Monsoon Maintenance

Monsoons at Last!
Monsoons have arrived at long last over north India. It poured a few days ago and I could not help dancing in the lawn. In virtually an instant the earth cooled as did the interior of our brick and cement house. The accumulated heat of the past three months slipped away and became a memory. 

The next few months will be humid, even oppressive at times, but I can finally re-enter my workshop. Before, I take up any new project there is something that needs to be addressed on an urgent basis: Monsoon Maintenance.

This is the time to take out all hand tools, especially chisels, planes, saws, punches and everything else made of steel, and oil them. I use WD-40 which I find is long lasting and non-sticky. Previously, we would use the time tested 2-in-one oil as anti-rust as well as a lubricant. If neither is available even Mustard Oil will do as long as one can tolerate the smell. The first existing traces of rust would be rubbed off with a 120 or higher grit sandpaper; for a better feeling those who possess a Dremel machine could buff the chisels with a felt pad.

Chisel Maintenance

Power tools accessories could also do with a bit of maintenance especially circular saw blades, router bits, jigsaw blades and so on. These should not be doused with WD-40 or oil because then saw dust and shavings would stick to them and make a mess. Just spray a bit of WD-40 on a piece of cloth and rub the accessories with it. 

It is best not to spray anything into your power tools especially their motors. However, router plunge shafts could be cleaned and lightly lubricated. The base plates of circular saws and so on could be lightly coated as well. Whatever you do, do not use Silicon spray for rust protection. Silicon is a good anti-rust and lubricating agent but interferes with paint and polish.

This is also the time to close all windows and ensure that no rain or damp gets to the tools. This might also be a good time to sharpen your chisels and plane irons. I also spray a little WD-40 into my hardware containers to prevent nails and screws from rusting.

I also use this time to wipe a coat or two of wood finish on my windows and caulk the seams with clear silicone. This is a preventive against damp and airing every room for a few hours every day is also good practice. This way your home hardware and tools will remain good and rust free for years.

Meanwhile, I have sharpened my handy No 4 plane and will spend the next couple of weeks planing some teak boards I joined during the hot months.

Indranil Banerjie
11 July 2012


  1. Congrats on the Monsoon!! We have been having storms and heavy rails last couple of days. It has been almost like Delhi here. 42 degree centigrade and now heavy rains.

    I see some interesting pieces of old wood in the back ground in the third pic.
    What is it??

  2. You do have a sharp eye, I see! Yes, it is some great mahogany I recovered after dismantling a couple of old beds. They were covered with plain plywood but the frame was good stuff. Plan to use them for a worthwhile project later on.Forty Two in the States! That must really be something.

  3. WD40 is a great stuff... I had so much difficulty in procuring it in NCR. 99.9% of the traders haven't heard of it. It's surprising as it's not a newly launched stuff. They do have stuff like Zorrik88 and all but not WD40.

  4. I am surprised that you have not found WD40 in the NCR. In fact, I found it at a small hardware store in Khan Market even before I had read about it. They recommended it over Zorrik, which is actually a very similar product. Several shops near Delhi's Chawri Bazar Metro Station stock it. I cannot agree more with you about its amazing properties - very useful around the house as well with locks, hinges after the Monsoons.


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