Other oils to protect steel
December 28, 2012 9:37 AM   Subscribe

I play an Array Mbira. The tines are made of spring steel. I have sweaty hands, so the tines tend to rust unless I coat them with oil. The folks who make the instrument recommend 3-In-One Oil, which is what I've been using. Does it contain anything toxic? Are there other oils I could use to protect the tines?

The tines have a blue coating but that doesn't stop the rust. The coating has worn off on the tips where I play the instrument.

I occasionally play 12 string guitar as well, but I don't see any rust on the strings.
posted by gray17 to Grab Bag (7 answers total)
3-in-One MSDS

Summary: not toxic for skin contact, will cause irritation if you get it in your eyes, don't drink it or get it in your lungs. The strong smell is from citronella, not some horrible poison.

If you find the smell annoying (I do), or if you develop skin irritation, switch to a food grade light machine oil.
posted by ryanrs at 9:48 AM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

Mineral oil / baby oil should also work fine.
posted by ryanrs at 9:53 AM on December 28, 2012

I keep a cloth with a bit of mineral oil in it to treat my guitar strings each time I play to reduce corrosion. I buy the mineral oil at the hardware store. It is food-grade. I also use it to condition my cutting boards and wooden kitchen implements. I think 3-In-One is a bit heavy for your purposes since it is designed to reduce friction in metal parts of machinery.
posted by partner at 10:11 AM on December 28, 2012

If you use something like boiled linseed oil (edible!) it might make a more permanent, more protective coat. Or castor oil (medicinal!), which has historically been used in racing internal-combustion engines so possibly has excellent protective qualities.
posted by anadem at 10:36 AM on December 28, 2012

Have you tried a string cleaner like this one? I play mandolin and it keeps my strings slippy -- probably not as much as oil, but it's noticeable, and keeps the strings from corroding.
posted by fiercecupcake at 11:02 AM on December 28, 2012

Most boiled linseed oil contains metallic catalysts and is not edible. Also, I would hesitate to use it on a musical instrument because the cured film may affect the tone.
posted by ryanrs at 5:21 PM on December 28, 2012

I use Boeshield on my cast tool surfaces. It leaves more of a waxy coating than an oily coating. The suspension solvent is mineral spirits (odourless) but evaporates quickly.

The coating doesn't transfer the way mineral oil does.
posted by Mitheral at 6:39 PM on December 28, 2012

« Older UK Remixes   |   Should I accept a gift of bitcoins? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.