I currently have my bicycle tools stored as pictured, making use of what I had lying around.

I'm just wondering is there a risk of damage, such as galvanic corrosion where the tool and screws contact? Screws are just a mixture from the miscellaneous box.

I couldn't find advice on best practice online, besides purchasing expensive toolboxes or purpose built pegboards.

ghetto tool storage

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    As multiple answers mention WD-40 I'm commenting here instead of on all of them: WD-40 is a penetrating oil, meant for getting things that are stuck loose again. It will inhibit rust for a while, but not very long. Other oils may last a lot longer and be more effective. It could be good enough for you if you've got it lying around anyways, but if you'd have to buy it, I'd suggest a tad more research into what oils to use. Commented Jun 19 at 19:59
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    @DaniëlvandenBerg Agreed. WD-40 is great stuff for the right task, but its got to be one of the most misused industrial chemicals on our planet. I cringe when I see people using it on locks, as those locks may open right now, but will undoubtedly be all gunked up in short time. And when I watch people spray it on their bicycle chains, I know they will be helping keep a bike shop in business in the near future. Commented Jun 20 at 2:50
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    @DaniëlvandenBerg WD-40 isn't "meant" for things that are stuck, though it happens to be good at that too. It was actually designed as a rust-inhibiting coating for the SM-65 Atlas missile's skin. And it works pretty good as a quick means of preventing tools from rusting. Not for a very long time, no, but it's ok. In fact, more "permanent" oil alternatives aren't good for tools because of the very uneven wear and gunking up. Better to give them a regular spray&wipe-down with WD-40, the good thing is that it simultaneously cleans and rust-protects. Commented Jun 21 at 8:26

5 Answers 5


If you see them start to develop a tiny bit of surface rust some WD40 (or other spray-on oil) should be plenty enough to protect them. It’s not like they’ll suddenly develop critical amounts of rust over night.

The screws you have used look like they are zinc plated. Zinc plating is low in the galvanic series (less noble) and should sacrifice itself before steel/iron.


If you prefer to have a "solid" separation rather than a "spray based" one (like WD40 or other spray), an easy solution is heat shrink tubing (normally used for electrical cables).

You can take one that is large enough for the screw head, and then shrink it so that it covers the exposed part of the screw.

  • Other options to WD40 are similar spray oils like CRC-556, or a wax like Minwax or Maxwax as used on cast iron tools, or a lanolin based spray like Lanocote (which smells wonderful). Even simple oil like 3-in-1 or singer sewing machine oil will leave a light coat if wiped over the whole tool. White Lithium spray isn't very useful here, avoid that one. Boeshield T9 is supposed to be excellent, but pricy.
    – Criggie
    Commented Jun 19 at 10:07
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    @Criggie the idea of my answer was more to have a "solid" protection, rather than "spray-based". Answer clarified.
    – Rеnаud
    Commented Jun 19 at 12:14

Coloured plastic pushpins are your friends for this little project:

coloured plastic pushpins

These are very low cost and will not rust your tools.

Their plastic heads also prevent any damage to your tools as you take them on and off your tool board.

Additionally, because they leave such small holes in the board, it makes the overall appearance nicer when you decide to rearrange your tools. No big screw holes left behind!

If you want to get really fancy, you can even colour-coordinate your tools by using the different colours of the pushpin heads.

If your fingers aren't strong enough to insert the pushpins, I find they can withstand gentle hammering. I've hammered them into dense hardwood many times. Just use multiple small strikes with a hammer instead of one big strike.

As an added bonus, they are reusable.

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    That's an excellent idea !
    – Criggie
    Commented Jun 20 at 3:20
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    Excellent suggestion! Sometimes I use a small scrap of wood to push them in, so I can push with my whole hand instead of just one thumb. That allows me to insert them in particle board or MDF without the hammer.
    – Jahaziel
    Commented Jun 20 at 14:22

They will be fine. If there is enough moisture to cause corrosion from the screws, it is only a faction longer before the tools corrode. Worst will happen is cosmetic damage.

It can help to protect them to give them a spray of WD40 and wipe dry before hanging up.


Most common silver or shiny screws and bolts are either zinc plated or made of zinc or zinc alloy. These are usually the most economical option sold by hardware stores. That looks to be the type of screws you have used. The zinc coating is somewhat corrosion resistant and that is one of the reasons it is used. If that's the case, your tools should be totaly fine as long as the storage board is in a fairly dry place. I'd argue that the MDF or masonite board will degrade (it absobrbs moisture like a sponge) before the screws have enough chance to rust.

Other common screws are black, this is a "black oxide" coating. In my experience this ones are more prone to corrosion and I'd avoid them for this use.

Some screws and bolts are actually sold coated in grease or oil (These are the actual cheapest option in my usual supply store) and they are quick to rust, they are low grade steel or mild steel, once you clean them of the oil, they look dark, dull gray. Those I would also avoid for this project.

However, there are some other suggestions you may find useful:

Coat the screws with heat-shrink tubing. This is an isolation material for electrical connections and components, it contracts when heated. I have used a hairdrier to shrink it, but a lighter, soldering iron or a hor air gun can also be used.

If you have around a lenght of small diameter hose, you can use it around the screws also. I hapen to have a hose from an air compressor, It's about inner 1/4" diameter, and about 1/2" outer. Cut it in short "sleeves", unscrew, slide the screw into the sleeve and install it again. Another source of hose, a bit thinner, can be the hoses from nebulizer or similar medical equipment, those vary around 1/8" diameter and won't be so thick, alowing for tools with smaller hanging holes.

Substitute the screws for dowels. You can make dowels from used chopsticks, or bamboo skewers, etc.

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