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How to Keep Tools From Rusting Onboard?


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I put a new set of Craftsman wrenches and ratchets on board 2 summers ago, and though I've kept them clean and they haven't seen a lot of use, they are showing the first signs of rusting in their cases. My tools that haven't rusted appear to have an oil coating that came on them, so I'm wondering if there is an oil film that could be wiped or sprayed on tools to keep them from rusting while stored in the cabin?

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13 hours ago, Max Rockatansky said:

The WD stands for ‘water displacement’ 

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Ack! No. WD40 was/is for getting water off things and that's about all it's good for. It also does a pretty good job getting goo off your hands.

3 hours ago, brucephenry said:

I’m a big fan of Boeshield for this kind of thing.

The best for penetrating, better than WD for lubricating, but still not great corrosion protection because it was designed to work inside wings and things.

 

10 hours ago, yoyo said:

Amazon.com : Ballistol Multi-Purpose Lubricant Cleaner Protectant, 4-Ounce,  BO120045, Green : Gun Lubrication : Sports & Outdoors

Another option to wd40..

Better than the first two suggestions, but still not great at protecting.

I cover tools with LPS-3 and set them in the sun. It dries to a waxy, protective coating. Kinda the opposite of this approach:

12 hours ago, Zonker said:

Yes, and wipe off excess before use. 

But a protective coating is only a start. Put the slimy, protected tools into a Pelican case or some other AIRTIGHT, not watertight, box. It helps to put a rag in the box too because touching the waxy tools will slime your hands. WD40 gets it right off.

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3 hours ago, Excoded Tom said:

 

Ack! No. WD40 was/is for getting water off things and that's about all it's good for. It also does a pretty good job getting goo off your hands.

Yeah, it's the "getting water off things" that keeps them from rusting. Nobody's arguing that WD is a good lubricant but it's excellent for keeping rust off tools. LPS3 and Boeshield are great too, but I don't like a waxy coating on my hand tools. I use those products for long-term rust protection on stationary stuff like motors.

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30 minutes ago, Max Rockatansky said:

The thing that WD40 is NOT, is a lubricant….

Except for milling or tapping aluminum. The spray cans are handy but the pump spray bottles work better and can be refilled.

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Cozmolene...

Any of the lanolin sprays will last a while LPS, CRC SP 350 or 400, Boing Shield also good.  I still like WD 40, as above if you use your tools and don't want to clean goo off everytime you use them then WD is good.  

The first thing you need to do is to put them in a wood box.  It's why machinist on ships use wood cases for tooling.  On a boat a wood box does alot to keep rust down.  For stuff I don't use alot bit don't mind cleaning before use, sometimes I will put in a ziplock and hose with WD then push air out of bag and store wet with WD.

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My old man swore by two stroke oil.

He used to wipe his tools down with it and said it stuck to them better than anything else.

I can see how a wood box would work if the wood was impregnated with oil. I think I may give that a try.

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9 hours ago, SloopJonB said:

Wrapping them in oily shop rags works.

Gotta be careful with that one.  Used to wrap our hand planes like that and would grease our big lug crimpers and roll a old wool socks over.  Was fine when using regularly but after a while of no use they all turned into rust balls and took a bunch of cleaning.

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1 hour ago, Israel Hands said:

Well shit, guys, I ordered Ballistol, and then you late f'ers tell me about Corrosion X.  Think it's better than Ballistol?

Haven't used corrosion-x for tools, I have used it for electronics, circuit boards in particular.  After treatment they are waterproof.

Only downsides I have seen is that it destroys super-glue (Cyanoacrylate) and after application to a surface it is really difficult for anything to adhere to it, even after aggressive chemical cleaning.  Harmless to all other plastics and other materials.

I treat all electronics on my boat with this shit, no corrosion.

 

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I just use break-free CLP.  For regular tools, I give them a quick wipe down after use (sometimes) and toss the rag back in the toolbag along with the tools.
 

