Hand Tools Archive

Re: Oils
Response To:
Oil ()

david weaver
Not sure where anyone would get sperm oil at this point, obviously the norton honing oil is fine.

I haven't ever gotten nondescript honing oil, but have purchased food service light mineral oil made for machines. All of the mineral oils (be it dan's honing, vs. norton honing, vs. the good quality light mineral oils used for food service) have a slightly different feel. The norton oil has a slightly dry feel, the dan's oil stinks and feels slightly dry, and the food service oil is a bit more slick.

It looks like the stability of sperm oil and its wide temperature range compared to cheaper oils made it useful until about 1970s for fine machines and watches, but it was replaced by refined jojoba oil around then, which appears to be better at the things that sperm oil is better than light mineral oil at, if that makes sense (more stable in heat than sperm oil, and overall slightly superior).

Anyway, I've had good luck with the more highly refined very light oil that's made for food service, but never used anything heavier (like baby oil). Having used norton's oil and the food service, I'd not purchase norton's oil if a good quality food service oil is available (gallon is the same price of a pint of nortons, and there are plenty of other uses for the rest of the gallon, like beeswax salves, etc), but I wouldn't use baby oil, either, nor would I buy a gallon of medium or equine oil without knowing what it is.

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