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I've had my planing form for over a year with no problem. It lives in the upstairs of my garage, which is unheated/uninsulated and is in Maine. Two days ago it was fine. This morning it is mottled with superficial rust. I believe that this happened because of condensation as we had gone from very cold to temperature in the forties and heavy rain.

I plan to  polish off the rust with fine sandpaper, then take it apart and get any rust that might be between the bars. Aside from using flat block to make sure the surfaces stay true is there any other advice? Would a product like BioShield as a protectant affect future accuracy?

I hope none of you has had this problem, but any remedies or preventive ideas would be welcome. (Henry Mitchell)

    I'm in Louisiana, one of the worst possible climates for rust.  I constantly use something very much like BioShield (Rust-Lick) on my forms, planes, and lathe ways.  I can't imagine it giving you problems.  If I know my forms will be stored for more than a few weeks, I coat them.

    I usually wipe away most of the petroleum based rust preventer with some lighter fluid (naphtha)  on a paper towel before planing.  Any traces of the lubricant are whisked away with bamboo shavings long before I reach my final dimensions.  (Harry Boyd)

    In the Seattle area we have our fair share of dampness. I use a Sil-Free sliding compound called "Slipit" on all metal tools. Got it at Grizzly. No need to clean it off prior to tool use, its like a paste wax. Even though it says its silicone free, I wipe down the strips with alcohol prior to glue-up & again prior to varnish.  (Don Schneider)

    When I'm not using my forms for a while I coat them with wipe on varnish.  Next time I use them I hit 'em with sandpaper.  (Lee Orr)

    Funny, I thought I'd have a lot of trouble with rust on my forms living in the great (but wet) Pacific Northwest.  But alas no. I don't coat the forms (other than what's on them as part of the machining process).  So far little or no rust.  I'll keep a close eye on things and coat them if needed.  I would prefer to keep the forms oil free so to keep oil off my strips as much as possible.    (Scott Turner)

    One thing maybe worth trying is to take the form when you're not using it, and seal it up inside a suitable PVC tube with a few moth balls.  The moth balls act as a vapor phase inhibitor, and sealing the form up inside the tube limits contact with atmospheric moisture.  If the thought of moth balls bugs you, a few baked-out silica gel desiccant packs would give you a zero moisture environment inside the tube.  Used to be, once upon a time, a not uncommon practice for machinists to keep a lump of camphor in the tool chest to keep the rust at bay.  (Todd Enders)

    Try camellia oil when not using your forms.  I live in the DC area, which was built on a swamp (90 degrees, 90 humidity in the summer) and it works wonderfully.  It is  available from Wagners.  (David Haidak)


Anyone ever re-draw-file their metal forms to get some nicks and gouges out of the top and bottom surfaces, then touch up the 60's with a triangle file?

A few thousandths each side couldn't be too detrimental to the forms?  (John Silveira)

    Absolutely!  In fact, floating around the list is a pair of tools that Don Schneider made up for doing just that.  Todd's tip site has pictures of them, and the October 2001 issue of Power Fibers has an article by Don on tuning up your forms.  I used the set of Don's tools that were floating around, and they worked great!  Got the forms dead nuts on, and the taper .001" per inch.  Check With Todd Talsma about who might have the form tools.  If you need that issue of Power Fibers, let me know.  (Mark Wendt)

    Tuning up a set of forms is fairly straight forward doing just what you said. I have a Excel worksheet that takes the math out of setting up the forms to true-up the groove. I'll send it to you if you wish. Just follow the instructions on the worksheet.  (Don Schneider)


I recently bought a planing form.  It has slight rusting in spots.  What is the best way to remove this rust w/o damaging the form?  (Scott Wilson)

    Start planing on it.  If the rust is thick enough to interfere with your depth gauge in setting up the forms, then lightly draw file it and start planing.  (Robert Kope)

    I'd use a little penetrating oil like Tri-flow and simply rub it out.  Most rust removers will corrode the material its working on. If you wanted that then you might as well take some steel wool to it or simply file it down.

    I've used it for years to rub out rust on old swords.

