I often work on rusty kit -so I always ensure my tetanus vaccination is always up to date, and I have penetrating oil on hand to help free rusted parts.
If the requirement is small or time sensitive I will generally use a commercial product. The ones I make sure to keep on hand are lanolin (wool grease) based – because they are not only good penetrating oils, but because the lanolin is an excellent way to protect metal against rust without establishing a gummy surface that would require a lot of clean-up before the tool can be used.
But when I have bigger projects that require a lot of penetrating oil – such as the corn binder that I am rebuilding for sweet sorghum harvesting – I turn to homemade penetrating oil which costs a fraction of the commercial products, and while it may not work quite as quickly that price advantage is considerable.
Quite simply you want to use a light oil – that can be diesel – which I’ve used very successfully to free up stuck engines or a mix of a heavier oil – such as an engine or transmission oil – and a light solvent such as acetone, paint thinner or my favorite naphtha – also known as white gas or Coleman fuel. All will work just fine but I keep naphtha on hand for my camping stoves and find that it doesn’t have the odor that acetone does. Generally I add between 10 and 20 percent solvent to the oil depending upon the starting weight of the oil and how much I slop in (accuracy isn’t very important here in my experience). Mix the two in a container and then use a regular oil can to dispense them. Easy as can be and priced right.
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