For drill bits, oscillator blades, etc. I have become fond of the 'lock & lock' brand of kitchen containers.  They fasten very sturdily, seem to be resistant to CLP (a few years of testing) and are absolutely air tight.  Useful for smaller electronics type items too - although obviously don't spray a bunch of CLP in the box with those!

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On 7/19/2021 at 10:51 AM, IStream said:

Yeah, it's the "getting water off things" that keeps them from rusting. Nobody's arguing that WD is a good lubricant but it's excellent for keeping rust off tools. LPS3 and Boeshield are great too, but I don't like a waxy coating on my hand tools. I use those products for long-term rust protection on stationary stuff like motors.

WD40 doesn't leave much behind when it evaporates because it was designed not to. That does make it a cleaner option than my approach.

Because I only play with small boats these days, tools in the box are only used when necessary. Otherwise, they're stationary objects that never get touched. If I have to touch one, I get glom on my hands. Oh well. WD gets it off and one of the little spray cans lives in the tool box.

I don't do this to my regular tools. Those get a light coat of oil because the air is full of salt here. Interesting point above about two stroke oil. It is made to stick better but I've never used it on tools. Maybe I'll start.

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Use whatever oily shit you have to hand, be that sump oil, wd 40, ballistol, Kerro, grease, whatever. Probably not KY Jelly. Wrap it up in a “tool wrap” if you want or plastic bag. You’ll have to wipe it off after. Nothing is fool proof. I seem to recall  an a approach that retreating armies would do to protect firearms they would bury on the off chance that on return they would be able recover workable armaments. Grease +++ wrapped in grease proof paper was one (WW1 /2). I’d be interested to hear/ read what current forces would suggest.

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Having said that. I use Ballistol mainly to clean the outside of firearms. ( black powder flintlock and percussion cap stuff). But I still tend to use WD40 for the lock and moving parts.

If you are going down the line of “Last Tango In Paris” and are reaching for the butter it might not be a good long term choice as it will go rancid. 


I wonder about a lot of modern lubricants and whether the additives to a petroleum/ synthetic base can be used on everything or really only a limited role.

there always seems to be another expensive wonder spray around the corner. Not alot of independent comparison.

all the best with your corroding implements…

 

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On 7/20/2021 at 4:30 AM, cyclone said:

Except for milling or tapping aluminum. The spray cans are handy but the pump spray bottles work better and can be refilled.

and protecting aluminium anodized or not

 

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22 hours ago, Captain Ketamine said:

Use whatever oily shit you have to hand, be that sump oil, wd 40, ballistol, Kerro, grease, whatever. Probably not KY Jelly.

Heh. Reminds me of my uncle, who declared "Oil's oil!" as he splashed the residual oil in a sardine tin all over his body.

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On 7/22/2021 at 4:49 AM, Captain Ketamine said:

 I seem to recall  an a approach that retreating armies would do to protect firearms they would bury on the off chance that on return they would be able recover workable armaments. Grease +++ wrapped in grease proof paper was one (WW1 /2). I’d be interested to hear/ read what current forces would suggest.

Cosmoline.  Been around since the 1870s but recently the military has switched to PET film wraps, easier to clean up.

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Really this is a problem?  I've got tools over 50 years old mostly with no rust or a minor rust sheen kept in a plastic sealed ammo box and have never oiled/treated them with stuff.  My shoreside tools in an old craftsman metal toolbox have fared well also.  Could be the San Diego weather plays a role, as it's the go to antique car buyer's mecca due to no rust damage.

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Being near salt water, and ensuring that tools are reasonably readily available makes a difference.  Bolt cutters - yes, smeared in grease and reasonably close if they are ever needed.  Day-to-day tools, and or once a week or once a month tools, different deal.  Once again - regular old CLP and keeping a light coat on even if you want to grab a paper towel again before using them is cheap and just works.  As others have noted above - any kind of oily lubricant will work just fine.  WD-40 is great to get water off, not so great for protection.  I just like the CLP just 'cuz', not a specific recommendation.

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