    Don't use an oil like, WD-40, it contains silicon.  (Jim Lowe)

    Get yourself some of those Scotch-Brite pads.  They work very well, with a little elbow grease.  If it's only surface rust, shouldn't take too much effort.  Also, frequent use keeps the forms from rusting...  ;-)  (Mark Wendt)

    I'd suggest some fine sandpaper on a wooden block, followed by a light coat of oil.  Here in Louisiana, I constantly fight rust.  I usually oil my forms down if I'm not going to be using them for more than a week, then wipe out the grooves with an alcohol moistened paper towel before starting to work again.  (Harry Boyd)

      There is a product called "SLIPIT" that is made for protecting wood working tools that may help with the prevention of  rust.  It  is silicone-free. Check their web site for the specifications. I picked up a can at Grizzly, so far so good.  (Don Schneider)

        I picked up a new product from Woodcraft this year (not SLIPIT) to try on my table saw this winter. I pulled the cover off and peeked at it last week, and it seems to be doing just fine. It gets cold and lonely out there. If this works, I'll post a note toward the end of winter. I fight this battle every year, so it won't take long to decide if I like it.  (Larry Blan)

      I use Boeshield instead of oil.  No silicone or other nasties, just waxes and solvent.  REALLY stops rust.  And it's made up the road here in Holland.  (Brian Creek)

        Too much Scotsman in me, I guess.  Got half a dozen cans of oil out in the shop.  The oldest is over 25 years old.  Till those are gone, I doubt I'll buy any of the newfangled stuff.  (Harry Boyd)

    I was browsing the magazine rack at a bookstore, and in one of the new woodworker magazines was a technique for removing rust from old planes. You submerge the plane  and a piece of steel in water, dump in washing soda, then clamp the positive end of a battery charger to the steel, and the negative clamp to the plane. Then plug it in for a couple hours. The rust turns into a black coating that can be removed with a scrubbing pad.

    This sounds like too much fun not to try.

    And I THINK that the positive end went on the steel and not the plane.  (Jeff Schaeffer)

      Ran across the same article and was reading down the posts and Jeff had already done it.  Couple of points:  first, use washing soda, not baking soda, you'll find it the laundry products area and a pound box will go a very long way.  Second, it doesn't take very long if the rust is superficial.  Third, use a glass or plastic container, aluminum will be a problem.  I've only tried it on a couple of tools with superficial rust and it is great; will give it a try on something with heavy rust this weekend.  (Carey Mitchell)

        Just finished helping my daughter with her science project today.  She tested rust removers.  Compared CLR and Evapo-Rust.  Found both at Walmart. CLR was with the household cleaners.  Evapo-Rust was with the glue in the hardware section.  I'm not sure what the R is for in CLR.  It doesn't remove rust and it's toxic too.  We submerged a pair of pliers in Evapo-Rust last night.  They were rusted up so bad, I didn't think they would ever be used again.  The rust was gone this morning.  This stuff's amazing.  And it's nontoxic.  Just soak and rinse with water.  Not near as much fun as using a battery charger, but very effective.  I'm not sure how it could be used on forms, but it's great for anything you can submerge in it.  Check it out here.  (David Bolin)

          David's post reminded me of a technique that my grandfather used to use back in the late 60's or early 70's to remove rust from metal burglar bars.  I grew up in Durban where rust was rampant - he took the bars off the window frames every once in a while and soaked them in Coca Cola.  Straight Coke.  Took the rust off and was reputed to dissolve many other things, though I only ever tried it with Rhum  [:)]

          It did remove rust from the steel burglar bars, though.  (Greg Dawson)

      I've used this technique and it works very well.  You will lose some japanning.  It doesn't take hours.  As I recall only about 10-20 minutes. Negative to plane.  You can also use an AC/DC adapter, the higher the voltage the better.  (Dennis Aebersold)

    I think I will try the "Abraser" from Klingspor (looks like it will help my table saw top and jointer bed).  Then I'll  apply Boeshield - I have a couple of bottles of this in the garage.  (Scott Wilson)

    PS:  I ended up getting the sanding blocks from Klingspor - they're kind of like rubber sanding erasers (?).  These worked great - the forms look like new.  Some of the solutions proposed got a little wild (part of the "charm" of the rodmakers group) - hooking the forms up to a battery charger and submerging them in water sounded somewhat impractical, though I have heard it works well on smaller rusted parts.


So, on my Bellinger forms.....

1.  How much truing should I do between rods?  I've been just 320/600 gritting them.  The ones I have are very used, so I know I can't get them glass  smooth

2.  There's some rust/discoloration on the side, do I really need to be religious about removing this?

3.  Should I oil the screws?  (Joe West)

    I would do as little as I could to the tops, as long as your plane is not catching on tears. Just a bit of a polish- more than that and I would worry about making the tops uneven. Eventually you could have them resurfaced. I spray mine with Camelia oil when I am going to be away from them for over a week. A drop of oil on the screws seems like it couldn't hurt anything.  (Jeff Schaeffer)


How often do you file/dress the top of a steel plane form flat?  After making each rod? third? fifth rod? What technique do you use to do this?  (Bill Latham)

