July 1, 2021

How to Stop Chisels Rusting | 9 Tried and Tested Tips

How to keep chisels from rusting

If you are one of those people who suffer from chisels rusting, you know how frustrating it is. You can buy products like Rust-Oleum Chisel Protector that claim to stop rust, but they do not seem to stop rust. So we decided to find out what’s behind the rusting process on chisels, and we found out it’s not as simple as you think.

Sanding the surface

Sanding away the chiseled surface gets rid of rust. You are allowed to hand sand and use a power sander. Make sure you have protective wear before you start working on the surface. The rust turns airborne, and that causes sickness. 

Goggles must protect your eyes, and your skin with gloves. A dust mask prevents you from breathing in the sanded particles. As you start sanding, the heaviness of rust tells you the course of the sandpaper. 

50-grit range sandpaper removes heavy dust. An extra-fine grit paper gives you a smooth finish. Steel wool substitutes sandpaper; you also start with coarse and fine wool for finishing. 

You are allowed to re-seal or paint the chisel when sanding. A power sander is for large surfaces and heavy rust. Keep your sander in motion to avoid an uneven surface, and rinse and dry the chisel when sanding. Repeat the process if the surface has rust remaining.

Wiping off excess moisture

You will not wipe off moisture using a cloth all the time. Wipe off the moisture to control humidity on your chisel. Add a moisture-absorbing gel pack to your chisel. That is a silica-gel desiccant that absorbs excess moisture and reduces the humidity level in enclosed areas. 

Enclosed areas do not have a ventilation system or airflow that removes moisture. A dehumidifier or fan is ideal for use if you stay in a humid climate and your space does not get enough airflow. Absorbing gels are in white packages that are in your shoebox. 

They are easy to use as they require the user to sprinkle a little in your storage box. There is a need to recharge the gel regularly, and that is by baking the gel balls in an oven at 240 degrees Fahrenheit. That takes three hours or more. 

Oiling the surface

Oiling the surface protects your chisel from rusting. Mineral oil prevents rusting on the chisel. Use a soft rag to apply the oil over the metal surface. A thin film of mineral oil is enough. 

Apply it after using the chisel. The oil that performs better includes pure mineral oil, 3-in-1 oil, and Starret precision tool oil. The WD40 company makes the 3-in-1 oil, containing 98% low-viscosity mineral oil. The oil is also known as spindle oil. The remaining 2% is citronella oil and a corrosion inhibitor. 

It also works as a lubricator, cleaner, and protector. The Starret precision tool oil contains 80% mineral oil, and the trade secrets board withheld 20%. 

Using rust inhibitors

A vapor-corrosion inhibitor is a coating substance that protects metal items in enclosed spaces for more than a year. It is water-based, non-polluting, and molecular. It fills the entire workspace and bonds to metal surfaces. 

As it seals out moisture, it also protects the chisel against corrosion and rust. VCIs protect any metal surface that air can reach. A protective coating treats surface tops and keeps the chisel rust-free for a long time. 

Wax is an effective coating substance that is available in hardware. The automotive paste wax is efficient and requires regular application to keep the rust off your item. Unlike oil sprays, it does not stain the chisel and does not leave an oily residue on the hands of the users as they are using the tool. 

Mineral oil gives better results, although it attracts dust. You must maintain the chisel as soon as you apply the protective coating. Wax substitutes oil if it does not work to your desired results.

How to stop chisels rusting with WD40

WD40 is a long-lasting corrosion inhibitor that protects your chisel from rust and corrosion for up to one year outdoors and two years indoors. The anti-rust spray requires minimal maintenance, and you are allowed to use the chisel in high-humidity areas. 

It is non-drying protection that stays where you have sprayed it. The formula is long-lasting since it extends the life of the chisel. The WD40 acts as a lubricator, and when done using it, spray the chisel. 

How to stop chisels rusting with machine oil

Wiping your chisel using machine oil keeps the chisel blade safe from rust. It takes away the existing moisture and prevents moisture. It protects the chisel and adds beauty to the chisel. Applying the oil after usage is the best way. 

That allows you to keep your chisel safe in the storage box. Wax is used as a substitute since it seals off the surface from rust. The oil has to be applied so that you do not give room for rusting. 

How to season your chisels

Warmth is used to season chisels before you start using them. That hardens the chisel so that it does not split. Put it in an oven for some time and ensure the heat is warm enough to season the chisel and not burn it. 

The temperature ranges from 400 to 450 degrees. Put the oven on the bake and leave it for 45 minutes. Let it cool before use. Another way that substitutes the oven is by sticking your chisel onto a hot tin roof for days. That prevents chipping on the first day and preserves the straight edge of the chisel. 

How to oil chisels

Use a rag to apply oil on the chisel blade. Make sure the chisel is clean and dry. Choose the best oil for your chisel. If you are not sure, consult the manufacturer. The oil needs time to set before use. That is why you have to apply the oil after using the chisel. It is ideal for use while the chisel is in the storage box. 

How to clean chisels

You are allowed to wipe off the chisel using a clean, damp cloth. As you are using the rag, you are wiping off debris, grease, and dust left over the surface of the chisel. Grease and excess dust damage the chisel. 

When washing your chisel, submerge its head in a bucket with white vinegar. Cover the bucket with a piece of wood for four hours. Scrub off the surface with Grade 1 steel wool, and you will start seeing the rust coming off. 

Rinse the head of the chisel in clean water to remove vinegar and wipe it as you dry it. Smoothen the chisel using a disc sander with 100-grit abrasive and wipe off the chisel with mineral spirits and a rust-preventive primer. Paint with glossy paint for a shiny finish.


Chisels are among the tools you should never put in a toolbox without a plan for using them. First, they need a protective sleeve to keep them from rusting. Many types of protective covers will stand the test of time. Let us know if you have any of your tricks up your sleeve!

David D. Hughes

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