DeanJackson

Which oil for planes?

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I have a few planes.  I love them.  I want them to last a long, long time.  That said, I'd prefer not to put anything too chemical on them to stop rust... as I also touch them all the time.  

 

Seems like Lie-Nielsen recommends camellia oil, but doesn't sell any.  

 

Suggestions?

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You can still get camellia oil at woodcraft.  For whatever reason it seems Lie-Nielsen has switched to jojoba oil...same kinda thing.  I use camellia oil. I also occasionally use paste wax, usually for saws.

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Hi Dean J

 

At risk of sounding a monster I just use a small drop of 3 in 1 and buff it with a cloth. I have never had a problem with it contaminating the timber I'm working on or with rust of the tools I use.

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+1 on 3 in 1 - good enough for the Swartz (in an episode of the Woodwrights shop when he guested with Roy he mentioned "using machine oil to protect" on wood planes) 

If you can't find camellia oil you could also use Boeshield T9, WD40 or some paste wax. 

 

Clean any wood dust/shavings away from the iron/steel parts at the end of a session and wipe over with a rag containing a little of whatever you choose to use. You will have tools that last for years with little if any corrosion. 

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My grandfather, father, and uncles all used marvel mystery oil. I do too. It works great for protecting my tools and is fantastic on an oil stone for sharpening.

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I ordered some jojoba oil from LN when I bought my first plane from them.  Seems to work well, but have nothing to compare it to.  I've often wondered why LN stopped carrying camellia oil.  If anyone knows the reason, would love to read it.

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I use Camellia oil as well. I coat my saws and new planes with it after every use during the spring and summer months (in my area the rest of the year is either dry or frozen) my old planes get a coating of Renaissance oil on the sole and iron in the spring and have never needed anything else. I like my new tools to look new and my old ones to have the patina lon them. I used to just keep a rag that was just for the Camellia oil but a couple years ago I got one of these and i love it, no mess and easy to store. .

http://www.highlandwoodworking.com/aburatsubotooloiler.aspx

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+2 on the 3-1 oil. Being in the swamp, rust is evident in days... I fight the beast with repeated cleaning after use and storing them wrapped in a cloth that was used to clean them. Some how wrapping them or keeping them in a drawer does a lot for preventing rust. Too bad it does nothing for when you forget them out!

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you can get camilia oil at Highland Woodworking. You can also find it on Amazon but it's slightly more expensive as a cosmetic. You can also use olive oil.

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Careful with the olive oil it can become rancid. I think any lightish oil will do. Sunflower oil doesn't go rancid, Johnsson's baby oil works too because that's what I use to hone my blades with. I'm not entirely sure what is so special about Camilia oil, other than the price, perhaps someone can explain?

 

Also important is to clean the tool of dust and shavings. I thought they'd protect the tool, but of course they actually absorb humidity which makes for a great rust generating environment. Sigh. An old paint brush will do the job.

 

John

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it takes oilve oil about 2 years to go rancid. it's a misconception that you can't use it for tools.

 

It's funny, baby oil is just mineral oil with fragrence, so it make me wonder - why not just use mineral oil? It gets used to season cast iron skillets as well as used as a food safe finish on cutting boards. have we been duped into using more expensive oils to keep our tools rust free? :) anyone have input on that one??

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It's funny, baby oil is just mineral oil with fragrence, so it make me wonder - why not just use mineral oil?

 

Because it smells nice.  ^_^

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it takes oilve oil about 2 years to go rancid. it's a misconception that you can't use it for tools.

 

It's funny, baby oil is just mineral oil with fragrence, so it make me wonder - why not just use mineral oil? It gets used to season cast iron skillets as well as used as a food safe finish on cutting boards. have we been duped into using more expensive oils to keep our tools rust free? :) anyone have input on that one??

Olive oil has an acidic component. It can range from very low in extra virgin to nearly 2% I don't know whether this will have any affect over time, but since you asked, I figured I'd throw it out there ;-)

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I have used mineral oil in the past and it does work but I didn't like it because it left such an oily residue. With the Camelia oil it protects it but it's not greasy oily like it is with mineral oil. With the mineral oil it would even steam the shelf that the plane would sit on!

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it takes oilve oil about 2 years to go rancid. it's a misconception that you can't use it for tools.

 

It's funny, baby oil is just mineral oil with fragrence, so it make me wonder - why not just use mineral oil? It gets used to season cast iron skillets as well as used as a food safe finish on cutting boards. have we been duped into using more expensive oils to keep our tools rust free? :) anyone have input on that one??

 

I don't want to get into a 'yes it is - no it's not' argument here, but the 2 year argument is correct when you keep the olive oil in the bottle. A good olive oil (extra virgine) comes in a dark coloured bottle and you keep it out of direct sunlight (a cupboard for example). Out in the big bad light filled, oxygen filled world I think it can go rancid much more quickly - I just don't know how quickly, and don't really want to find out.

 

Since cast iron is quite porous, the idea of having a rancid smelling plane abhors me, and I have no idea how you'd get rid of the stink - and it is a stink (ever sniffed rancid milk?). It might be that I have a sensitive nose, I can't stand the smell of linseed oil either, so I add plenty of limonene (lemon oil) to it when finishing wood.

 

I buy baby oil when it's on offer in the supermarket, so it works out at about €5-8 a litre. I'd have to order camelia oil on-line from Germany at €16-€25 a litre plus postage. I've found it (baby oil) works very well for honing since it removes the swarf very well. I used WD40 previously, but it's expensive and evapourates rapidly. Since it's (baby oil) on the blades anyway, I just give the plane body a wipe down too. Been doing it this way for about a year. Definitely not in the David Charlesworth plane league (they always seem newer than new), though I do use them quite a lot.

 

Unfortunately my planes still rust a bit, but I have a 'perfect' environment - damp with little air flow. I have tried waxes, gun oils, the various rust protecting oils/waxes sold for woodworking tools, but have always had some slight rusting, more of a tarnishing really. Hated the waxes, and the oils are not exactly pleasant to the nose either.

 

Nothing scientific here, just personal opinions...

 

John

 

P.S: it's not actually the cost, just the hassle of having to order via the internet, and be home when the parcel arrives. If camelia oil has a nice smell (or at least doesn't have a bad smell) then I'll give it a go.

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so John, you've had olive oil go rancid on your tools? I guess I've just been lucky, then, because I haven't had any problem. My basement stays pretty dry with a dehumidifier, so maybe that plays a part.

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Jojoba (pronounced hoe-hoe-buh) iv heard is a good light oil for steel

What i used it for is my ears when i had them stretched. Jojoba oil is pretty unique in that it is so similar to your natural skin oils your cells can absorb it as though it just produced it. Plus if you buy an entire gallon via amazon our wherever its price is very low. So if you want you can use it on your skin to whick away the excess haha

I used it as a light finish under bees wax, doesnt add color or anything but does help the beeswax pop. (Used to make organic plugs)

Versitile stuff and when buyin it in large volumes it is pretty cheap, for being an organic oil it has a long shelf life too

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Jojoba (pronounced hoe-hoe-buh) iv heard is a good light oil for steel

What i used it for is my ears when i had them stretched. Jojoba oil is pretty unique in that it is so similar to your natural skin oils your cells can absorb it as though it just produced it. Plus if you buy an entire gallon via amazon our wherever its price is very low. So if you want you can use it on your skin to whick away the excess haha

I used it as a light finish under bees wax, doesnt add color or anything but does help the beeswax pop. (Used to make organic plugs)

Versitile stuff and when buyin it in large volumes it is pretty cheap, for being an organic oil it has a long shelf life too

That is very interesting, but I would be cautious about oils that rapidly absorb into the body, they can carry toxins along with them... kinda like DMSO.

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so John, you've had olive oil go rancid on your tools? I guess I've just been lucky, then, because I haven't had any problem. My basement stays pretty dry with a dehumidifier, so maybe that plays a part.

 

No I haven't - simply because I don't use it, being concerned that it could go rancid. Clearly though your experience is very different. Keeping the humidity low and having a good air flow are very definitely important steps towards creating a rust-free environment.

 

John

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I'm sure many oils work well, but almost everyone I know maintains that camellia oil is the best tool for the job with Jojoba running second.  I'm not sure why, but several folks that used to supply camellia don't anymore (LN included).  It may be cost -- camellia oil is pretty expensive (about $6/oz unless you buy bulk) -- but a little goes a long way...  I get camellia oil from Japan Woodworker.  

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No I haven't - simply because I don't use it, being concerned that it could go rancid. Clearly though your experience is very different. Keeping the humidity low and having a good air flow are very definitely important steps towards creating a rust-free environment.

 

John

 

So, you've never used it and have no experience with olive oil going rancid on your tools, yet you spend 3 posts discrediting my advice? You know, the problem with forums is the lack of integrity of the posters. You just illustrated that point, John.

 

Dean, again - camellia oil can also be found at Highland Woodworking http://www.highlandwoodworking.com/camelliaoil100ml.aspx and on Amazon, but Amazon's prices are slightly higher because it's sold under cosmetics. you've had a lot of good suggestions, just remember that whatever you use might be left on the wood to some degree and just be careful that it won't cause problems with the eventual finish of the piece.

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Hi MM,

 

FWIW I have enjoyed all the contributions on this thread, yours and Johns. I had not picked up anything harsh, just contrasting advice. Even with all the advice 3 in 1 is good for me. Trust me this is a nice place with nice people, that why I like this forum and I have found other forums a bit heavy. 

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I like Camellia, Jojoba, or mineral on my hand tools, because I also don't mind it on my skin.  Air tool oil is great, too...  and you may already have it.

 

Years ago, when "pickling" alcohol burning engines for storage, I found automatic transmission fluid (non-Type "F") to be functionally identical to Marvel Mystery Oil, far cheaper, and it didn't separate into wax and oil if heated and cooled repeatedly.

 

Lots of oils will work great, but as I get older, I seem to pay a lot more attention to what gets on me...

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