    At one time I filed the forms back to "true" after every 3-5 rods.  But after twice screwing up my forms, I've decided that I will only get the forms back to "true" when I start having problems with them.  If you think about it, the plane shouldn't be right on the forms except for the very last few strokes.  As long as the groove is true, nicks and scrapes will not hurt anything.  (Harry Boyd)

      I use a L-N Block plane with a .005 groove in the bottom until I do the final planing.  The final planing is the done using the L_N 212 scraper plane and this has eliminated the problem of nicking the forms that I had before getting these two planes.  No reason now to resurface the forms.  (Tom Peters)


What do you guys do with your forms when they aren't in use? Do you worry about rust, etc..? Is there anything special you to do clean them periodically?  (Greg Holland)

    I don’t do anything.  They  never  rust  but  my  basement  runs 35-45% RH year around.  (Al Baldauski)

    What do you mean, "Not in Use"? (;-)  Seriously, I wipe mine down with "Boeshield" (I think that's how it's spelled) and store in a case I made of schedule 40 plastic pipe, glued on a cap on one end and a screw on cap on the other.  I drop a few containers of desiccant in too.  (Neil Savage)

    I use a length of tubular gauze bandage, well impregnated with WD-40 or some such, and roll it over the forms like a sock or sleeve, then twist it and go back down to the starting end.

    A bit of a top up squirt of WD-40 and the forms are pretty well rust proof and well protected, easy enough to access and easy to wipe clean prior to using next time.

    I have lashings of the tube bandage in my surgery, but am sure any pharmacist could supply.

    Incidentally, I always put a layer over my rod tubes to keep them looking new and unbattered.  No oil on this one of course.

    Useful stuff.  Buggered if I can recall last time I used it as a bandage dressing, though!  (Peter McKean)

      Since getting a larger lathe I've found that Way Oil is unbeatable for coating metal.  (Chad Wigham)

        I'm not sure I would want any kind of oil on my forms (as good as it sounds) to then get on my strips.  IMHO  (Tom Kurtis)

          I use LPS #1, greaseless lubricant, that coats and protects metal surfaces. Spray it on and wipe down. It dries fairly fast, leaves a very thin film and seem to protect against rust etc. LPS makes a #2 & #3, which I also have but haven't found it necessary for a heavier protection. Haven't noticed any negative effect on the bamboo/finishing.

          Someone on the list once said, I think it was John Channer, the way to stop rust on planing forms is to use them every day. :>) Animal!  (Don Schneider)

            If that was me that said that, it must have been a long time ago, I've since gotten over it <g>. I still don't worry about rust though, here in the southwest, if you keep mostly under a roof it won't rust, it helps to not spill beer on it either Mike.  (John Channer)

    Even though the humidity is very low here, I use a light coat of camellia oil on all my forms. From what I can gather, it is compatible with all finishes unlike other oils so I don't have to worry about varnish not sticking on my strips.

    Here is a description from Highland Woodworking.

    "Camellia oil is a favorite traditional tool treatment among both samurai and woodworkers, used both for preventing corrosion and for easing chisels and knives through their work. Light and odorless, the oil is non-staining and doesn't affect glue-up. Use a light wipe on all your steel tools to keep them clean & shiny. 100ml/3.3 fl.oz."  (Larry Tusoni)

    See for more info.


I will be storing my planing form for the summer, and was wondering about applying something to prevent rust.  What do you suggest?  (Ron Delesky)

    Camellia oil.  I'd suggest disassembly and thorough cleaning, followed by application of your rust preventative (sawdust collects moisture).  You could also use RIG (Rust Inhibiting Grease), 10W30, gear grease, Vaseline, etc., etc.  Wrap it in waxed paper if you use the heavy-duty approach.  Otherwise, Camellia oil it and store it open in the lowest humidity environment you have.  (Steve Yasgur)

    Camellia oil works well, but I would look long and hard at the actual need to store the forms.  Mine just stay on my bench, moved to the back and out of the way.  That way air can circulate freely and they are available for routine inspection and wiping with oil.

    I suppose that my situation is not everybody's, though, as i tend to use my forms all year.

    But yes, the short answer is camellia oil, also used on planes and other tools to keep rust at bay.  (Peter McKean)

      A very light coating of oil is a good idea, but the best thing you can do is keep your shop dry. My shop is about ten feet from a stream, so tool rust is always a concern. I have a dehumidifier, which is worth every nickel of the electricity it uses. Your form is not the only thing that can rust.  (Gary Misch)

      Another thing you can do, is just cover them up with a long bath or beach towel.  Wipe them down after use with a rag and alcohol, to get all the greases and acids from your hands and sweat and blood off, the wrap in the towel.  The towel will help to keep moisture from condensing on the forms.  (Mark Wendt)


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