Frugal Woodworking

Woodworking Tips for Affordable Woodworking

Rust removal eraser

I have a fair number of tools and live in coastal Florida. Rust is inevitable. Throwing out rusty tools is not frugal. When it comes to small spots of rust, I used to turn to 3M sanding sponges. They conform to the tool’s shape and do a decent job of removing rust quickly. The problem is, they don’t hold up well. They are spongy foam with an abrasive coating on the outside. Once the coating starts to fail, they are pretty much done.

3m sanding sponges, new vs used and worn.
A new 3M sanding block on the left. On the right, one that has seen some action has abrasive missing.
Sandflex abrasive block by rusty saw

I have had people recommend the Klingspor Sandflex blocks before, but I had not used them. I gave them a try about a year ago and am not looking back. Rather than being abrasive coated foam, they are abrasive impregnated rubber. They are more solid (less squishy) and the abrasive runs throughout.

Sandflext block next to 3m sanding sponge

Here you can see the Sandflex (left) alongside the 3M (right). The gray part of the 3M block does not contain abrasive, only the outer layer. The entire block of the Sandflex is abrasive. One thing to note, the grits are not comparable. The “fine” Sandflex is finer than the “fine” 3m block . The “medium” Sandflex is more similar to the “fine” 3M. The fine Sandflex gives a pretty shiny polish but I find the medium Sandflex does a better job at spot cleaning, then follow up with the fine.

rust on a saw
A section of rush on the spine of a backsaw.

Here is an example of some rust on the back of a backsaw.

metal saw with rust removed by a sandflex block
Rust has been removed with Sandflex block

After a bit of work with the medium and then fine Sandflex abrasive blocks. The metal on the spine of the saw is not rust free. I can do the same thing to the sawplate as well.

There are a lot of places to get the Sandflex blocks, TayTools often has them on sale (not a gift or sponsored, just affiliate link) so that is where I bought them. Will I stop buying the 3M sanding sponges? No I will still get them for use on wood, or tools that need a more flexible sponge to get into a tight spot. What I don’t use them for anymore is basic cleanup of a tool The Sandflexes are so much better suited.


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