A boxwood oil marker

One of my favorite blogs is written by Stephen Shepherd.  It is called Full Chisel.  If you don't follow this blog, stop reading my meager offerings right now and click over to his site.  Worth its weight in gold.

Anyway, a few weeks back, Mr. Shepherd mentioned a recent Lee Valley purchase he had made.  He bought a few lovely little boxwood storage tubes and a nice chunk of slate.  I too enjoy the soft sheen of boxwood, so I immediately ordered a few tubes and the slate.  I had an idea of what I wanted to do with the slate, but the tubes were bought with no clear intention.  Looking at them shortly after they arrived, I had an idea...

I like to oil my tools in use.  This helps prevent rust and makes them work so smoothly.  I also use paraffin wax for this, but lately I've been using the traditional lubricant, linseed oil.  I don't like to leave oily rags laying about in my shop.  Not only do you have the risk of fire, but the oil attracts dust and dirt, which is then wiped all over your tools the next time you use the rag. So it isn't for me.  But I would like a nice marker with which to spread the oil.

I found a chunk of wool fabric (thanks to my wife's obsession with hoarding fabric).  I cut a small chunk then rolled that chunk inside of some serran wrap.  This will help keep the boxwood from absorbing the oil.

Then, shove the chunk of wool / Serran wrap into the half of the tube with the threads. Then load the wool with as much oil as it will absorb.  You're done.

This is a very handy little tool for putting a small amount of oil on my saw blades and the soles of my planes.  This makes using the tools very, very simple.  You should close up the tube after use. This will help prevent the oil from drying and will stop the dust from getting on the wool.

As for the slate... just wait and see. For now, just understand that I've discovered an excellent fine sharpening stone for $4...


  1. Excellent use of the boxwood tube! I've been meaning to make an oil applicator for a while now and just never got around to it.

    But I can buy from Lee Valley like no one else. :)

    1. It works really well, and it takes about 15 seconds to make. Although, if you include the shipping time from Canada, its closer to a week... :)

    2. I hit GO on the stopwatch a few hours ago. Let's see how long it takes. :)

      I have some nice bits of scrap wool lying about, so that's not an issue. The question then becomes one of, "Which tartan do I use?"

      Fortunately, I have about 5 days to think about it.

  2. Hi Zach,

    Good idea! I use an oiler that I made and describe here:

    I found that lining the inside of each component with a coat of 5-minute epoxy prevents any oil from bleeding through the wood.


  3. This one is truly helpful. It would help you keep from using oil more than what is necessary. It's not foreign to me that putting small amount of oil on tools can get out of hand. Glad you discovered a way that is more efficient! Keep the habit of lubricating your tools and rust will never be your problem.

  4. Oiling is essential for different tools. In such a way you extend their operation period. It is a good motivation to use one's personal tools. Thanks for sharing!