An Embarrassing Rust Problem
One of these days, I’ll get around to building a proper tool chest and bring home my pine bench so I can set up shop in my study – but until then, my good block plane, along with the rest of the small set of woodworking tools that I keep at home, is stored in the dining room in my china cabinet. My basement is simply too damp and unpleasant for a shop, or for storage of pricey tools.
Well, it turns out the dining room is also too damp, too, when one refuses to turn on the A/C until the inside thermometer hits 85°, and the humidity is hovering in the 80 percent range. Yes, I discovered rust. On the sole of my Lie-Nielsen block plane. And on the edge of a Blue Spruce Chisel. (Thomas and Dave, my abject apologies; I don’t deserve to own your tools.)
I got the rust off the chisel fairly easily; an hour-long soak of the blade in a jar filled with Evapo-Rust did the trick. The rust wiped right off. But I’ve not yet tested Evapo-Rust on a painted surface, so I was loathe to soak even the sole of the block plane, afraid the solution would get on to the painted plane bed.
Then I remembered the “magic rust erasers” – Sand-Flex blocks – that used to live with Chris Schwarz’s extras sharpening stuff. But alas, they too went home with their owner. So I ordered a set of my own blocks in coarse, medium and fine (from Lie-Nielsen, though they’re available through other suppliers as well). These blocks feel like a grittier version of the big pink erasers I used in grade school (and like those erasers, they leave a lot of detritus behind, so it’s best to work over a piece of paper or cardboard that you can toss in the recycling bin when you’re done).
A few swipes with the medium block, then the fine block, and the rust was gone. I wiped the residue off the sole, then wiped the tool down with camellia oil (I should have ordered another bottle of oil while I was at it – oops).
The A/C and dehumidifier are now on full-time…and will stay on until the heat and humidity are in a non-threatening range. Or until I replace my china cabinet with a dessicator cabinet – which would look fabulous in the dining room, no doubt.