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Handtool maintenance  RSS feed

 
Dan Grubbs
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Location: northwest Missouri, USA
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At Jocelyn Campbell's request, I'm posting this to generate some dialog. I posted some photos of restoring a few handtools. At another social media site, it sparked a debate about what kind of oils to use on the tools to keep them in good working order. So, here goes ...

For the steel parts of handtools that will not have use in direct food production I use old motor oil.
For the steel parts of handtools that come in contact with food in some way, some say veg oil, others argue it will go rancid. What say you?

For the wooden parts of handtools, no matter what their use, I use boiled linseed oil and nothing else ... no varnish, no poly finishes. What say you?

For tools that require an edge, I avoid using any high-speed tool as I believe it can change the temper of the steel. Rather, files and stones are best for sharpening. What say you?

I know there are many specialty tools that won't neatly fall into this discussion, but I'd love to hear from you too so I can continue to learn.

Dan
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hey Dan...remember you asked for this...

I stay completely away from 99.9% of most petroleum products for just about everything except working engines and then I use synthetics...Used motor oil is a toxic material and not something I would ever recommend as a "permi." (Yes there are organisms that can eat it...not before it causes issues in most cases.)

My chainsaws (both cutting and milling) get the bar oil I have used for over 20 years...Canola oil, and/or Peanut oil (if I can get a deal on Peanut in bulk I really like it.) Yes there is a "little" gumming at times...never any real issue of note on that though, and I run the biggest chainsaw engines with bars over a meter in length full throttle...often several tanks in while milling or logging.

For tools, most often is either flax, or Tea seed oil (what most layfolk call linseed and Camellia) depending on use and quality of tool. Beeswax has its place here as well...There is also a place for walnut, and coconut oils...Also swine and bear fats works wonders as does Seal oils...

Natural lipids are a wonder in many ways...from addition to lime mortars and plasters of all types to making finishes...can't really live without these lipids...

 
Dan Grubbs
Posts: 542
Location: northwest Missouri, USA
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Jay, no need to preface your remarks. This exactly the kind of dialog I'm looking for. I'm really glad didn't just say "don't use that" but went on to explain the why.

I'm ashamed to say that I would never have thought about veg oils as bar/chain lubrication for saws. If you have a brand of canola or peanut oils that you reco, I'd love to know.

Thanks for playing, Jay.
 
R Scott
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Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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My grandpa had a bucket full of sand and old motor oil (you could easily use peanut or coconut). Every shovel got shoved in it before going back into storage.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hey Dan, et al,

Love to play...and this is a big one in permaculture...lipids and lubricants!

As for brand...it would be environmentally better if you could just buy organic (I have gotten to a few times when I could get a half pallet) yet I recommend getting what you can afford. Bulk buys, and "odd lot" stores often have it for as 'cheap" as $4 a gallon (or even less!)...Which is lots cheaper than "regular bar oil." You may go through more in the summer, but won't really notice a difference until you use walnut and peanut oil...the more you cut wood...the more you crave french fries! (I even tasted the wood chips as they just smell so damn delicious.) If you have a big dog they may take to licking the saw...

Regards,

j
 
Brian Hamalainen
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Location: Chimacum, WA Sunset Zone 5, USDA Zone 8B
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Jay C. White Cloud wrote:Natural lipids are a wonder in many ways...from addition to lime mortars and plasters of all types to making finishes...can't really live without these lipids...
Do you have any links to such uses? I tried search but it didn't bring up much that looked relavent.

I use a "vegetable shortening frier blend" for my blacksmithing and have taken to using it on other tools as well. It works great and I haven't had any issues with it yet. I think a 6-gallon jug was about 28$ USD at my local "Cash-'N'-Carry" (bulk restaurant supply store).
 
chip sanft
pollinator
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Location: 18 acres & heart in zone 4 (central MN). Current abode: Knoxville (zone 6 /7)
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Although it can be expensive compared to bulk veggie oils, I use olive oil on my tools because it doesn't get rancid (or at least not easily). I picked that up from my dad and it's worked well.
 
Topher Belknap
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Location: Midcoast Maine (zone 5b)
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Wood on food tools gets Walnut oil. Does not go rancid, and polymerizes to form a tougher seal.

Wood on garden tools (including hives) gets polymerized linseed oil (and maybe some beeswax melted in).

Chainsaw gets used fry oil for bar and chain.
 
Tim Malacarne
Posts: 226
Location: South central Illinois, USA
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I use canola oil on my tractor bucket sometimes. It seems to hold material when turning the compost pile. Rather than stop every few minutes and clean it, I scrape and sand the bucket interior, smear with canola, whatever was on sale, cheaper the better. That way, I'm not contaminating the compost with non-food oils. Bucket is slicker, needs less cleaning by shovel.

Have begun using canola in the tiller crankcase. Tiller is old, 40 plus, uses a lot of oil, blue smoke sometimes, with canola, it smells sweet! Really!
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