Advice on rust prevention

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Forum topic by JSOvens posted 08-19-2014 05:34 PM 2810 views 2 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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78 posts in 1826 days

08-19-2014 05:34 PM

Topic tags/keywords: rust corrosion hand tool

Hi fellow LJs,

I have recently started down the road of acquiring hand tools, beginning with a Veritas LA block plane and a Stanley No. 4 and 5 which I have mostly finished rehabbing. I plan to add more items such as a hand saw or two and maybe a couple specialty planes – although I wont be building up any large collection in the near future due to funding limitations.

I was wondering if anyone could give some advice built on experience regarding how to best protect my investments from rust. Here is some more background:

1) I live in the Vancouver, Canada area, which according to their weather stats had an average relative humidity of 75%-80% over the last year, with minimums and maximums of about 40%-100%, respectively. It does rain quite often here. Temperature-wise, the climate is quite mild.

2) My shop is in my garage, temperature and humidity control of this space will not be an option.

3) Assume I am a weekend woodworker – I will have little to no time to use these tools during the week. I also still do quite a bit with power tools, so dust will always be a factor.

I have of course done some research and have thought of a few ideas:

1) Using WD-40 to block out moisture – this does not work. I also tried coating with Minwax paste wax afterwards, but tiny blooms of rust still appeared.

2) I heard Boeshield T9 and GlideCote (formerly TopCote) are quite favourable, but are really only good for long term stretches where it wont be used. Anyone with a different opinion? Does a week-long stretch count as long term in this case?

3) These corrosion inhibitors from Lee Valley:

Anti-corrosion emitters
Anti-corrosion liners

Anyone have any experience with them? I do plan to build a cabinet to store these tools, so needing an enclosed space is okay.

4) GoldenRod ‘dehumidifiers’ (glorified resistance heaters really):


I am a bit concerned about possible safety issues with a product like this.

I apologize for the length of this post, I figured more information about my situation and background would lead to better suited solutions.

Thanks for taking the time to read and share your opinions,


-- Jeffrey S. Ovens, Canada

16 replies so far

View sikrap's profile


1121 posts in 3528 days

#1 posted 08-19-2014 06:11 PM

I can’t speak to the items you posted links to, but I use the little dessicant packs from the pharmacy. The pharmacy is happy to get rid of them and I can replace the ones in my cabinets and drawers on a regular basis. I also keep a bottle of Camillia oil handy and wipe my planes and chisels with that after use. Been using this method for about 3 years now and haven’t had any issues. I live in Albany, NY just to give you an idea on the climate.

-- Dave, Colonie, NY

View giser3546's profile


179 posts in 1642 days

#2 posted 08-19-2014 07:08 PM

I live in Alabama where we spend nearly the entire summer above 85% humidity. I had to come to terms with the fact that I will never own any tools that have zero surface rust on them. Cosmetic rust will happen and short of keeping everything in a bath of mineral oil theres little hope of avoiding that. That being said I have pretty good luck avoiding significant rust on my band saw bed, planer bed, and my hand plane soles with Renaissance Wax. Yes the stuff is stupid pricey ($25 for a small tin) but it works. I have spoken to several people who used paste wax with similar results as you, and trying Renaissance Wax and loving it.

-- "If you wait for it to rain, It will"

View comboprof's profile


277 posts in 1903 days

#3 posted 08-19-2014 07:41 PM

Don W has advised me to use “Fluid Film”, but I can’t find it locally, so I use paste wax until my amazon order comes in.

-- -- Cheers, Don K. (Michgan's Kewenaw peninsula)

View DrDirt's profile


4488 posts in 3911 days

#4 posted 08-19-2014 08:39 PM

I have not had experience with it – but there was a review on camellia oil.
From FWW #221 back in 2011

Question: I’ve heard lots of FWW authors mention putting camellia oil on their chisels, plane irons, and such. Is that necessary for all hand tools? And what is special about that oil?
—Jeff King , Birmingham , AL
Answer: Nothing works better at preventing rust on woodworking tools than camellia oil. I became convinced of its effectiveness after working as the ship’s carpenter on a 150-ft.-tall sailing ship for nine months. I knew the salt of the sea and my sweaty hands would corrode my tools quickly if I didn’t protect them. So, I took some camellia oil and cans of 3-in-One household oil, WD-40 spray oil, and LPS-1 and LPS-2 lubricants. I tested all of them on my tools. Not only did the camellia oil protect them best of all, but the other oils also turned sticky and smelly on my tools. I apply it to each of my hand tools when I’m done using it. Before I use it again, I wipe it down quickly with a rag so it isn’t slippery, but there usually isn’t too much left on the surface. Camellia oil seems to sink right into the grain of the metal, leaving behind little to no residue.

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View giser3546's profile


179 posts in 1642 days

#5 posted 08-19-2014 08:58 PM

At $10+ for 100 ml I hope you wouldn’t have to use much camellia oil. Granted Renaissance Wax is about as pricey ($25 for 200ml), but you can also use it as a finish.

