Workshop Chemicals

Discussion in 'Back to Basics' started by Airtime, May 3, 2015.

  1. Airtime

    Airtime Monkey+++

    Over the last few months we've had a few discussions on welding, metal working and recently auto repair. Along those lines, how about chemicals that one likes to keep on hand. Here are some of the items consistently found in my shop:

    High priority chemicals *

    * LPS 2 - it's a good quality lubricant and protectant, far superior to the crap called WD40.

    LPS 3 - this sprays on with a consistency similar to motor oil but there are light weight solvents that evaporate leaving a waxy coating that will lubricate but more importantly protects. It is similar to cosmolene but less offensive.

    * Liquid Wrench - tests I have seen several times including Machinest Workshop show it to be very good penetrating and breaking rusted items loose. Kano Kroil often performs a shade better but LW is cheaper. PB Blaster isn't close and WD is well behind Blaster.

    * Dri-Slide - I have been a fan for 40 years. It is similar to a graphite spray but employs molybdenum disulfide instead of graphite and has about the lowest coefficient of friction of any lubricant. Fabulous dry film lubricant. I use the smaller bottles/cans with application needle and also the aerosol spray.

    * Silicone spray - no particular brand, good for things like tent poles and things you don't want dirty or oily.

    * Brake cleaner - Buy what ever brand is cheapest as they all are basically the same. It is critical when working around brakes but is a good general purpose cleaner and degreaser.

    Graphite dry lube - it is an inferior substitute for Dri-slide but easier to find. Use this for less critical things as it's cheaper but no need to get this if you have Dri-slide.

    WD 40 - I do buy this sometimes only on sale in spray cans. There are far far superior penetrants, lubricants and protectants (it really sucks at that) but using it as a cleaner or engine starting fluid is what it is mostly good for (and about all it's good for). Do NOT use it in fine mechanisms like locks as it will dry to a sticky yellow residue that gums up the works.

    * Starting Fluid - basically it is ether and sometimes a hydrocarbon like heptane or hexane. It is helpful getting an engine to fire in cold weather, after a fuel system repair or when using old gas which wasn't stored sealed and consequently the more volatile components (which help starting) have evaporated. Generally the cheapest is just fine as most brands have the same or similar primary ingredients. Beware using it on a diesel with glow plugs, they can sometimes light off the starting fluid.

    * Lubriplate white lithium grease - its a good lubricant and also good to improve corrosion resistance and vibration capability (as much as 10x for some designs) of electrical connectors. Do NOT grease O2 sensor connectors on vehicles; they get reference oxygen through the wires and connectors. This is a good lubricant for many machine parts, guns, cables (like brake and throttle cables) etc. A squeeze tube or can is good but it also comes in a spray version such as CRC brand's that can be quite handy.

    * HP lithium molybdenum disulfide grease - this in grease gun cartridges is super for ball joints, universal joints and about anything on a vehicle or equipment with a grease zert. Costs more than conventional grease but well worth it.

    * High temperature moly-disulfide anti-seize compound - use on head bolts, exhaust manifolds, etc. Heck, put it on the treads of any fastener you fear may rust, seize, corrode, etc. and might become a problem for a future repair, especially bolts going in holes threaded in aluminum. A small pint size can will last for years.

    * Threadlock - I use Locktite and Permatex brands with good results. Generally I use the blue stuff that is not permanent but keeps things together well.

    * Beer - tastes better than carb cleaner. The work shop is the man cave, it has to have some adult beverages.

    * Carburetor Cleaner - I have tried several brands, haven't noticed much difference in cleaning a carb with dried fuel residue, they all seemed to work ok. Do look for one the states it is good for dissolving carbon deposits, it can be critical for changing Ford spark plugs.

    * Spray paint - I keep a handful of cans on hand all the time, usually Rust-o-leum or similar protective paint mostly in semi gloss black but also a can or two of primer, red, white and John Deere green. When welding, fabricating or repairing equipment, bare metal will be left exposed. I like, at the least, to shoot a coat or two of rust protecting paint on those items.

    Battery terminal spray - helps protect vehicle battery terminals from corroding up as much.

    Baking soda - excellent to mix with a little water for a paste to clean corrosion from battery terminals.

    Tap Magic - great for treading holes, drilling in extra hard materials. Automatic transmission fluid or LPS 2 generally can suffice as a substitute in a pinch.

    Cutting fluid - only if you have a mill, lathe or band saw which uses coolant/cutting fluid. It improves cutting bits and blade life and often improves the quality of the machining operation.

    Buffing compound - a buffing wheel can be handy but certainly not needed for most shop work. There are different grit compounds that are used to polish things. If you are into buffing, you'll know what you need.

    * Gun cleaner and lube - this can open a whole discussion thread as there is much debate as to the best. I'll just leave it at gun cleaner and gun lube.

    * Go-Jo hand cleaner - The gallon jugs with the pump dispenser are easiest to use. Works pretty good. Goop is good and has more lanolin in it that helps preserve your hands a bit more. But the orange Go-Jo has pumice which cleans a shade better. Permatex has a decent hand cleaner too. Keep a smaller squirt bottle in the tool box you carry in the car or truck.

