Steel Protectants Test #2


May 31, 1999
Hello all....

Due to "popular demand", and my own curiosity, I am conducting a second test of various protectants on steel. Again, I am making a web page to show the results so that those intersted can go see what is happening. I am sorry if the page loads slowly. I wanted the best quality pictures available and them to be large enough so you can get a clear view of the metal and surroundings.

The web page gives all the details about what is different (and the same) this time. I am not going to rehash what is on the web page, but let me just mention four significant differences over the first test:

1) I added mineral oil to the test panels
2) I cleaned the metal by grinding, sanding and tap water before protectants were applied.
3) Applied two coats of each protectant before subjecting to the outdoors.
4) Changed the order of protectants to the metal.

Periodically, I will add to the page, so again, if interested, please check back every week or so.


AKTI Member #A0000180

"Everyone was born right-handed. Only the greatest overcome it."

[This message has been edited by WRS (edited 25 July 1999).]

Thanks for doing the test again!! Really appreciated!!

I guess WD-40 would be a good and cheap way to protect the steel!!!
Good work. I bookmarked your site. I am woodworker as well as a knife enthusiast. I live in New Orleans where its allways humid. My own experience is that WD-40 does not provide long term protection. Its seems too volatile. I currently use a product called Sandaro's TopCoat to treat cast iron tool surfaces.
Thanks for including the mineral oil, and for doing the test again.
I applaud the effort taken to perform these tests, but for me the first round is more relevant....

It seems to me that this second round of testing will provide impractical results. I might rinse the knife in tap water (usually only if it has been exposed to salt water), and then apply my Marine Tuf-Cloth, but I am darn sure not going to sand it to remove surface deposits.
Just popped in on the test again, interesting results. Its hard to tell exactly from the pictures how much rust is forming as the reflections distort this somewhat. If possible it would be interesting to see the steel cut up into sections and get a mass measurement before and after to determine the amount of rust formed.

It might be worthwhile to contact the maker/seller of the products (some are on line like Sentry) and ask them to comment on the results.

While I have always used the Marine Tuf-cloth my brother has sworn by WD-40. It would seem that perhaps he knew something I did not.

Thank you much for the test and for posting the results....

God bless!

Romans 10:9-10

"Military" Fans Unite!!

WD-40 has advantages and disadvantages. I put WD-40 on a folding shovel about 8 years ago and left it stored in a car trunk; I can still smell it, but it's not rusted. It works to loosen up frozen screws because it penetrates. I don't use it on firearms because of the chance of penetrant getting into contact with primers...CLICK!
First of all, Thanks for going to this effort you're doing a great job.

Things are rusting much faster than I would expect from clean rain water. Do your local power companies use coal--promoting acid rain? Are you getting runoff from your roof--bird droppings contain uric acid that is known to burn through car wax and car paint?
I find that WD40 does fine as a cleaner and for short term protection, I use it on tools in the garage and such, but for longer term protection I'll use either Break-Free or for even better protection EEZOX. A lab that I worked in had a lot of hardened and ground tools and since it was temperature controlled but not humidity controlled things were prone to rusting. Break-Free was an improvement over WD40 but EEZOX worked better yet. There are a lot of such products out there though so it's nice to see such tests.
Regarding the inactivation of primers by water and WD-40. On the 1911-l list, a gunsmith has been testing primers that he has had immersed in water, and others immersed in WD-40, for over one year.

The primers immersed in water don't work well until they dry out, then they work just fine. The WD-40 primers work fine as soon as they are removed from the WD-40.

I do realize that there is considerable anecdotal evidence regarding WD-40 inactivation, but it appears that the current product bearing the name does not inactivate primers. Walt
Hello all.....

First, thanks for all the nice comments from many of you on my little test. The test I am doing is offically over. At this point, the metal is rusty in all areas and difficult to say one section is any better than another.

One of the things I had hoped to see is which protects the metal the best. In my mind, any section that began to rust, "loses". So, it was really a chance to see which section held up the best (stayed rust free the longest).

I realize the scientists out there would scoff at my methods of testing. However, in my mind, this was a simple, "real-life" experiment.

Clearly, the winner was "WD-40". In second place was "White Lightning" and a VERY close third place was the "Tuf-Cloth".

I also wish some of the vendors of these products would have commented on this test. I would enjoy hearing their thoughts of the test and the results I got.

It would be interesting to see someone else in their part of the country try a similar test and share their results. The results I got here in Cleveland, Ohio may or may not be typical of the rest of the USA.


AKTI Member #A0000180

"Everyone was born right-handed. Only the greatest overcome it."
Bill, thanks again for this value info!!

Can anybody tell me if they have any experence with the Valvoline SynPower Penetrating Lubricant, from the advertisement in Popular Mechanics it protects against rust and corrosion, it also outperforms WD40!!
Outperforms WD-40???


Does it give better protection against rust than a dousing in salt water would, too???????????????

(Please read the "Rant on WD-40" thread -- especially the post from Stray on how he used WD-40 for bear defense: )

Walt, a number of people have posted experiences trying to deactivate primers on rec.guns. Although primers sometimes fail to ignite or function less consistently after exposure to a tiny amount of oil -- even just the oil from your skin in the process of reloading -- it is extremely difficult to reliably deactivate modern primers. After trying all kinds of oils and other substances everybody has decided just about the only safe and reasonably convenient way to dispose of primers is to burn them in a steel drum. There are some chemical processes that seem to work reliably but it takes weeks of soaking to make sure they're all completely dead.

-Cougar Allen :{)