How to Keep Tools from Rusting: Meek Woodworker’s Solutions

| Last Updated: April 14, 2021

How to Keep Tools from RustingWoodworking tools are not cheap and they need your care to stay in good condition. One major concern related to these tools is rusting. Because most of the woodworking tools in your workshop could be made of metal.

And we all know how prone metals are to rust quickly if Woodworkerot given proper attention. So, let’s give the attention today. For that, you need to know about how to keep woodworking tools from rusting.

I’ll tell you everything about how to keep tools from rusting in this article. Stay till the very end and I promise you’ll leave learning something important!

Everything About Keeping Rust Away!

Regulating the Humidity & Moisture Level.

Controlling the humidity situation in your workshop climate is important if you want to keep rusting away from your woodworking tools. This is probably the single most important point to care about.

There should be enough amount of airflow going inside the space. You may want to spend for a decent dehumidifier and fan for the process.

Also, you can use silica gel packs. You can simply use the packs and place it inside your toolbox or chest. Basically, anywhere near your tools. This moisture absorbing white packet gel can literally take away any kind of dampness.

However, these need to be charged from time to time. You can simply warm them up at 240 degrees Fahrenheit for around three hours inside an oven.

Another simple way is to create a tool chest. This is like a mini shop inside your workshop. Here all you need is a tightly attached lid that can keep away any kind of rust.

Some may prefer to use Goldenrod too. This is basically heater that can keep any kind of water vapor away from your precious woodworking tools.

Another consideration is using mothballs or camphor. This material usually comes with gas releasing properties that interwinds with oxidation.

That’s exactly something corrosion inhibiting papers are also used for. Both would work really good in an environment that is sealed hermetically.

There may be some center bits in your workshop that you would like to sharpen later or use next year. Simply place them in a zip lock bag for storing. It’s not a guaranteed way however definitely will do some sort of help.

Don’t Leave them Wet Ever

There is no denial to the fact that rust comes whenever there is any sort of wetness found in metal tools. So, make sure you don’t leave your tools wet.

You should always dry them after cleaning and before storing. This is a common but often neglected thing by woodworkers. Contractors setting up their tool outside will find it quite hassling.

Protective Coats Are A Great Help

Now, this is really an effective way of avoiding rust. You can use some sort of coasting over your metal tools. Most of the time a thin layer of non-oxidizing oil works like magic as a rust inhibitor. You can use mineral oil to get effective results.

Some will also prefer using motor oil for the process. Even WD-40 is a great option for the same aim. However, applying oil as a protective layer means you need to increase maintenance. Because most of the time, this oil is going to invite a lot of dust.

You don’t want dirty tools in any way. So, make sure to clean them up occasionally.

Butcher Wax

You can try butcher wax as well for rust resistance on woodworking tools. This is something easily available in local hardware stores. You can easily prevent tools from rusting for a long time using these wax.

You should pick automotive paste type wax always. However, never go for oil sprays. These may bring uninvited stains. Also, another irritating thing is getting hands stuck with oil residue while working.

Here’s how I apply the wax:

  • You need to get rid of any sort of surface rust beforehand the process. For that, you can use a pad or fine steel wool. Some may also want to use an orbital sander with fine-grit sandpaper for the process.
  • Now you need to use a tiny amount of mineral spirit. This will help you to cut thought the wax well.
  • Next, simply scrub gradually and make sure the rust is gone completely.
  • Use a rag to wipe and clean. Simply keep on adding mineral spirits until it’s free from any rust, wax or dust.
  • Now gradually apply the paste wax all over the surface of metal tool. You should apply for liberally. Let it dry completely and then simply wipe down to get rid of any excess amount.
  • Polish the surface of tool with a clean rag.

Use Frequently

The best way so far is to always keep on using the tools. This is probably the ideal way to not get any contact with rusty tools. Once you use your woodworking tools on a regular basis, there is no chance for any dampness or dust to get collected over it at all.

Clean & Clear

Sawdust is nothing new in power tools. Sometimes the sawdust with a minimal amount of dampness can be a good reason for your tools to get rusted easily. So, make sure to keep everything nicely clean and tidy. A tiny layer of dampness caused by sawdust can bring you a big potential of rusting. Don’t take a chance.

You can keep your hand tools separately. Don’t keep them near power tools. Also, a high-quality dust collector will make the job quite easier as well.

After every use, simply wipe down your tools. This way you can make sure to maintain your tools without spending a lot of time later going for deep cleaning.

Some Tips:

  1. Don’t put aside a plane with shavings inside its mouth. Also, avoid blowing over them. Your breath is damp.
  2. Use a cloth with oil to wipe the blade of tools.
  3. Always store your power and hand tools separately.
  4. Invest a good amount of money for buying a quality dust collector.


With all these points in mind, you still need to understand the fact that rust is inevitable. You will possibly go through several temporary preventive precautions. However, it can never be permanent.

Once you get rust in your woodworking tools, it’s never going to stop appearing again. So, the best way to be safe and sound is to take proper measurements from very beginning. Start on a good basis of maintenance with all your woodworking tools right after you buy them.

This is the finest answer I can give on how to keep tools from rusting. Good Luck!