Several months ago, an acquaintance of mine asked if I'd ever heard of Boeshield T9. He spends a lot of time sailing, and told me that T9 was highly respected by sailors for keeping steel components rust-free in salt water environments. Knowing that I review axes, he suggested that it might be good for protecting them as well. Intrigued, I went online and did a little research.
As it turns out, Boeshield was originally developed by Boeing Airlines to protect jet engine components from rust under extreme conditions. Eventually, it was released to the consumer market, where the marine industry found it to be superior in protecting steel components from salt-water corrosion.
It also found its way into the hands of wood workers and gun enthusiasts, who used it as a lubricant and protectant to keep carbon steel tools and firearms rust-free. Check out Wood Magazine's "Rust Busters" article to see a good test of Boeshield T9.
In our "Rub Candle Wax on your Axes and Machetes" article, we discussed the highly effective practice of using candle wax to protect your bushcraft tools. What makes Boeshield so effective is that it's a paraffin wax-based lubricant, so it functions in much the same way as candle wax yet penetrates deeper and more effectively.
I've tried just about every axe protectant I could think of, including motor oil, gun oil, mineral oil, pretroleum jelly, various types of automotive grease, etc. All of these will rapidly rub off of your axe head and onto the things in and around your backpack - no fun.
Once Boeshield has fully dried (usually in 4-8 hours during warmer months, 1-2 days during winter), it leaves a durable, waxy finish that won't easily easily rub off inside your pack. T9 comes standard in a 4 ounce spray can, but it also comes in a more packable 1 ounce squeeze bottle, which is a nice, lightweight option to have on longer treks.
I've been using T9 on all of my axes and machetes over the last two months, and it's simply the best lube/protectant I've ever tried. Zero problems with rust, and I don't have to worry now when I throw an axe in my trunk that everything in it's vicinity will get covered in oil or grease. Based on my experience, T9 does appear to be the ultimate protectant for axes and machetes.
5 out of 5 stars (Highly Recommended)
About the author
Jason Schwartz is the founder and senior editor of Rocky Mountain Bushcraft. He is a former Red Cross certified Wilderness & Remote First Aid Instructor, and has taught bushcraft and wilderness survival techniques to the Boy Scouts of America, interned with the US Forest Service, and studied wilderness survival, forestry and wildland firefighting at Colorado Mountain College in Leadville, Colorado. Jason has also written for magazines such as The New Pioneer and Backpacker, including writing the "Tinder Finder" portion of Backpacker's "Complete Guide to Fire," which won a 2015 National Magazine Award (NMA). Email him at rockymountainbushcraft @ hotmail.com (without spaces)