Camelia or 3 in 1 oil?

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  • #658993
    Sam Hutchison
    Participant

    Hi all,
    I’m new to this forum and also very new to woodworking but I have started building my tool collection so I can get started.

    My dad has given me his Stanley No.4 plane which is in need of a bit of tlc and wanted to use some abrasive paper to get the rust off but then also oil it up afterwards. I have read quite a bit of other advice on what oils to use and wondered what people’s opinion is on here? I know that Camelia oil is hugely expensive and I just wondered, is it really worth it?

    Also does anyone have any good books I can read on tool maintenance? I’m also new to getting my hands dirty and just generally need a bit of general advice to get myself started.

    Thanks

    Sam

    #658998
    Andrew Sinclair
    Participant

    Paul’s video on youtube called “restoring the bench plane” is the definitive reference – essential viewing if you haven’t seen it.

    “3-in-1oil” is what Paul recommends and what I use, and it works very well and is cheap.

    I haven’t used camellia oil but I believe it is commonly used on saw plates, where I suspect the cost is negligible because you use so little. I would be interested to hear its advantages relative to 3 in 1 from those that use it.

    Enjoy the journey, hand tools are a lot of fun!!

    #659001
    Sam Hutchison
    Participant

    Paul’s video on youtube called “restoring the bench plane” is the definitive reference – essential viewing if you haven’t seen it.

    “3-in-1oil” is what Paul recommends and what I use, and it works very well and is cheap.

    I haven’t used camellia oil but I believe it is commonly used on saw plates, where I suspect the cost is negligible because you use so little. I would be interested to hear its advantages relative to 3 in 1 from those that use it.

    Enjoy the journey, hand tools are a lot of fun!!

    Thanks Andrew, yes I have seen Paul’s video actually but wasn’t sure about the oil.

    Thanks for the advice – I am sure I will be a regular on here asking for tips!

    #659162
    Larry Geib
    Participant

    Look at the sds sheets for what you are getting.

    3 in 1 oil is napthalenic ( mineral) oil with citronella oil added for the smell, which I don’t like. It was originally made for bike chains a century and a half ago. The WD 40 folks now make it.
    Most Camellia oil is light parafin ( mineral) oil with camella essential oil added for smell, which I’m not paying 3 bucks an oz . for. Highland Woodworking admits it’s parafin based in their ad.
    Mineral oil from the pharmacy is sometimes also scented. I Got some that isn’t from Target for $2 for 16 oz ( 948 ml.)

    Another choice is sewing machine oil, which is just light mineral oil . It has been lubricating and protecting fine machines for a century and a half. One advantage of it is you can tell it has been contaminated with moisture when it is no longer clear, but amber. I have a treadle sewing machine from the 1920’s that shows no rust.i did have to clean off the old oil, which had turned to a sort of amber varnish. $1 an oz in oilers or $16 a gallon at my sewing center.

    Some think we should be avoiding skin contact with all petroleum products, which leads to the vegetable group.

    A very popular oil is Jojoba oil, which Lie Nielsen sells now for its planes ( they used to sell ‘ camellia ‘ oil).I find it is considerably cheaper at the health food stores , where it is in the hair and skin products section, usually.. it sticks to metal Well over the long term. It’s downside is that it gets more viscous over time, so after a while you have to wipe it off and start over. I don’t have that problem if I am regularly using the tool.

    And lastly of the oils I have used over the years is chain saw bar oil. It used to be petroleum based, but environmental rules have changed the formulation to a Canola oil based product. Canola is a type of rapeseed ( mustered and Kale family of plants) that has been hybridized to eliminate most of the somewhat toxic erucic acid the natural plant has in it. the USA standard is less than 2% and it’s 5% in the EU. The hybrid was developed in Canada, and the name comes from Canada Oil. It’s the third most popular cooking oil in the World.
    The whole purpose of bar oil is to stick to metal, and it does a good job. But by itself the stuff is too thick for my tastes, so unless I am putting something like a saw in deep storage, I cut it with some ordinary Canola oil I pinch from the kitchen cabinet. You can just use the Canola oil. It’s dirt cheap compared to the others. I also is not drying oil, so self combustion is not an issue. It’s like olive oil that way.

    Speaking of which, that’s what Guarneri oiled his tools with.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 7 months ago by Larry Geib.
    #659473
    Andrew Sinclair
    Participant

    Nice details Larry, thanks!

    You are a bit harsh on the camellia oil I think. Just because some manufacturers/suppliers abuse loopholes in regulation should not tarnish the raw product. Camellia oil can be extracted directly from the seeds of the camellia tree, and this has been done traditionally in Japan and China for centuries. No petroleum products need be involved. A nice photo essay on the process is at

    Make your own Tsubaki oil!

    #660303
    Dave Ring
    Participant

    I use drugstore mineral oil but I wouldn’t hesitate to use sewing machine oil if I could get it cheaply.

    Gun oil would be a good choice if you had it on hand although it’s a bit pricier. It does come in handy little bottles or cans.

    Some guys use baby oil, which is just scented mineral oil but probably not suitable to use as a laxative, in case that’s important to you. You can buy a pint for a buck at any good dollar store.

    As for 3-in-1….if I was a bicycle enthusiast like Paul I suppose I could get used to or even like its smell.

    Dave

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 6 months ago by Dave Ring.
    #660306
    Dave Ring
    Participant

    As for books, I’d recommend Mike Dunbar’s “Restoring, Tuning, and Using Classic Woodworking Tools”.

    Dave

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