Care for Starrett combo square?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Hand Tools forum

Forum topic by danofpaco posted 03-19-2013 02:41 PM 4267 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View danofpaco's profile


118 posts in 2184 days

03-19-2013 02:41 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question starrett combination square rust

So I came home the other day and there was a bag with a bow in my workshop. My wife had ordered me a Starrett combination square (she must have been sick of hearing me talk about them)!

Now, I live in Minnesota and my workshop is in the garage. I’m still working out insulation and heating/cooling, but for now I deal with moist (and cold!) winters and humid summers.

I want to protect my new combo square! For now it lives inside, but I would really like it to join it’s brothers in the shop. What is the best way for me to protect and care for it? I have some T9 and Johnson’s paste wax. I really don’t want to gum up, or cause any kind of build up – anything that would throw my square out of square.

It has the satin chrome blade and the hardened steel body. Is the t9/wax combo a good idea or not? Something else? What kind of lubricant should I use on the screw/spring part? Advice on how to care for this new piece of equipment so that it lasts me the rest of my days?

Thanks, all!

-- Dan :: Minnesota

16 replies so far

View bondogaposis's profile (online now)


5211 posts in 2618 days

#1 posted 03-19-2013 03:08 PM

I would wipe it down w/ t9 periodically.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5167 posts in 4228 days

#2 posted 03-19-2013 04:22 PM

I keep my good measuring tools in my rolling tool cab. Occaisional wipe down with a light oil (3 in 1) and buff off.


View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3238 days

#3 posted 03-19-2013 04:37 PM

I use Camilla Oil on my treasured tools.
Probably any light oil would be fine, but to me the Camilla seems to spread out and cling better than some others. I got it from Highland Woodworking after a suggestion from Chris Schwartz.
Johnson’s paste wax seems to work best on cast iron like my TS top.

And by the way, that wife sure sounds like a keeper. Someone needs a dinner or something.

View OggieOglethorpe's profile


1276 posts in 2377 days

#4 posted 03-19-2013 05:17 PM

Use it… love it… try to wear it out!

Like the others mentioned… Just a wipe of any light oil. I use Camilla, because my squares live in the same cabinet as my planes. and the oil is already there. In the past, I’ve also used air tool oil.

View NiteWalker's profile


2738 posts in 2844 days

#5 posted 03-19-2013 05:21 PM

I keep mine in my uninsulated garage with no issues. A light coat of oil (I use jojoba) keeps it operating smoothly and rust free.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View IrreverentJack's profile


728 posts in 3110 days

#6 posted 03-19-2013 08:05 PM

she must have been sick of hearing me talk

Dan, If I were you, I’d keep talking to the wife. Take care of her too. -Jack

View danofpaco's profile


118 posts in 2184 days

#7 posted 03-19-2013 10:48 PM

Thanks for the input everyone. I’ll look into picking up some Camilla or 3 in 1.

Is the general consensus to stay away from the wax or T9? I’m pretty new to having any nice tools so I’m still learning all of this – really appreciate the input and patience this community has.

And yes, my wife sure is a keeper!

-- Dan :: Minnesota

View sikrap's profile


1121 posts in 3626 days

#8 posted 03-20-2013 01:13 AM

I don’t disagree with wiping it down with Camelia or Jojoba oil, but I would also suggest stopping at your local pharmacy and asking them if they have any dessicant they’re going to toss out. I have a pharmacist that saves it for me and I now have waaaay more than I need. I throw 8-10 pieces in each drawer I keep tools in.

-- Dave, Colonie, NY

View Tim's profile


3812 posts in 2229 days

#9 posted 03-20-2013 02:56 AM

Paste wax or T-9 certainly isn’t going to hurt it. The paste wax for sure won’t gum it up, it’s practically a lubricant. Paste wax and then wipe down with a very lightly oiled rag with jojoba or camilia oil every time you replace the tool is what I hear the most for important tools. Regularly wiping is the real key. T-9 has people that swear by it, I think it’s meant to be a replacement for the wax, and supposedly buys you more leeway if you don’t wipe it down much with an oiled rag.

And if you really want to be careful, buy or make a storage bag or case for it so that it doesn’t rub up against other metal in your tool chest either. Something about two metal pieces sitting together and the electrons catalyzing the rust reaction. I think it’s called galvanic reaction or something, though that might not be the whole issue. Most of the high end woodworking suppliers sell storage bags for premium planes for this purpose for example.

View unbob's profile


810 posts in 2171 days

#10 posted 03-20-2013 04:18 AM

There is always Starret tool and instrument oil. Sort of hard to go wrong with that.

View danofpaco's profile


118 posts in 2184 days

#11 posted 03-20-2013 05:15 AM

unbob, I think your link has a better price than Amazon is that some kind of typo??

Tim, thank you for your thorough response, very helpful and appreciated.

sikrap, I’ve already started collecting those, problem is most of my tools live out in the open for now. Things that live in cases or boxes all have some silica packets thrown in, but I wonder how much good they do if the container isn’t very air tight. They do sell some giant silica boxes on Amazon. I wonder if a few if those placed strategically around my garage would create a fortress of dryness.

-- Dan :: Minnesota

View Tim's profile


3812 posts in 2229 days

#12 posted 03-20-2013 01:24 PM

Dan, that’s just how Amazon prices things. They price most of their things low to make people assume everything is. Other things very from a little to outrageously overpriced. They also try to price based on your browsing habits and vary the prices on a given item throughout the day/year etc.

View sikrap's profile


1121 posts in 3626 days

#13 posted 03-20-2013 06:47 PM

Dan, one word of caution about using a paste wax. If you do go that route, make sure the paste wax doesn’t have any silicone in it. Silicone will stain wood (or at least that’s what I’ve been told).

-- Dave, Colonie, NY

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3238 days

#14 posted 03-20-2013 10:42 PM

Whether silicone stains wood or not is not the problem I have with it. Once it’s on wood you can not get it off and no finish will cover it up. Not even paint. Avoid silicone like the plague.

View DaveSJ's profile


12 posts in 2161 days

#15 posted 03-21-2013 12:12 AM

Humidity isn’t usually a problem where I live in California, but I still don’t risk it with expensive tools…. I use Jojoba oil on all my hand tools to prevent rust, that goes for steel rules, machine squares, chisels and block plane. Camelia oil is good too. I just got a bottle of Jojoba oil from Lie-Neilsen the last time I ordered a replacement plane blade. One bottle lasts a long time as a little goes a long way. Woodcraft and Highland Hardware sell Camelia oil. Just wipe down your tools with a light coating after each use and they should stay new looking.

showing 1 through 15 of 16 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics