At the request of my readers, we’re talking hand tools today! In particular I’m going to walk you through my regimen to maintain and sharpen chisels, planes, and hand saws. Just like all tools, with a little regular maintenance, you’ll be a happier and more accurate woodworker.
General Tool Cleaning
In general, hand tools don’t require hours of maintenance to prevent rust, etc. There are a few easy things that can be done and they only take a few moments. First, Paste Wax is your friend! Paste Wax is great because it not only protects against rust, but it also is great for things like planes to help them glide across your work piece with less effort.
For long term storage, I like to wipe a thin layer of 3-n-1 oil onto the bare metal surfaces. Obviously, wipe this oil away before using the tool or you’ll end up staining the wood.
How to Remove Rust
If you’re straight up restoring some flea market finds, then odds are you’re going to encounter some rust. Fear not, you’ve got options!
For spot rust to moderate rust, a can of WD-40 and a Scotch Brite are a great place to start.
If you have a fair amount of rust and aren’t a big fan of scrubbing, then a chemical rust remover like Metal Rescue Rust Remover Bath or Rust Remover Gel will get the job done.
If all else fails, you can always have fun with an electrolysis setup like this one from George Vondriska! I did this to remove heavy rust from some steel I used to build my wood lathe.
Sharpening Chisels & Planes
To sharpen my chisels and plane blades, I’m a sucker for diamond stones. I learned on traditional Japanese water stones which are great, but after trying the diamond stones which don’t require the same maintenance as water stones, I was hooked! I use the Trend Diamond Stones and go into detail on my process for using them here! I also use these stones for sharpening my pocket knives and kitchen knives, so the set has definitely paid for itself many times over by now.
Setting Teeth and Sharpening Hand saws
Rather than rewriting about this topic, here’s a great article that explains the basics behind setting teeth and sharpening hand saws!
I hope this short but sweet info helps you maintain some of your shop equipment. Feel free to leave a comment below with tried and true tips you want to share or shoot me an email with specific questions! And as always, thanks for reading!
Leave a Reply