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Welcome to the latest edition of the Anarchist’s Gift Guide, a yearly thing I do that recommends mostly small, inexpensive and useful shop items. These blog entries are great to email to family members who are asking you what Uncle Woodworker wants for Christmas.

Here are the rules: Nothing is sponsored. I purchased all these items myself with my own money. Any manufacturer who asks to be included in the gift guide is automatically disqualified from being in the gift guide. (This disclaimer should give you some ideas about how other “gift guides” are constructed.)

The Super Woobie Kit

What is a Super Woobie? It’s an oily rag. But it’s a special rag coated in tons of special oil that will make it your best ally in fighting rust on your hand tools.

I got the idea from Deneb Puchalski, the grandfather of Super Woobie, at Lie-Nielsen Toolworks. He had made a few; I fell in love at first wipe.

Here’s how you do it: Buy a microfiber cloth. The best one I have found is from Norton Abrasives. You can get it for $10 on Amazon, though you can sometimes find them at home centers, woodworking stores or old-fashioned hardware stores. It really soaks up the oil better than other microfiber cloths I’ve tried.

Next, get a bottle of jojoba oil. You can get it from Lie-Nielsen or from health food stores. An 8 oz. bottle will cost you $12. Put the rag in a Ziploc baggie and pour about half of the oil on the rag and squish it around. Seal the bag and let it sit for a few hours (or longer) until all the oil has been absorbed.

After that, the rag is ready to use. It will feel super weird to the touch – a little clammy, really. That’s good. Wipe the rag on your tools after you sharpen them or before you put them away for the day.

After a year, your woobie will get disgusting. Run it through the wash (by its lonesome!) and then start again.

— Christopher Schwarz

Read other entries in the Anarchist’s Gift Guide.

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Showing 5 comments
  • Spoiler

    I tried it- I suggest way less than 1/2 a bottle. I poured 1/2 a LN sized container and the woob is super saturated. I’d start with an 1/8 and add to your content.

  • Longfatty

    Don’t buy cheap jojoba. I’m sure the stuff from Lie-Nielsen is ok but there is a huge amount of counterfeit and diluted product on the market (Amazon). I learned this the hard way.

    An easy way to check your material is to put it in the refrigerator overnight. Pure jojoba will be solid at that temperature, if they cut it with vegetable oil it will be cloudy and still liquid.

    The great thing about jojoba is that it is a liquid wax which makes it extremely stable. It won’t go rancid and start to smell like other vegetable oils and I think you would want that if your Woobie is floating around your shop for six months.

    Also suggest you hide the jojoba from your spouse or it’s all going to end up on his/her (mostly her) face and elbows. Another lesson learned the hard way.

    • Gruntledlark

      I like the method described by Paul Sellers better. He takes a tightly rolled cotton cloth and stuffs it into a clean soup can. Saturate the cloth with your oil of choice. I think Paul used 3 in one. Just leave it on your bench and wipe it across your tool when you put it away. He says that he has never had any issues with that practice affecting his finishes.

      • pwbaud

        The rag in a can would probably work great with jojoba oil. Think I’ll try that. Thanks for the pointer.

  • John Cashman

    Ah, I can recall the Great Woobie Auction of 2009. We’ll never again see the likes of those days.

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