little more time. I filtered the solution through a rag, and re-immersed the chain.

(Click the link for a larger image)

Two Hours --

Four Hours --

Six Hours --

More tests

       I began to wonder if this super-rusty chain was too tough a candidate for this product. I decided to also soak the rusty head of a claw hammer. The hammer had only some slight surface rust and might show different results. After three hours of soaking, I took a look. The hammer was still somewhat rusty, as was the chain. I decided to aid the solution with a light wire brushing. I then waited another three hours and rinsed off both items.

       The hammer looked pretty good (above)... (larger image) until I looked closely between the claws (below / larger image). There was still some evidence of rust.

       The chain showed some improvement over where it was six hours ago. Notice the chain hook picture below (larger image).

       Here is a picture of the chain after the full 30 hours compared to the un-treated chain (larger image).

        Having done this evaluation as described, and having seen these results, I was reluctant to write this review. I discussed the results with my son, and together we formed the following conclusion:

        This product certainly has some merit as it did remove (or convert) MOST of the rust, however, it could only be viable on small items that could be submerged for extended periods of time. This may be all right for tools and such, but has little value with regards to automobile restoration. Since it did not remove ALL of the rust, the parts would need to be coated with an encapsulating product such as Zero Rust or P.O.R. 15 to help prevent further rusting.

        IMHO, there are better products available.

Paul  "Inky05"  Yacabitis

Rusty's comments:

       Thanks to everyone who helped with the reviews. 

       I did learn one valuable lesson. The directions on the packaging were not written for Stovebolters. Show me an older truck with only light rust. After 40 years, any unprotected metal will have deep rust that will take longer than the labels on the packaging suggests. Given enough time, even the deepest rust will be completely removed with Evapo-Rust.

       The product works by direct contact with rust, if the rust is just on the surface it may only take 30 minutes but very deep rust may take two days (the person who wrote the label haven't seen Paul's chain or any other Stovebolt project) to remove the many layers of rust. Tiny cracks and crevices take longer because it may have a few millimeters thick of rust compared to the fractions of a millimeter on flat surfaces. In short, given enough time it will remove all the rust. Once the product turns black it will stop removing the rust, until that point further soaking will remove more rust

       Evapo-Rust isnít not a cure all for automotive needs. Just like I wouldn't paint or apply rust converter to bolts or brake rotors, I wouldn't use Evapo-Rust on my frame to remove rust. The better products that Paul mentioned like rust converters and paints are good products and work well on frames and other rusty areas that could use paint (I used to work for one of the largest distributors of rust converters so I know it is a very useful product). Unfortunately, rust converters wonít work well on bolts, hitches, guns, brake rotors, chains or hand tools because those items would not work properly with a paint or rust converter coating. I don't consider different product types bad and other products good; they are just different products with different uses.


The Rust Store

v. Oct 05

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