Proper maintenance of your aircraft tools is necessary. If tools are used daily you generally will not have any issues. All tools need a light coat of oil to preserve them during storage. There are many environmental elements that can make tools rust.
1. Tools are designed to be used daily. Without daily use you need to take some special care to prepare them for storage. Most builders of Vans RV aircraft need to take preventative action to protect their airplane tools from rust.
2. Clean and wipe down tools with a light coat of oil before putting them away. Keep an oily rag handy for that purpose. A light coat of oil will remove the moisture from your hands and protect the tools during storage. WD-40 is a good preservative for tools.
3. If possible, store tools in a controlled environment. Without temperature control your tools will sweat and rust. If you heat your storage area with a propane or kerosene heater you will cause your tools to rust. Both of these heaters produce water vapor and the cold tools will collect this moisture until the tools reach room temperature. The main prevention of rust on tools is to control humidity.
If your tools do have surface rust clean them as soon as possible. There are several methods of which any will work.
1. Use a Scotchbrite pad to remove surface rust and wipe the tools with a light oily rag. WD-40 would be a good oil to use.
2. Very fine steel wool will remove the rust.
3. For round tools (rivet sets, die sets, etc.) you may want to place them in a drill and polish them with a polishing wheel on a grinder. Use a light buffing compound to make them new again.
4. For flat surface tools (bucking bars, flush rivet sets, back rivet plates, etc.) use fine steel wool to clean the rust.
5. In all cases, wipe and coat with oil. Check them occasionally if not used.
All aircraft tools need to be protected against rust. Here are some:
1. Rivet bucking bars, rivet squeezer yokes, rivet gun springs, rivet gun sets, back rivet sets, countersink bits, rivet squeezer sets and dimple dies need to be wiped with an oily rag.
2. Clecos need to be continuously dry. Keep them in a protective bucket with an air tight lid. Each time you store them spray a little WD-40 in the bucket before closing the lid.
3. Hand tools such as tin snips and deburring tools should be wiped with an oily rag.
4. Unless the tool manual states otherwise, pneumatic tools need to be oiled with a few drops of oil at the end of the work shift. Also, wipe the outside surface of unpainted tools with an oily rag before storage.
A small amount of maintenance will keep your tools in great condition so the next time you use them they will be free from rust.