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Protecting metal tools from corrosion

August 1, 2021

Q. I have an old sailmaker's bodkin which I wish to use for rope crafts. But it is made of carbon steel and wood with a copper ferrule. It will not separate nor do I want to separate it into its parts (history).


But left unused even for short periods it will rust very fast. Almost overnight.

Can I use say citric acid [affil links to item on Ebay & on Amazon]?


Will this cause a reaction between the two metals?


Is there another, idiot safe, product I can use cold?


Izack Madd
- Ashbourne Derbyshire

August 2021

A. Hi Izack. citric acid [affil links to item on Ebay & on Amazon] will remove rust but will not prevent rust. The way to protect your bodkin is lovingly with oil. Carefully wipe it with machinery oil after use, and periodically if it is in storage. Even better would be a small perfume or other bottle of the right size filled with oil where you could immerse the steel portion. (The oil will not hurt the copper, but might wick up between the copper and steel, making it difficult to wipe the oil off before use, plus possibly loosening glue connecting the wood to the steel.)

Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

August 7, 2021

A. Try 2 parts fish oil, 8 parts white spirit mixture. Hope it helps and good luck!

Goran Budija
- Cerovski vrh Croatia

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