It’s not my intention to belabor the obvious, but woodworkers need tools. And the tool to work properly needs to be in good condition. Ideally, the tools should be clean, shiny and sharp (assuming it’s a cutting tool).
I have stated in earlier posts that I like to prowl the garage sales, estate sales and auctions. Some of the treasures I find are rust encrusted. We all should know that rusty tools are not in good working condition.
So the question arises, How can we remove the rust, clear up the tool and make it smooth and shiny? And how can we protect the metal so that rust doesn’t happen?
Moisture and oxygen cause the iron to react and form rust. In a damp climate, such as near the ocean, this can happen very rapidly. Close enough to the ocean and the salt air will further hasten the corrosion. There it is a never ending battle to protect the metal. And, it is not only iron that is susceptible to corrosion, but in this discussion, I will focus on iron.
I won’t need to work very hard here because Ron Hock has already done it and I will just pass you along to his blog.
Ron is well known among fine woodworkers. He produces and markets some very high quality plane irons, cap irons and caring knives, among other items.
Ron goes into the chemistry of rusting in part 1. It may give you more information than you really wanted to know. But, keep reading because it will give you a better understanding of how to prevent the rusting.
In part 2 he discuses some of his methods for protecting the metal, such as oils and waxes.
In part 3 he describes a method he uses to remove the rust that has accumulated.