-- "If you wait for it to rain, It will"

View JSOvens's profile


78 posts in 1826 days

#6 posted 08-19-2014 09:12 PM

Thanks for the tips so far. I had heard of a lot of hand tool woodworkers using camellia oil, but couldn’t easily find where to buy any (plus heard it was expensive). In the US, I found you can get about 2 L for around $80-100 at places like Highland Woodworking or Japan Woodworker, which is less than about $5 per 100 mL. Even the smaller spray bottles are about $16-20 for ~240 mL (about $7.50/100mL). If I can find it at a similar price point locally (shipping across the border has become very expensive of late), I wouldn’t mind giving it a try.

-- Jeffrey S. Ovens, Canada

View bobasaurus's profile


3539 posts in 3353 days

#7 posted 08-19-2014 09:37 PM

Johnsons paste wax never fails me for cast iron surfaces in the shop. Renaissance wax is another good option, but it is expensive and isn’t any better for rust-prevention in my testing (though I much prefer it for finish waxing). For hand tools, I use jojoba oil for blades and paste wax for the rest.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View sikrap's profile


1121 posts in 3528 days

#8 posted 08-19-2014 10:37 PM

I keep hearing about how expensive Camellia oil is and I don’t understand it. I bought the bottle that I have from Rockler about 3 years ago for somewhere around $12. Since then, I have seen it at the local asian market for less than half of that.

-- Dave, Colonie, NY

View JSOvens's profile


78 posts in 1826 days

#9 posted 08-19-2014 10:52 PM

So I’ve ordered a bottle of Camellia oil. I wish I thought of looking in an Asian market, we have lots of those in BC, but in the end I paid about 14 CAD, which is about even with many US sources I saw (once conversion is taken into account). After looking up additional information, seems like one can use this oil with a `less is more’ mentality anyways. This route just seemed to involve a lot less fuss than some of the others I mentioned in the original post. The next step will be to build a small hanging cabinet.

@sikrap: Thanks for the advice on desiccant from the pharmacies, I have several pharmacist friends so it shouldn’t be too hard acquiring some. I have another question though, I read that with desiccant there is a risk of drying out wooden handles, is this an issue you’ve come across?

-- Jeffrey S. Ovens, Canada

View sikrap's profile


1121 posts in 3528 days

#10 posted 08-20-2014 01:45 AM

I have not had any issue with the dessicant drying out handles or totes. I just scatter a couple dozen of the little packets/canisters into the drawers where I keep some of my planes. With several pharmacist friends, you could probably start selling the packets in about 2 weeks. I know that I can get a Zip-Loc freezer bag full every week at the pharmacy I use :)) With regards to Camellia oil, I would use it even if it were a lot more expensive than it is. It won’t stain the wood, it doesn’t stink, it couldn’t get any easier to use, and its totally harmless to you. The guy that introduced it to me sprayed some on his salad and ate it. That convinced me.

-- Dave, Colonie, NY

View Tim's profile


3812 posts in 2131 days

#11 posted 08-20-2014 02:04 AM

Dave, thanks for the tip on pharmacies, I’ve been looking for a source for desiccants. But you shouldn’t need to replace them, all you need to do is heat them on a tray in your oven’s lowest setting for a while to dry them back out.

Supposedly the asian food store camellia oil isn’t as good, something about purity or additives, but that seems to be marketing to sell you a $15+/oz bottle to me.

Jeff, I’ve heard people like the rust inhibiting paper I think it is, might be similar to the rust emitter you linked to, not sure. Supposedly the goldenrod works well but I share your safety concerns. It’s low power and all, pretty much like lots of other things we leave plugged in, but still.

View Pezking7p's profile


3217 posts in 1821 days

#12 posted 08-20-2014 02:24 AM

I’m in a similar situation. At first I had a lot of problems but I learned if I blew all the dust off my planes at the end of each day it was much better, except for finger prints! I bought some glide cote and since I put that on I haven’t had any issues. The sole wore away on the first day so I’ve been rubbing some canola oil on the bottom of planes prior to putting them away. So far so good (2 weeks). But, I use my planes every week, if I were putting it away for several weeks I’d put some glide cote on.

-- -Dan

View JohnChung's profile


416 posts in 2243 days

#13 posted 08-20-2014 06:10 AM

I live in Malaysia. Humidity is as high in your area. Mixwax alone is not sufficient.

If you are a weekend woodworker like me, I would apply wax first then store the tools in a seal box with desiccants. It will stop rust unless your sweat was on the handplane during usage.

Check the spots where rust is occurring. If it is on the areas you are touching the handplane then it is your sweat. All the prevention above will not work. Use lacquer on those areas.

View FaTToaD's profile


394 posts in 3310 days

#14 posted 08-20-2014 02:59 PM

I’m fighting the same battle right now. I just added a dehumidfier to my shop but I still got a lot of rust on my tools I’m trying to remove.

I bought a bottle of camellia oil at Woodcraft this weekend at it was on sale for $16.99 I believe. The sale goes through the end of the month. I just tried it this weekend so we’ll see how it works. It’s not a huge bottle but the spray nozzle only puts out a little at a time so hopefully it’ll last.

-- David

View JohnChung's profile


416 posts in 2243 days

#15 posted 08-20-2014 03:06 PM

Dehumidifier would be effective if the surrounding area was sealed. Build a cabinet with a good seal. Then place a dehumidifier into the cabinet. Monitor the cabinet with a dehumidifier meter. If the RH is below 30% it is good enough to stop/slow down rust to the minimum.

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