The Best Defense Against Rust: Frank Klausz
I wish I could send Frank Klausz to the shop of every reader to teach you the following lesson, but I think he’s busy.
The first time I met Klausz was at a woodworking show on the East Coast about 15 years ago. He was demonstrating wooden moulding planes; I was demonstrating some infill planes I had built. At one point during my demonstration, Klausz walked up to my bench and picked up my panel plane to examine it.
Then he walked away with the tool.
He returned about 15 minutes later with the tool and scolded me in front of everyone for allowing some rust to bloom on the iron and cap iron. He had taken the tool apart, cleaned it, oiled it and reassembled it.
Klausz set the bar for me that day, and I will always be grateful for the drubbing.
All tools – hand or power – need care. If you don’t have time to maintain all your tools, you probably have too many of them.
Shown above are my two primary weapons in keeping Klausz (and rust) at bay. An oily rag and a medium-grit hand block, which is basically a rubberized abrasive. The rag can be soaked with any oil. Repeat: Any oil. Even olive oil and/or motor oil. I use jojoba oil because I don’t need any more volatile organic compounds in my life.
When I finish using a tool for the day, I brush off all the sawdust and inspect the tool. If I see a spot of corrosion, I remove it with the hand block. Then I wipe the tool with the oily rag. When I sharpen a tool, I inspect the tool closer and remove any pitch on the cap iron with the hand block.
Every year (about this time of year, actually), I take an hour to strip my planes completely and put some machine oil on all the moving parts.
The result? No more scoldings and no more rust.
— Christopher Schwarz
The next best thing to taking a class with Frank Klausz is his seven-hour DVD on joinery “Joinery Master Class.” It’s fantastically priced. You can even download the entire thing and take Frank with you wherever you go (scoldings not included).