    Melaleuca antibacterial liquid soap - the Melaleuca company is one of those multi-level marketing outfits like Amway, Mary-K, etc. Had a friend that was big on that. The products were fine, nothing special and over priced. However, this liquid soap was the only soap I have ever used that had any efficacy at removing much of the smell of gasoline from my hands. Bought 8-10 bottles years ago and save/use them only when I need to get the gas smell off after using the Go-Jo or Goop hand cleaner.

    Contact/electronics cleaner - used for cleaning electrical contacts in switches and relays. It is good on potentiometers that are getting a bit dirty or noisy. Its getting a little harder to find compared to the days when it was a mainstay in the TV repair shop, TVs had tubes and their tuners had contacts.

    * Fluxes - flux is a chemical used to clean and sometimes to shield in soldering, brazing and welding. For soldering, I usually have a can of acid and one of rosin flux (for electrical joints). I have a couple different fluxes for brazing and one for welding. If you get into brazing or welding, you'll learn about these.

    * Forma-gasket or RTV silicon sealant - used for sealing parts being mated together that could leak without a seal. Often used in place of a gasket and some engine or transmission designs actually specify this.

    Silicon caulk/sealer - handy for a host of repairs around the house, farm and vehicles. Shelf life after opening is generally poor so smaller size tubes or packages may actually be more economical in the long run.

    Glues and adhesives - there are several I use and like.

    * Titebond white glue - there was an article in Fine Woodworking maybe 4-6 years ago testing various wood glues and Titebond blew the rest away, including the fancy polyurethane glues like Gorilla glue.

    Super glue - very handy. Lots of small tubes are certainly better than few larger sizes unless you use it extensively like building model planes etc.

    * Contact cement - good for rubber, leather, etc. repairing shoes, boots, etc.

    * JB Weld - very good for building back up broken plastic or low load metal parts. A similar product is an epoxy called PC-7. JB sticks to many things and can be shaped and molded then machined, sanded, drilled, etc. when cured.

    3M spray adhesive - there are several brands but the 3M version seems to be a bit more aggressive. The solvent in this will generally dissolve foam rubber making it not so good for things like headliners. But there is a foam friendly version, I don't remember the specifics.

    Kerosene - this is a pretty good and economical parts cleaner. I use it in my parts cleaner tank as it doesn't smell too bad and the flash point is higher than some other cleaners making it safer to use. There are some water based degreaser/cleaners but the one I tried years ago sucked so I reverted back to kerosene, maybe there are better options now.

    For the vehicles:

    Oils and lubes - it is probably wise to have enough oil and fluids on hand to change vehicle oil a couple times and refill the transmission, power steering, differential, transfer case, axles, etc. and brake system at least once should you get a leak. In fact it is wise to keep a small container of a couple of these (brake fluid, ATF and engine oil) in a vehicle at all times to "get home."

    Antifreeze - shop and stock when it's on sale. Lasts about forever on the shelf.

    I didn't even start into woodworking chemicals beyond wood glue which is a topic in and of itself. I am sure others will have some good suggestions to add or differing opinions. Looking forward to those.

  2. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Apple cider vinegar, for removing rust.
    That super glue is also a fire starter when applied to cotton balls. (Chemical reaction).
    Lye, for soaps or other reactions such as making hydrogen gas with the aide of aluminum.
    Lemon juice, both as a flavoring and as a cleaning agent when mixed with baking soda. (Gentle clean for water bottles and hydration packs, with a fresh clean taste.).
    Mike likes this.
  3. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Formula 409
    Murphy's oil soap
  4. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    I get Murphys... Why 409? Just curious..
  5. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Because the world is not ready for formula 410....
    Tully Mars likes this.
  6. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    Lol ok and I was hoping for an example of how you use 409....
  7. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey

    WD 40 is basically a water dispersant and short term lubricant hence the WD.

    Anytime we are in for some freezing rain I spray all metal surfaces on my gates, locks and hinges, this also means the chains on the gates. Sure a hammer will break the ice free but better still if you can do it with gloved hand.

    Ain't nothing worse than needing to get through a gate and have it froze shut.
    Tully Mars and Ganado like this.
  8. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey

    Tully Mars and ghrit like this.
  9. Dont

    Dont Just another old gray Jarhead Monkey Site Supporter+++

    Works good on camed tire chains..
    Tully Mars and HK_User like this.
  10. Tully Mars

    Tully Mars Metal weldin' monkey

    I use starting fluid for cleaning Aluminum prior to welding. I use a SS brush to scrub. It works great. I've used it on cracked alum castings. I gently preheat the part, then spray and scrub and respray. I also use kerosene when machining and drilling/tapping aluminum, again it works well.
    Altoidfishfins, kellory and Airtime like this.
  11. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Kero is THE lube for machining aluminum. Diesel works too, just not quite as well, gotta go a bit slower.
    Cruisin Sloth and Tully Mars like this.
  12. KAS

    KAS Monkey++

    i like wd40 for cleaning my hand ....
    and its good to keep around cause everyone { and thinks its good }knows what it is so they will take that and not your good stuff...
    I like knocker loose
    pipe dope
    all the thread sealents for bolts, pipe , air ,hyd,
    copper slip anti seize
    solvent for the parts cleaner
    3 in one oil
    chains oil for the 4 wheelers
    air tool oil
    splash zone
    111 greace for orings
    If you have your own SCBA and compressor you need montaletic oil
    brake cleaner is always a favorite!!!! but doesnt last to long
    Tully Mars and Airtime like this.
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