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Struggling with RUST on tools


SndChsr
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Hi folks and Happy New Year!

Does anyone have any ideas in how to prevent surface rust from forming on stakes or even the staking anvil dye table? I have a really nice Marshall set as well as K&D. Both fully complete and in excellent shape but the stakes (especially) quickly develop rust. EvapoRust helps... for 2 weeks or so. Same goes for my octagonal anvil. Is there a trick to keep these things rust free? I’m sure when they were new, the original owners didn’t have this problem for some time.

Thanks for any input.

Marek

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1 minute ago, jdm said:

Apply a thin film of oil with a rug all over, place a silica-gel bag in the case, store in heated, low humidify environment.

Of course! Silica! And how many of those have I thrown  out over the years. Thank you jdm! And after I apply a thin layer of oil, wipe off with clean rag I assume?

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I have what me chancel fitters were calling 'rusty hands' when I was an apprentice. I could leave handprints on anything steel. By the next day, there would be a rusty handprint where I had last touched something made of steel.

When I cleaned up on a lather after working on it, I would have to coat everything in oil as well as my hands. If I didn't, the next day I would be back there cleaning off handprints.

So it is not just air with me, but what I touch as well.

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I've been using jojoba oil for years in a hand tool woodworking paradigm (same problem, different scale). I made up a little sapele box with a reversible lid. One side of the lid is just french polished, the other side has a small piece of shearling leather glued to it (hide glue for what it's worth). Jojoba oil lives inside, and when I'm done with whatever tool, I drag it across the lightly oiled shearling, and then it goes to its home. The fatty acids that make up the triglyceride that is Jojoba oil are fairly long chain, and fairly saturated (as far as natural oils go), so it doesn't evaporate or go rancid very quickly. 

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An (old) toolmaker-turned-watchmaker friend told me they would put a piece of camphor in their toolboxes to prevent rust. He recommended it for staking tools in particular. Used to be moth balls were an easy source of a piece of camphor, but they are made from other stuff now.

 

If you live in a place with the right humidity conditions to promote rust almost no amount of oiling and silica gel will really work longterm. If you have climate controlled work area you can talk to an AC expert to find the right way to maintain your temperature to prevent condensation- not talking wet window level- microscopic condensation which is what causes the light rust on tools. When I was teaching in southern Ohio we were constantly battling rust on all the tools; the front office didn't want us messing with the AC settings so we never got to figure out the "sweet spot" and just lived with it. Very luckily the region I live in in Switzerland has the sort of magic humidity level and rust is only an issue when someone with rusty hands (as above) handles something.

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On 1/4/2022 at 3:16 AM, SndChsr said:

Does anyone have any ideas in how to prevent surface rust from forming on stakes or even the staking anvil dye table?

I struggle with this issue a lot as well. Even simple household items rust very easily for me if they aren't good quality steel.

Colored silica gel are great. But they expire really quickly if the toolbox or storage container isn't airtight. In my case in just a matter of days, color changes from orange to dark green. If you buy in large batches and didn't store them properly, be prepared for a shock when the whole batch expires. Sometimes, they even arrive in the mail already expired, and if you got the non-colored version then there is no way for you to find out. Its a borderline scam.

Also, I don't recommend the oven/microwave method to recharge these, as you really don't know the quality control of these little balls. For all we know they could very well be tainted with uranium or cyanide. Or whatever.

So to really solve this problem, I use two things together:
1) An airtight drybox: I find the best are the ones camera enthusiasts use, they even come with hygrometers (shows humidity levels). I like the cheap Nakabayashi ones: https://www.nakabayashi-global.com/products-all/capaty-dry-box
2) "Branded" rechargeable silica gels: Eg. https://www.eva-dry.com/product/e-333-renewable-mini-dehumidifier-2-pack. Pop this in the box along with your tools, close the lid and watch the hygrometer go down. If it doesn't, then just recharge it.

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  • 4 months later...
On 1/6/2022 at 5:24 PM, Zero said:

I struggle with this issue a lot as well. Even simple household items rust very easily for me if they aren't good quality steel.

Colored silica gel are great. But they expire really quickly if the toolbox or storage container isn't airtight. In my case in just a matter of days, color changes from orange to dark green. If you buy in large batches and didn't store them properly, be prepared for a shock when the whole batch expires. Sometimes, they even arrive in the mail already expired, and if you got the non-colored version then there is no way for you to find out. Its a borderline scam.

Also, I don't recommend the oven/microwave method to recharge these, as you really don't know the quality control of these little balls. For all we know they could very well be tainted with uranium or cyanide. Or whatever.

So to really solve this problem, I use two things together:
1) An airtight drybox: I find the best are the ones camera enthusiasts use, they even come with hygrometers (shows humidity levels). I like the cheap Nakabayashi ones: https://www.nakabayashi-global.com/products-all/capaty-dry-box
2) "Branded" rechargeable silica gels: Eg. https://www.eva-dry.com/product/e-333-renewable-mini-dehumidifier-2-pack. Pop this in the box along with your tools, close the lid and watch the hygrometer go down. If it doesn't, then just recharge it.

I agree with @Zero. Rust is a serious problem here in the tropics, where the temperature and relative humidity is really high (30 degrees celcius, 80% RH).

I store my more expensive tools in an air tight food container box (volume of over 10 liters), along with a CaCl2 dehumidifier. To be safe from leakage, the CaCl2 dehumidifier is placed in a separate plastic dish (IMPORTANT! I use two to be EXTRA safe), while the tools are kept in an uncovered plastic tray, both inside the sealed food container. I monitor the relative humidity inside with a blue tooth digital hygrometer.

The relative humidity inside the container is around 20%. However, you should replace the CaCl2 dehumidifier when you see some liquid (CaCl2 solution) at the bottom; in a sealed container it should last at least a few weeks, but depends how often you open it. I don’t recommend refilling the CaCl2 dehumidifiers, since leakage will destroy your tools.

The CaCl2 dehumidifiers are quite cheap, but you MUST remember to replace them, if not you will have very serious issues with corrosion from leakage of CaCl2 solution.

Edited by ifibrin
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On 1/5/2022 at 6:12 PM, canthus said:

1 box of 7 lateral flow tests for covid-19 = 7 small silica gel sachets !!  Handy eh.

Great minds at work here. That's what I did with nine. Open a test throw the silica gel pack in the box with my staking set and jeweling tools.

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