Practical Rust Prevention Tips for Woodworkers
Woodworkers in many parts of the country fight a constant battle protecting their tools from rust. Humid conditions, contact with hands, and contact with moisture promote the formation of rust. If you can limit these conditions you may prevent or limit the formation of rust on your tools.
Humid conditions found in garages and basements are the most common causes of rust on hand and power tools. In parts of the country, humidity is high enough to cause rust on any unprotected metal surface. Moving your shop or your tools to a climate-controlled environment will help protect your tools. Another option is to run a dehumidifier in your shop; just watch your utility bills, these can cost over $10 a month to operate.
When you use your tools, the sweat and oils from your hand contain salt. When the salt from your hand remains on your tools, it will promote the formation of rust. Wiping down your tools after use can help reduce the amount of rust and moisture left on your tools.
While nobody would purposely expose water to his or her woodworking tools, carelessness in the shop can create conditions that increase contact with moisture. Using water stones is a popular way to sharpen woodworking tools. When using water stones, always dry your tool being sharpened and be careful not to expose tools nearby to the water when sharpening. Another common method of moisture exposure in the shop in from wet sawdust. Even kiln-dried lumber can contain 10% moisture, while other lumber can contain much more moisture.