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Forum topic by BustedClock posted 01-02-2014 02:11 AM 1864 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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BustedClock

112 posts in 1988 days


01-02-2014 02:11 AM

Topic tags/keywords: plane lubrication wd-40 rust prevention

I’m not sure what gave me the idea to do this, but I’ve been spraying WD-40 on a terry cloth and using that to lubricate the soles of my planes, and to wipe down my tools after use.

From years of using WD-40 on my mechanics tools, I’m quite confident it prevents rust. From several months using it to lubricate plane soles, it seems to do a pretty good job. Nevertheless, I’ve never seen this lubrication technique (the WD-40 part) in any fora or online demos. Furthermore, there seems to be a decided bias in favor of using Camilla oil, or certain rust-preventative papers, for rust prevention.

The bottom line question is whether there’s something wrong with WD-40? I have yet to stain/finish any wood that I’ve planed, so I don’t know if there’s a finishing issue. On the other hand, Paul Sellers, at least, uses light machine oil. In addition, I don’t know why wax (paraffin or bees-wax) would be any better.

What’s the experience out there on using WD-40 for this purpose?

Thanks!

-- Hey, I'm usually right twice a day! Except where they use 24 hour clocks.


10 replies so far

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JohnChung

372 posts in 1541 days


#1 posted 01-02-2014 03:19 AM

One of the reasons we don’t use silicone or WD40 is b’cos it interfere with the finish. Let’s say you use WD40 it works on water displacement. If you use water based paint , the transfer from the plane’s sole to the wood piece can affect the finish itself.

I personally use wax. Johnson wax. If you do use silicone grease which is worst, it affects the finish and it is hard to remove the silicone from the plane itself. Not impossible but difficult as it is.

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BustedClock

112 posts in 1988 days


#2 posted 01-02-2014 03:24 AM

Hmm…

I am intending to use BLO, or some other oil-based finish, on the coffee table I’m building. So, I guess it won’t be a problem there.

Guess I need to do some experimenting, finishing some samples planed with and without WD-40. If I find out anything interesting, I’ll post it here.

BTW, did you know that WD-40 actually means Water Dispersant, formula 40? It was created pursuant to a military contract around the time of the Korean war. The contractor finally got it right on the 40th effort.

-- Hey, I'm usually right twice a day! Except where they use 24 hour clocks.

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sonnyr

116 posts in 1595 days


#3 posted 01-02-2014 03:50 AM

This is what I know/have been told about WD-40:
1) Never use it to lubricate locks. Most people over spray it and it will eventually gum up the springs and pins. (I worked as a locksmith for 7 years, only use a dry spray lubricant on locks, no graphite either.)
2) Since it is primarily a cleaner, (I have used it to remove tar from beige carpet), it will remove the natural lubricants in some metals, leading to rusting later on (just told about that, no experience). Your tools are probably chrome.
3) My brother uses it on his elbow for his arthritis. (Haven’t tried that myself.)
Just my 2 cents.

-- I may be slow, but I'm easy to stop!!!

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JohnChung

372 posts in 1541 days


#4 posted 01-02-2014 03:51 AM

I am not sure on BLO. I have heard that some do use it to protect their tools in a more permanent way. Benchcrafted does use some various methods:
http://benchcrafted.blogspot.com/2011/09/omega-3-fatty-acid-for-your-cast-iron.html

I do find rust a nuisance and too expensive to ignore. In Malaysia rust can be very bad due to the high humidity.
It is bad enough that I store my tools in air tight boxes or covers with wax on the plane with a dehumidifier. It keeps rust to a minimum unless my sweat gets on it. If sweat does hit your planes, try lacquer on it. It works well. Very well. Don’t worry about messing the finish on that side as it does not plane the wood on the sides.

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BustedClock

112 posts in 1988 days


#5 posted 01-02-2014 04:24 AM

Oh, sorry! I didn’t mean BLO on my tools! I was talking about the finish I intend to use on a coffee table, made with hand-tools—including planes—lubricated with WD-40. I’m guessing that the silicone/whatever in WD-40 won’t have much effect on BLO.

I really like using the terry towels—a bag of 60 from HD—folded over and placed next to my planing area. Paul Sellers gets away with using mineral oil. He says the oil dissipates, but I don’t know that he uses much water-based finishes.

-- Hey, I'm usually right twice a day! Except where they use 24 hour clocks.

View Greg's profile

Greg

312 posts in 2340 days


#6 posted 01-02-2014 05:56 AM

Fine Woodworking did a shootout on rust preventers a year or so ago. It was issue 227 from May 2012. They used WD40 as one of 20 rust preventers and then put them to the test. WD40 did not perform so well-middle of the pack if I recall. The best one, hand’s down, was CRC 3-36, and that is what I now use. It’s not as expensive as some either. Hope this helps.

-- You don't have a custom made heirloom fly fishing Net? http://www.Sierra-Nets.com

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JohnChung

372 posts in 1541 days


#7 posted 01-02-2014 03:08 PM

CRC 3-36 is effective. Not sure about affecting wood finishing.

View Julian's profile

Julian

1038 posts in 2157 days


#8 posted 01-02-2014 03:37 PM

If WD40 works for you without any problems then no reason to change. Sonny: WD40 contains over 50% mineral spirits; I would not use it on my skin.

-- Julian

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sonnyr

116 posts in 1595 days


#9 posted 01-02-2014 04:07 PM

Julian, thanks for the info, I’ll pass it on to my brother.

-- I may be slow, but I'm easy to stop!!!

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PurpLev

8523 posts in 3115 days


#10 posted 01-02-2014 04:19 PM

like you mentioned – WD-40 is a water displacement formula. works well for cleaning parts too (and as a coolant for cutting/milling aluminum).

that said:

It is not a lubricant as it evaporates too quickly, but it may give people the feel that it is a lubricant because it cleans whatever debris you may have had in a hinge making it less squeaky… but it still is not a lubricant by nature.

It is also not a rust preventative as it doesn’t build a proper protective film. again -it may appear that it does in some spots, but if it works well for you, it might mean that there is little rust issue in your area to begin with. wax on the other hand builds a continuous film on top of your plane which creates a barrier to moisture.

WD-40 is great for some uses, but isn’t all that great for others. Do what works for you, but know the facts ;)

Cheers, and a Happy New Year!

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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