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Thread: Keeping Tools Rust Free - Wax or Oil?

  1. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Erich Weidner View Post
    So.. mainly I note that as I sweat all over my planes they start to pit. I'm wondering how any vintage tool survived the eras of no air conditioning with the user dripping on it all the time.
    Or maybee I'm just fat and normal people from the old days didn't sweat a lot all over their tools?
    In the days before a/c, builders were a lot more competent at constructing habitable structures that encouraged natural airflow. And yes, people were also a lot skinnier. ;^)

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erich Weidner View Post
    So.. mainly I note that as I sweat all over my planes they start to pit. I'm wondering how any vintage tool survived the eras of no air conditioning with the user dripping on it all the time. Or maybe I'm just fat and normal people from the old days didn't sweat a lot all over their tools?
    It's possible that your body chemistry just does that. I learned early in life that if the wristwatch wasn't solid gold (yeah, right) or Stainless Steel my sweat would eat the plating right off of it. It was quite remarkable. The same is true for metal eyeglass parts. My shop is in my basement so it's cool and a dehumidifier keeps it really dry. Even with that, touch points on tools tend to develop a patina fairly quickly. I wipe everything down after use. Historically I've used paste wax on planes for general corrosion resistance, but I think a wipe down with a microfiber cloth after use is just as effective on the areas that get touched.
    Sharp solves all manner of problems.

  3. #18
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    I have used 3-in-1 oil and usually always works. Though my rabbet plane from Lee Valley seems to always get light rusting on it. So I started using Johnson's wax on it. The rust still comes but just slower. It's my problem plane that one day I hope to figure out what that one is such an issue... Until then. More oil and wax.

  4. #19
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    Files tend to be a problem for me. This is especially true in the chemistry labs where I have worked. They rust up badly in a lab. Labs have a somewhat corrosive atmosphere.....they are not nearly as bad now as they were years ago, but volatile acids like hydrochloric, etc., are in the air in trace amounts, and files rust up badly over a period of time. Files also seem rust up case in my own tool boxes, at least they used to, but not any more, and they haven't now in over 45 years.

    For this reason, I make covers for my files and chisels to protect them from rusting. These are just cardboard from the backs of writing tablets, manila folders, or cereal boxes.

    The closest description I can think of is a "tube" that the chisel or file fits in. The file or chisel fits into the tube a little like a straight bladed hunting knife fits into a sheath.

    The covers are basically rectangular moderately snug fitting tubes that fit around the chisels and files, but round tubes for rat tailed files, and triangular tubes for triangular files. I over lap one face and then wrap the tube with masking tape. I spray the tape cover with spray lacquer. Before wrapping, I treat the cardboard that faces the file or chisel with oil. I use WD40, 3in1 oil, or electric motor oil to coat the cardboard, and it rapidly sinks into the cardboard, I do not put enough on that it stays on the surface.

    They can't be too tight because the files and chisels need to be able to slide in and out. The files are easy because the rough texture of the file helps hold it in the tube. Chisels like Stanley #60s or socket chisels are easy because the tube can slide up on the tapered cone at the top of the chisel blade, and tighten around it, which also helps hold the tube on.

    I just made a tube for a pig sticker mortise chisel that I have been cleaning the rust off of. That is more of a problem, as would be tang chisels, because of the tapered shape of the blade is such that the shape helps the tube slide off the blade, rather than to help hold it on. I am not sure how that is going to work. I just may have to be more careful not to loose the cover from being lost.

    I have a file that I made the first cover for over 45 years ago. There is not even a slight trace of rust on it. I have two chisels that I have had for right at 45 years ago, and the same with them, not a trace of rust.

    I have files I use at work that I ordered over 25 years ago. I make the same covers for them at work that I do for my own files and chisels at home. None of them are rusted ever over that 25 year time span.

    Finally a have a lot of files and chisels that I have had for from about 5 to 40 years ago....same thing....no rust.

    Regards,

    Stew
    Last edited by Stew Denton; 10-23-2019 at 11:29 PM.

  5. #20
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    I let this one go a few days because I figured I was doing it wrong. I was (halfway) expecting someone to say "I used to use Jojoba oil until I started mixing my own shellac, but then I found I got a smoother finish in the shellac if i wiped the Jojoba off my chisels with isopropyl before doing any paring work." Or something like that.

    I use Jojoba oil on things that can be honed on stones. Plane irons, chisels, axeheads. Instead of buying a small bottle online and paying shipping I got a much bigger bottle at my local food co-op market. I do have a heavy duty ziploc bag and an otherwise new unused shop rag dedicated to the Jojoba. All the oil that has come out of the bottle either went on steel or is still in the rag in the bag. For all I know Jojoba oil is made by pressing pig's ears in a Chinese cider press, but it works for me in my shop. FWIW today, 10-23-19, Jojoba oil is still available online from a retailer I really like except for all their irons being A2.

    On things like saw blades and cast iron work surfaces like my bad saw I use wax. I keep the candles my wife and I have in our hands when we sing _Silent Night_ on Christmas Eve, two small candles a year is usually plenty for me.

