I was out in my garage the other day and went to start a project. Reaching into my toolbox and retrieving a hand plane the first thing I noticed was that it was rusting. Agian! I had just cleaned the rust off of all my planes a little over a month ago and already they were showing signs of new rust.
There is nothing more frustrating than spending my free time cleaning rust off of my tools over and over again. I need to find a better way to protect my tools. I already keep them stored in a Traditional hand built dovetailed english style tool chest (admittedly it is only 75% finished) and they are still rusting on me. I then remember seeing the header of a Wood e-newsletter email in my email the other week about beating rust. Normally I don’t bother to read those articles because the pages they link to are 95% advertising and about 3 lines of useful content. But I was frustrated and thought what the heck.
The article talks (briefly) about using Silica based cat litter as a moister absorbent in your toolbox to prevent rust. What the heck I though I will give it a try. So I went to my local pet store and started looking a cat litter. When I asked the pet store employee what cat litter they had that was high in silica I got a really weird look. When I told them I wanted it to put in my toolbox to protect my tools from rust I think they wanted to run away from the crazy person who just walked into the store.
I ended up picking out the Cat litter in the above picture to give it a try. It appears to be almost completely Silca based.
I then filled a Filter Media bag (normally used for carbon in large fish tank filters, I have fish) with Cat litter Tied it up and put it into the bottom of my toolbox, with my hand planes
I then spent the afternoon with a tube or autosol and again Sigh…. cleaned all the rust off of my hand planes.
Here are some before and after pictures of my planes and the cleaning process
I apologize for the bad pictures. It was only after I had cleaned most of my planes that I thought this might make an interesting blog post. The only camera I had handy was my cell phone.
My plan is to post a 2nd blog post after 4-6 weeks showing the results of my little experiment. If interested feel free to check back!