Firearm & Gun Forum - FireArmsTalk.com > Gunsmithing & Do-It-Yourself Projects > DIY Projects > Rust Protection: Fluid Film vs. XF7 vs. WD-40

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Old 02-06-2011, 02:13 AM   #1
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Default Rust Protection: Fluid Film vs. XF7 vs. WD-40

I think we have all tried various types of cleaners and protectants on our firearms and anything else made of metal that we wanted to protect before storing it away or between uses.

So, why not put some of the common ones up against one another in an escalated test to see what holds mustard and what is just a plain bad idea?

Here’s the set up and the test. I have (4) identical knives here. They are the Mora #840 MG Clipper and it’s a very popular, low cost, high carbon steel blade with the bushcraft and outdoor types. Some of you might recognize them from last year’s Bushcraft Class that kind of died on the vine.

Now according to the Sir Francis Drake High School, you will need approximately 35 grams of sea salt per liter of water or approximately 4 oz. of sea salt per gallon of water to make average density sea water. Since none of us want to go burying our weapons in a salt water aquarium, this seems like a great base for a test. Except we don’t do anything with minimum “this” or “average” that here at FTF, we go to a bit more of the extreme. Because what fun is hedging your bets when you want to know what the REAL results would be?

So here I have (4) buckets from a commonly known “do it yourself” store that I acquired. They hold 5 gallons of water and I got this here 40 pound bag of salt. I am thinking about filling each bucket with; let’s say 4 gallons of normal tap water and five times the recommended amount of salt to make standard sea water. That’s 80 ounces of salt in 4 gallons of water just to make things interesting.

Then I am going to take these four knives and coat 3 of them with common protectants and leave one as an untreated control. WD-40, Fluid Film and XF-7 will be sprayed / applied on a white rag and I will wipe each application on one blade and then submerge that knife with its new “armor” in the buckets of high density saltwater and keep a weekly or monthly journal for awhile.

So, here you can see the (4) buckets. Each one was filled with tap water and I dumped in 80 ounces of rock salt. Because of a need for fairness I had to make two revisions to my initial plan.

Revision One: The salt takes awhile to dissolve, but I wanted to get these tests rolling, so I improvised a large wooden “spoon” to attach to the end of my Dewalt drill. To keep things fair, the same spoon was used in each bucket, but it was wiped off with a common house towel between applications. Yeah, there could be cross contamination, but do you really want that to be your first post on this subject? So, each bucket got a solid 3 minutes of swirling and twirling to get the salt mixed with the water. May not sound like a lot, but you stand there in 31 degree weather watching a wrist watch for three minutes while you spin water and salt together... LOL

So now all the buckets had the same “mix” time. These pictures are taken one hour after the mixing and you can see each bucket is clearly labeled with product and date to keep things on the up and up. That should be good enough for store bought testing.

Revision Two: These Mora knives don’t float. I was under the impression they did, and I know that some versions do float, these however do not. So, I can’t have all four knives at the bottom, sitting in rock salt because what if one landed on it’s side and one landed on it’s spine and I could just hear the interwebz arm chair testers crying foul, so I made a simple little suspension device to keep all four knives floating in the salt water substance.

As you can see here, this is some classic engineering that involved some popular sandwich bags and some Gorilla tape. It has been said that few problems in this world can not be solved with an adequate application of duct tape or C4. I prefer Gorilla tape, but the same thought process applies.

Day one: All four knives are floating in their new home. Each has been treated with as best as I can estimate an equal amount of the substance that will be protecting them except for the plain control model.

Covered them up, put them in the corner and will check them in a day or so and document with date stamps for those following at home.

Let’s see who protects and who falls short.
salt-water-testing-002.jpg   salt-water-testing-003.jpg   salt-water-testing-007.jpg   salt-water-testing-009.jpg  
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Old 02-06-2011, 02:16 AM   #2
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Here are the products, in case you were not familar with them....

salt-water-testing-010.jpg   salt-water-testing-014.jpg   salt-water-testing-015.jpg   salt-water-testing-016.jpg   salt-water-testing-022.jpg  

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Old 02-06-2011, 02:27 AM   #3
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So, here are some pictures from 8 days into the test. I would have got them on Day 7 of the test, but it just didn’t happen.

