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To keep rust off your tools, the best way is to keep the relative humidity in your shop below 55%. Keeping the Dew Point of the air in your shop from ever coming close to 90%+. Dew point is the temperature at which the moisture content in the air from condensing on surfaces, like moisture collects on a cold drink glass. It will collect on metal surfaces in your shop if the tools are colder than the air temperature around it too. I control the heat/humidity in my shop by running a heat pump to keep my shop air temperature above freezing and remove excess humidity at the same time. It provides both heating and cooling, and at about 72 deg F it keeps the humidity at about 55%.

It would be good to learn more about dew point and what it means to better understand how to control rusting in your shop. Keeping the shop air/humidity combination well above it's dew point will do wonders for rust prevention. As air is cooled it can no longer hold as much moisture as it could when warm. When the critical temperature is reached and the air can no longer hold this much moisture, the moisture in it begins to collect on surfaces around it forming dew (dewpoint), drops of water, which then causes the ferrous metal to rust.

This makes a big difference, but I also keep Johnson's Paste Wax on all of my tool surfaces. But I do this more for lubrication of the surface than for rust prevention. It does help keep the moisture in the air from reaching the metal to reduce rusting, but surface lubrication is important too. I even use this wax, applied thick with an old tooth brush to the ways and gears of my saws and machines to lubricate them. The wax quickly develops a hard surface coating, so saw dust doesn't readily stick to it like petroleum lubricants, and it does a fine job for this use. I usually use a Teflon lubricant for other bearing and pivot surfaces in the tools.

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