I bought a forest axe and its manufacturer says to oil the axe head before storing to prevent rusting.
What type of oil should I use?

2 Answers 2


I've always either used 3-in-1 oil or the gun oil, the kind used for cleaning and caring for firearms. These both have always worked fine for me for years and years of use.

Usually I just wipe a small coating of the oil on with a shop rag before leaving it for a while. Make sure it's clean and dry before applying the oil.

EDIT: AFAIK the type of oil or ingredients shouldn't make too much of a difference. As mentioned in another answer, the oil is there to repel water (which causes rust and ruins the blade) and protect against dirt. So any type of basic household oil should work fine.

  • Since I live in europe, is there an equivalent to gun oil (general ingredient)
    – HTDutchy
    Commented Feb 3, 2014 at 16:22
  • @HTDutchy I revised my answer to (hopefully) answer your question better :)
    – Blackbear
    Commented Feb 3, 2014 at 18:25
  • 1
    3-in-1 oil will work well in most cases. Since you are in Europe, the other concern may be cold. Many oils lose much of their protective qualities in cold. Boeshield T-9 is a good product in that case. boeshield.com Commented Feb 3, 2014 at 20:31
  • 1
    +1 for "type of oil doesn't matter". I have relatives who use linseed oil, peanut oil, beeswax (on both axe handle and head), petroleum jelly, all sorts. Commented Aug 6, 2014 at 1:42

After some googling I found a very nice guide to axe maintenance here: http://woodtrekker.blogspot.nl/2011/04/beginners-guide-to-basic-axe-care-and.html

The head of the axe is the easier part to protect. As with all carbon steel objects, the enemy here is moisture. If the head gets wet, it will start to rust. All that is required to protect it is to put a light coat of Vaseline on it and wipe it off. I find that the Vaseline is great at getting into all of the pores, and has good staying power. I have not found the need for any further treatment. The paint that you find on most axe heads is there to protect the metal from moisture. The more exposed metal you have, the more careful you will have to be.

This blog states all you need to care for an axe is olive oil, a bees wax candle and some vaseline.
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