cleaning off pine sap from tools
Welcome! / Forums / General Woodworking Discussions / Tools and Tool Maintenance/Restoration / cleaning off pine sap from tools
- This topic has 9 replies, 8 voices, and was last updated 5 years ago by Ed.
I’ve been planing some rough pine down to size all weekend and now have quite a lot of sap/pitch build up on my planes. Particularly on the chip breaker and flat side of the plane blade. How do you clean this stuff off? I’ve tried using my strop but that just makes a green gooey mess.
In the USA, there is a cleaner called “Simple Green” which comes in either concentrated form or pre-mixed in a spray bottle. Most people use it to clean kitchen counters, etc. It works well for pitch removal. Spray, allow to soak a moment or two and scrub with a brush (nail brush or tooth brush is good). Lather, rinse and repeat. Since it is water based, you will need to dry well and re-oil the metal to stop rust.
For really troublesome stuff, get some citric acid powder (home canning supplies), mix a saturated solution and soak parts, checking frequently and giving a little scrub. Dry and oil. Same stuff works well to remove rust. Vinegar works too. But this can sometimes leave the metal looking dark. The citric acid or vinegar can be sent down the drain followed by plenty of water. Won’t harm the traps.
No serious problems using these things with the windows closed other than perhaps some lingering smell of vinegar. Likewise, a little splash on the fingers isn’t (probably) going to grow you a third eye.
Simple green should work, otherwise turpentine is the solvent that is derived from pine trees, so that should work well too. As should mineral spirits, I think it is called white spirit in the UK. Turpentine and the latter solvents aren’t as nice and aren’t water based, so the disposal is more involved and the odor is worse. You can get highly refined odorless mineral spirits, but beware of imitators.18 March 2013 at 3:29 pm #9515
Turpentine definitely works. Smell is a problem.1 March 2018 at 6:13 pm #487732
Hot water and a rag works pretty good!!
I ran into this problem today after ripping a particularly sappy pine board, my handsaw got real clogged up and I wasn’t being able to remove the goop with a rag and 3in1 oil that is what I usually clean my saw with, so I tried a couple ideas from the internet.. kitchen oil: doesn’t work, alcohol: kinda works but leaves your saw looking nasty! last I tried hot water just from the tap and it worked like a charm you gotta get in there a little with your rag but it was just great! all the sap came off real fast and didn’t have to use any chemicals, then again the sap wasn’t dry, I don’t know if it would work on really dry stuff..1 March 2018 at 10:52 pm #487917
A soak in ammonia for maybe 5-10 minutes followed by a scotch bright pad also works. remove the totes, and do it in a closed container, like a 5 gal. Bucket with lid.
Super for saw blades, too.2 March 2018 at 10:00 am #488167
Just a little correction on my post about using hot water(cant figure out how to edit it):
I’m not sure if what was getting on my Saw was sap or resin, the pine wood has been drying for years so I don’t know if that could be sap, so I don’t know if that would make a difference on the cleaning process, I don’t think it would hurt to try hot water though 🙂 (and make sure to dry and oil the tool after)
I think I’ve used mineral spirits (paint thinner) for this, which is a little less odorous vs. turpentine. Honestly, I don’t feel odor is an issue: You don’t need to do this often, so just put on appropriate gloves, go outdoors, clean the tools, and that’s it. I’d rather use a smaller amount of the appropriate solvent properly than fuss with something else longer, perhaps resorting to gunking up scrubbers, etc., and having more solvent soaked rags to deal with. If I had turps on hand, that’s probably what I’d reach for first.
Whatever you use, I’d give a thorough wipe with oil when done, whether 3-in-1, camelia, or your other favorite, while the tool is disassembled.
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.