It seems like all the tap and die sets I've owned over the years end up
dying from rust.
For some reason, those things love to sit around and rust when stored.
What can be put in the case to prevent rusting? I thought about spraying
'em down with oil, but that's a bit messy, and I suspect it would evaporate,
A light coat of oil is the traditional way to prevent rust on tools. Treat it
like a gun, e.g. clean the tool after use and apply a very light coat of oil.
While any oil will do if you inspect/recoat periodically an oil designed to
prevent rust is a better choice. Generally the gun oils are good although
expensive. I like Breakfree CLP. Folks who've tested various oils for rust
prevention note the good old 3-in-1 brand oil does a very good job.
Cosmoline is one option, although that is pretty messy crap - probably not
what you're looking for. Another possible solution would be to store the
tool in a tight fitting box and toss a few of those silica gel bags in with
it - the same bags you get when you buy shoes, computer parts, and other
moisture sensitive items. A simple Rubbermaid tote with silica gel bags
would do the trick. Be sure not to store metal on top of metal, corrosion
can also occur through that mechanism.
You can spray them with WD40, wipe them with a rag dampened with
kerosene, or put some chalk pieces (or desiccant packs) in the case.
The wiping with kerosene can remove light rust. Store the case in a
dry and warm area or use an airtight container.
One approach for seldom tools is to find an paraffin (wax) heater at a
thrift store...it is used for skin care.
You melt wax in the heater and dip your taps and dies in it. WIth the
wax coating, there will be no rust.
A friend treated a tap and die set this way and then stored the tools
in a jar of water for a year.
He always has had a knack for making his point...and he enjoyed the
free lunch he won from me too.
If you want a somewhat thinner coating of wax, you might try a trick
used by machine knitters (my wife is one): Dissolve some paraffin wax
in pure alcohol (e.g. the 99.5% pure isopropyl alcohol that pharmacies
carry). Use this as a cleaning solution for the tools. The alcohol
dissolves all the old oil, grease, and gunk. When you're done cleaning,
leave the tools to air dry. The alcohol evaporates, leaving behind a
thin wax film that protects the surface until it's used next.
And then there is LPS-3, a spray that leaves behind a *thick* waxy
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