Preventing Rust on Cast Iron

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Forum topic by MNgary posted 01-05-2016 07:39 AM 2899 views 0 times favorited 27 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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303 posts in 2587 days

01-05-2016 07:39 AM

Depending on the specific tool, for the past 12 to 30 plus years I have spread a coating of kerosene on my cast iron tool tables (table saw, jointer, bandsaw, shaper, lathe, drill press) every couple weeks to prevent rust. It has been very effective.
But now I am retired and plan to be gone for more than 2 weeks at a time. Tell me about using wax and will it protect the CI for up to 6 weeks if I am not using the tool.

-- I dream of a world where a duck can cross the road and no one asks why.

27 replies so far

View EEngineer's profile


1115 posts in 3783 days

#1 posted 01-05-2016 12:07 PM

I did the paste wax thing on my cast iron tools for several years. It seemed like every spring I had to clean off a light coating of rust and reapply paste wax.

I now use Boesshield T9. As I understand it, the product has solvents to penetrate the pores in cast-iron and wax dissolved in the solvent to seal against moisture and prevent any further rust. I don’t know for sure.

What I do know is that I applied the product 3-4 years ago and I haven’t had a bit of rust since. Well, aside from one unfortunate incident with a sweating beer can that a buddy left on the table saw. It won’t protect against a direct water spill.

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View joey502's profile


544 posts in 1687 days

#2 posted 01-05-2016 12:11 PM

The cast iron will be fine with a coat of wax for that short time.

I use wax over Ballistol and never have any issues.

View rwe2156's profile


3133 posts in 1650 days

#3 posted 01-05-2016 12:52 PM

Depends on your environment and temp swings. Not a big fan of wax for rust prevention. As you’ve already found: rust formation under the wax probably because the wax apparently does not seal out the oxygen.

I wouldn’t worry about it too much.
Couple coats of Boeshield any small amount of rust when you get back is easily removed.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View WoodNSawdust's profile


1417 posts in 1346 days

#4 posted 01-05-2016 01:04 PM

Every spring I wash down the Cast Iron with lacquer thinner and use a paper towel to apply Johnson’s paste wax. After about 5 minutes I buff the wax off.

The only tool that ever develops any rust is the Cast Iron table on the Grizzly bandsaw. I don’t know what is different about it. The bandsaw sits about 7 feet from my table saw and the table saw never has rust..

Nothing I have seen protects against direct water contact (from a bottle, roof leak, etc.).

I am weary about spray on products due to concerns about what is in them and if it would rub off onto the wood.

-- "I love it when a plan comes together" John "Hannibal" Smith

View pmayer's profile


1032 posts in 3235 days

#5 posted 01-05-2016 02:56 PM

If the humidity conditions are extreme, wax won’t prevent it. I’d get a good cover for the machine and that will do it for you. Something like this:

I had a similar problem in a previous shop, and I put one of those covers on my table saw and never had a problem again. One time the cover slipped off of one corner of the saw, and that corner was covered in rust within a few weeks while the rest of the saw remained perfect.

-- PaulMayer,

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7001 posts in 2368 days

#6 posted 01-05-2016 03:00 PM

Wax it and keep it covered with a breathable cover when not in use. Apply wax after use and before covering – no need to buff off if you don’t want to (and it will help a bit more if you don’t).

Boeshield is expensive – and is basically just paraffin wax dissolved in mineral spirits with a little bit of mineral oil thrown in for good measure. You can make your own pretty cheap.

Johnson paste wax is paraffin, microcrystalline and carnauba wax dissolved in naptha.

The key ingredient is wax :)

Most of my tools live in the shop (or in the house), but my lathe lives out on a screened patio, enduring the Florida humidity and fairly large temp swings. Sometimes it gets so bad, there is a film of water over everything, particularly when a summer storm rolls in – where the temp drops pretty quickly and humidity jumps to 100%. Waxed and covered, the lathe handles it just fine.


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View dhazelton's profile


2789 posts in 2466 days

#7 posted 01-05-2016 03:15 PM

You could try Fluid Film, if there’s a Tractor Supply near you they stock it. You’d have to wipe it off before you use your tool, though. Also Cosmoline or just plain old axle grease smeared on there.

View Woodknack's profile


12392 posts in 2550 days

#8 posted 01-05-2016 04:10 PM

I use Johnson’s, and it works just fine. I previously used sprays but they were expensive and wax is working just as well.

An alternative I plan on trying soon is applying a light wipe on coat of polyurethane. John Heisz has done it with great success. Basically you wipe it on, wipe it off.

-- Rick M,

View TheFridge's profile


10489 posts in 1655 days

#9 posted 01-05-2016 04:25 PM

Johnsons here. I leave a small rag in the can and wipe my tools down only after heavy use. Have had dew coating my tools and no rust.

It isn’t a once a year thing on parts that see wear. Boeshield might work great but I use paste wax on my hand tools as well and I’m not using 2 different products when I’ve had zero problems.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View martyoc's profile


44 posts in 1086 days

#10 posted 01-05-2016 04:36 PM

I’ve used wax with very good results on my table saw, jointer and band saw. I use what ever type is handy. Clean the surface well prior to using it. It lasts for several months or more.

-- Marty O'C

View Ger21's profile


1075 posts in 3300 days

#11 posted 01-05-2016 04:52 PM

View MNgary's profile


303 posts in 2587 days

#12 posted 01-06-2016 05:32 AM

Many, many thanks for the replies. I am now thinking wax in lieu of kerosene. And maybe I can get some machine covers for birthday presents.

-- I dream of a world where a duck can cross the road and no one asks why.

View OSU55's profile


1915 posts in 2159 days

#13 posted 01-06-2016 01:16 PM

Try Alox, here is a review. Available on Amazon or possibly your local gun/reloading shop. Cheap and far superior to wax. Perfect for extended non use periods.

View Woodknack's profile


12392 posts in 2550 days

#14 posted 01-07-2016 05:40 AM

I had bad luck with covers, tried a cotton blanket and it caused terrible rusting.

-- Rick M,

View newwoodbutcher's profile


765 posts in 3020 days

#15 posted 01-07-2016 06:33 AM

Some I read that wax actually captures moisture on the CI. After a WW Mag article (somewhere) recommended CRC 3-36 Multi purpose lubricant & corrosion inhibitor, I started using it. It’s only been a few months but I’m very happy with it. Comes in Gallon bottles and a pint spray bottle. I bought both and replenish the spray bottle. I also keep a moistened rag in a plastic container to wipe things down. It was somebody’s best buy rating and, I think a good one.

-- Ken

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