Carrying the right tools in a toolbox on your boat is as much about safety as it is for convenience.
The tools that are used regularly are the ones least likely to rust. It is the ones which are tucked away at the bottom of the tool box and only used occasionally are the ones most at risk.
It is always better to prevent rust than have to deal with it later or find that the tool is unusable.
You have three main choices in protecting your tools from rust: Protective
coating Tool Care
Tool care begins with
how you protect them will
depend on humidity
levels they are exposed to.
Those kept on board will require
greater protection than
tools kept in a dry workshop.
Wherever you keep them they need some
sort of surface
barrier to keep off the moisture.
There are several way of doing this
from oils to waxes and
products such as
You can buy these anti rust products
in either spray of
liquid form, the liquid is less wasteful when it comes to application.
Keeping hand tools in a tool roll
will keep them apart and
And if you give the roll a soak in
kerosene first, then
allow it to dry this will help to protect the tools.
The best tool care is to apply a thin coating of protective oil, wax or
protective product before putting the too away.
It is also good practice to wrap you
tools in an
oil-impregnated cloth, which will also hep prevent them banging
Vapour corrosion inhibitors, VCI
is ideal for protection hand
are stored in tool boxes.
There are several
as well as good old
fashioned camphor and camellia oil.
Small blocks of solid camphor left in
the tool box will
give off fumes that form a rust inhibiting coating on the tools.
And camellia oil can be purchased in
spray bottles or easy
While some specialist rust-preventing products purport to protect power
these are best stored ashore in dry conditions.
While no substitute for proper tool care,
storing your tools with small
packages of silica gel will help lower the moisture level, thus
reducing the chances of rust forming on them.
Silica gel absorbs moisture and can
be reused over and
It can be rejuvenated by drying in an
oven or even over a
light bulb for a couple of minutes.
The normal non-indicating variety is
clear and consists
almost entirely of silicon dioxide.
The indicating varieties change
colour to indicate when
they are saturated and need drying.
The most common color combination is
blue, which turns
clear and then pink as it absorbs moisture.
Silica gel can be bought by the pound
or as gel
And often comes free with electrical
goods, don’t throw those little packets away, toss them into your tool
The Packs, wrapped in a porous
material, are the most
effective way to use the ‘gel’.
The added benefit is that the packs
can also be used to
pad out your tools, helping to prevent then knocking together.
For the gel to be most effective,
keep the silica gel
packs and the tools together in sealable plastic containers.
If you do see any rust
your tools remove it
as soon as possible with some fine wet/dry sandpaper or emery or use an
The abrasive can be used dry but it
is better to use a
lubricant such as kerosene, machine oil, camellia oil or mineral
preferably not WD40.
Wipe off the rusty smears with
acetone or mineral
The metal surface will now be ‘raw’
rust quickly so, treat it straight away with your preferred anti rust
Some anti rust tool care products ten
to leave the surface
slightly sticky this can be overcome by buffing the surface and
treating with a
There are some conditions under which
camphor fumes can be
So, read the instructions that come
with the camphor.
The’ indicating’ silica gel may
harmful additives and fungicides.
So, don't be tempted to eat silica
gel, and keep it away
from children and pets.
Silica gel dust can be an irritant,
so use a
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