As you can see, I have another knife that hasn’t had any testing done, is fresh from its sheath and just out of the box. This knife will be pictured with each test knife for the duration so you can all see just how far each knife has come when subjected to salt water.

Second picture: The control knife with no protectant has shown quite a change in color on one side, but the real story was on the opposite side of the knife. Notice the dark rust colorations that have attached itself to the blade and how prominent they are after just 8 days? Needless to say this is a clear case of why we must clean and protect before we store away for any reason.

Next up was Fluid Film. This knife BY FAR is doing the best after the 8 day soaking. The knife shows limited signs of coloring or affect to the salt water. The Fluid Film is a spray and it would appear that some of it has formed in sort of a bubble shaped mound at a couple of points on the blade. I assure you that this is just what happened and there are no additives or anything additional to the spray to cause this condition other than what came straight from the can. The protection factor thus far has been great and the knife shows practically no exposure issues.

XF-7: Holy hell was this stuff a surprise, and not for the good. Parts of the blade are black, rust is evident already and this is a product that is more of a petroleum based jelly that was wiped on in a car wax, circular format, allowed to dry and then placed in the solution of salt and water. In my mind, I saw this one being the easy winner because of the thickness of the solution. It’s not a spray; it is much thicker, so it would protect much better. Even so, I applied a nice thin and even coating that did not load up anywhere, as is obvious by the results. This is going to be interesting to see what develops in a month.

WD-40: This one was the easy one for me as I have seen the effects of weapons that were coated with this product are subjected to a standard hunting season before and the results were not impressive. The product is just not designed to guard against rust and corrosion. It may work fine on squeaks and bicycle chains; it just isn’t a good protectant for your fine firearms and knives. Notice the amount of rust and the start of the discoloring on the blade? Took my fingernail to some of the rust and it didn’t brush off friends, in fact it felt more like a crust that wasn’t going anywhere.

So on my scale thus far I would have to say Fluid Film is running first and everyone else is a very, VERY distant second. If the results continue next week, I am thinking of adding a little extra to the XF-7 and the WD-40 to give them more of a fighting chance. Because at this rate it looks like a single sided beatdown of epic proportions in the making.

More to follow...
salt-water-testing-025.jpg   salt-water-testing-032.jpg   salt-water-testing-035.jpg   salt-water-testing-036.jpg   salt-water-testing-040.jpg  

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Old 02-06-2011, 02:43 AM   #4
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And continued.....

First picture is the backside of the XF-7 knife

salt-water-testing-041.jpg   salt-water-testing-043.jpg   salt-water-testing-045.jpg   salt-water-testing-046.jpg   salt-water-testing-056.jpg  

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Old 02-06-2011, 02:48 AM   #5
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Here are at 36 days in, which is just a hair over 5 weeks. Looks bad!

saltwater-testing-001.jpg   saltwater-testing-002.jpg   saltwater-testing-003.jpg   saltwater-testing-004.jpg   saltwater-testing-005.jpg  

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Old 02-06-2011, 02:51 AM   #6
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And some more of the shots from day 36....

saltwater-testing-006.jpg   saltwater-testing-007.jpg   saltwater-testing-008.jpg   saltwater-testing-009.jpg   saltwater-testing-010.jpg  

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Old 02-06-2011, 02:54 AM   #7
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And the final shots from day 36 of the test.

Which product would you use??

saltwater-testing-011.jpg   saltwater-testing-012.jpg   saltwater-testing-013.jpg   saltwater-testing-014.jpg  
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Old 02-06-2011, 04:08 AM   #8
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Great testing. That took some time and effort. Much appreciated. Looks like Fluid Film is the way to go.

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Old 02-06-2011, 04:10 AM   #9
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Holy crap!!

The pitting on that one was AWFUL!!

Was there any agitation to the buckets after the knives went in?

I think I've found my long term storage solution....

Does this stuff clean off easily after sitting that long?

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Old 02-06-2011, 04:46 AM   #10
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Thanks for the test JD. I'm impressed with the Fluid Film.

Do we have a vendor here that sells it?

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