    For now my "high end" finish is hemp oil many thin coats into figured beech, with a couple layers of wax from Lee Valley. I have tried a bunch of different soap finishes. I like BLO, and I like BLO thinned with mineral spirits. None of the finishes I have used so far seem to be adversely affected by waxed and oiled tools.

  6. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Erich Weidner View Post
    Lately I've been back to filling out gaps in my hand tool collection...

    As I'm working through sharpening stuff. I stare at the squirt bottle of oil I got from a Lie-Neilson hand tool event. And the little can of wax I got in my Veritas Plane Care kit. (I think that was what it was called).

    At any rate... what do folks use?
    I like the convenience of the oil to do a quick wipe down, and indeed when handplaning a little oil wiped on the sole of the plane makes the #8 go oh-so-much like butter.

    I wipe my planes with the oil but I'm still seeing pitting on them. (I sweat like a... I don't know... sweat monster when I hand plane). I'd like to not see my stuff destroyed in my lifetime.

    Thoughts?
    Wax will do little for rust. WD-40 would be better but I don't think I would like my tools coated with an oil. You would have to wipe them off every time you used them or it would get oil on the wood. Then re-apply when you are done.

  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Eisenhauer View Post
    Not everyone from the old days lived here at the 7th Gate To Hell like we do Erich. I worked in Scotland for a couple of years and what they call summer and we call summer bear no resemblance to each other. Still, I get you on the pitting. The one that gets me is to pick up a steel ruler and find a thin, rusty finger or thumb print on it.
    LoL. I've lived in PA, AL, MI, NC and now intend to die a Texan. I can't decide if Austin is "humid". These days I'm pretty fat so I feel the humidity after a rain like never before. And then there is August...

    So on the pitting topic, I've got some small pits on my LN #8 now after doing a lot of planing with it over a month or so. I wasn't super careful about wiping it down as it was at a job site not my home shop. I was surprised it actually pitted so quickly when I read accounts of vintage tools which have sat in a barn for 50 years and just had "a surface coat of rust, which cleaned up nicely".

  8. #23
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    OK, so I'm rereading this thread now and re-digesting it. At the end of the day, lots of folks use oil, or a paste wax. But I feel like I'm no closer to answering the question of which is "better"? Or perhaps in what application is one better?

    Lee Valley seems to advocate micro-crystaline wax, Lie-Nielsen jojoba oil.

    The wax feels sticky and leaves fingerprints behind when I touch it. The oil leaves me oily...

    It is definitely easier to keep a rag damp with oil in a lidded container and just wipe stuff down than wipe on wax, wait a few minutes to dry then buff... but I still wonder what is better?

  9. #24
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    It is definitely easier to keep a rag damp with oil in a lidded container and just wipe stuff down than wipe on wax, wait a few minutes to dry then buff... but I still wonder what is better?
    They both work and both get used on my planes and tools. My paste wax is an old can of Johnson & Johnson's floor wax from a couple of decades ago. My oil is Howard's furniture restoring oil. That gets used a lot on wood also.

    If you have an inclosed cabinet you might want to try a Goldenrod Dehumidifier or equivalent. Here is an old post of mine discussing them > https://sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?173926

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  10. #25
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    To reiterate, Galveston County Texas is a rust haven. Johnson's floor wax keeps my tools rust free.

  11. #26
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    They sell a cheap paint brush, usually a dollar for a 2" natural bristle, plain wood handled brush....I put a few squirts of 3in1 oil into that brush. After I'm done using a plane, it gets a "rub down" with that brush. I "recharge" the oil level as needed in the brush...Then the plane can go back into the til, until needed again. Before the plane gets used again, I rub the sole with just a plain old candle, usually just a few lines across the sole will do ( hold on tight, the candle wax will speed the plane up....like the difference between a 4cylinder, and a V-10 Viper....

    The Dungeon Wood Shop IS in a basement, after all....and if there is a heavy rain storm....there will be a "creek" running across the floor, headed for the floor drain.

  12. #27
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    There are 2 viable options as far as I am concerned, Mobil 1 motor oil or CorrosionX HD. I used the latter to protect my saltwater fishing gear as well as my tools. Nothing I've ever coated with it has ever rusted. Some of the tools sat unused for 5 years in a garage. I've had the same can forover 20 years.

  13. #28
    I've had reasonable luck periodic wax and more regular use of camelia oil that I have in a little plastic container with a wick in it. I can't speak specifically to Mobil 1 but I was told by a guy who specialized in long term storage of military equipment for the Department of Defense that at least some synthetic oils are hygroscopic and they made it a point to avoid using them in equipment that was being put into storage.

  14. #29
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    I don't think it really matters what you use (oil or wax), what matters is how often you apply it. Some of my tools rust quickly and those I wipe down (almost) after every use. Some don't seem to rust at all. I typically wipe those down when I'm finished with a project and return them to the shelf or chest.

    DC

  15. #30
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    The most effective thing Iíve done is place a 36Ē goldenrod dehumidifier in the bottom of my tool chest. Itís worked well for 5 years so far. Rust is a constant enemy.

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