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Forum topic by nordichomey posted 07-17-2011 04:54 AM 4101 views 0 times favorited 28 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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100 posts in 2138 days

07-17-2011 04:54 AM

The front of our garage is woodshop and I constantly fight humidity. What do you wipe your tools down with after use? On my handsaws/chisels I actually use synthetic motor oil… it works pretty good. Some say you should use vegetable oil. Is that the same oil my wife has in the kitchen?

-- nordichomey

28 replies so far

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1526 posts in 1669 days

#1 posted 07-17-2011 02:10 PM

I read an article by Chris Schwarz that claims vegetable based oils are best for tools. I’m sure he speaks from personal research and experience. I’d guess about any cooking oil or shortening would work.
I personally just use a rag lightly moistened with machine oil. Synthetic motor oil should work too.

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1642 posts in 2020 days

#2 posted 07-17-2011 02:44 PM

Try using a dehumidifier when not in the shop. That’s what I’m doing at this time in my uninsulated shop. You’d be surprised at how much moisture it pulls out of the air. Just a thought.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

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47 posts in 1558 days

#3 posted 07-17-2011 04:24 PM

For five years in muggy New Orleans area, I’ve successfully run a box fan 24/7 with NO RUST unless I’ve left sweat or water on a tool. I keep a rag with wd40 and 3n1 oil remnants (multitudes of rub downs) and swipe that just used tool before putting it back in drawers. This really works!!!

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100 posts in 2138 days

#4 posted 07-17-2011 09:21 PM

I run a dehumidifier in the basement all the time. Never even considered a dehumidifier or fan for the garage humidity. Thank you gentlemen!

-- nordichomey

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37 posts in 2099 days

#5 posted 07-18-2011 03:14 AM

Running a dehumidifier is a good idea, but it’s never going to shut off during the humid months, and that can drive up your electric bills pretty quickly.

Any motor oil (synthetic or not ) will protect tools from rust, but it will wreak havoc with furniture finishes if it penetrates into the wood pores. I think your best bet is to carefully wipe your tools off (or blow them off with compressed air, if you can) then wipe on a light coat of camellia oil.

-- -- Do Good Work. Jeff Zens, Custom Built Furniture, Salem, OR.

View hObOmOnk's profile


1381 posts in 3164 days

#6 posted 07-18-2011 01:05 PM

I live in a humid environment, Northern Kentucky, out in the country near the Licking River.
My hand tools are mostly Japanese. Generally, I follow that tradition by using Camellia Oil to protect my tools.
For about a year I’ve been experimenting with common vegetables as a less expensive alternative. Canola Oil appears to act the best. It covers well and is non-drying. So, it doesn’t get gummy over time.

-- 温故知新

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2822 posts in 1817 days

#7 posted 07-18-2011 02:58 PM

Side bar..

Where the——do you find Camellia one around here seems to have heard of it ?

-- Glen, B.C. Canada

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1381 posts in 3164 days

#8 posted 07-18-2011 04:06 PM

Note: Canola Oil (refined rapeseed oil) was and still is used as a lubricant in steam-powered equipment because it clings well to metal in a moist environment.

Camellia Oil can be obtained from specialty sources such as Woodcraft,, and others.

-- 温故知新

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2822 posts in 1817 days

#9 posted 07-18-2011 04:22 PM

Thank you !

-- Glen, B.C. Canada

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12635 posts in 3134 days

#10 posted 07-18-2011 04:26 PM

Lie-Nielson used to carry Camellia Oil as well, but it looks like they have switched to Jojoba Oil. I have some of their Camellia oil but have not tried the Jojoba.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

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Dave Pearce

108 posts in 2709 days

#11 posted 07-18-2011 04:30 PM

Be careful about certain vegetable oils. They can spoil. Camellia and Jojoba oil are recommended because they don’t spoil, however they aren’t cheap. Still, if you’re careful with it, it’ll last a long time.



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Newage Neanderthal

190 posts in 1587 days

#12 posted 07-31-2012 09:05 PM

Roy uses olive oil, read an interview where he said people always tell its supposed to spoil, but hes never seen it happen. Good enough for Roy, good enough for me. (plus a lot cheaper than those others)

-- . @NANeanderthal on twitter

View Brett's profile


656 posts in 1719 days

#13 posted 07-31-2012 09:52 PM

I’m wondering if certain vegetable oils would attract ants or other creepy-crawlies. They probably wouldn’t hurt the tools, but it’d be nuisance if they got all over my workshop.

-- More tools, fewer machines.

View ITnerd's profile


262 posts in 1636 days

#14 posted 07-31-2012 10:13 PM

For the stuff that will be exposed to harsher conditions, or stored longer than a week or so, I can wholeheartedly recommend Fluid Film. You can get it off ebay or amazon.

Don W. mentioned it in some of his tool restoration blogs and projects, and I can confirm it is some of the best stuff around. Seems to stick forever, and I haven’t noticed it marking up the wood too bad, but I usually run a rag over the bottom of the plane before waxing it, just to be safe.

I still use camellia oil on some of my planes, but when it runs out, it will be Fluid Film on everything but the dog.

-- Chris @ Atlanta - JGM - Occam's razor tells us that when you hear hoofs, think horses not zebras.

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3368 posts in 1388 days

#15 posted 07-31-2012 10:31 PM

I use jojoba oil. It is easy on your hands and is kind of waxy.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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