View Full Version : How to store tools rust free??

Chuck Kelly
09-22-2002, 09:37 AM
Can anyone tell me the best way to store seldom used machine tooling so it won't rust. I oil everything but am concerned about rotary table and other tooling that is used only once in a while. I would rather not have to clean each piece before use every time. Any advice would be welcome.

09-22-2002, 12:18 PM
If you store them in a cabinet dessicant or a Vapour emmisive anti-rust paper can be purchased. Climate control is the best option with a light spray of Boesheild T9 or Amsoil MP, the Amsoil Heavy MP can be used for long term storage but it will have to be cleaned off with volatile solvents (dries to a waxy film). A closed cabinet could also have a 100W light bulb running continuously on the bottom to heat the cabinet to drive off moisture. There is no free lunch here I am afraid.

09-22-2002, 12:35 PM
The ol' timer I bought my lathe and mill from recommended using diesel fuel. I've found that works good, and doesn't leave quite so much oily residue to collect dust. It probably won't protect as long as some of the spray-on, waxy coatings, but it's not as messy either.

Chuck Kelly
09-22-2002, 12:36 PM
Thanks for the info it sounds good to me. Some times outside perspective makes it all clear. Guess I will build new storage box.
Thanks again.

Crazy Ed
09-22-2002, 12:40 PM
My dad always had diesels around and wiped all tools with it, seems that it worked real good, hum, may have to get some myself!

09-22-2002, 06:00 PM
I read somewhere to use airtight packaging and a mothballs. I have been storing small items, tools (v-blocks etc), a pair of pistols, etc. this way for two years without a trace of rust. I put them in large freezer type zip locking plastic bags wrapping the mothballs in a bit of paper towel so they don't come in direct contact with the stored items. Don't know if they would cause any grief, but don't want to find out either.


09-22-2002, 09:58 PM
The key to keep everything rust free as Thrud noted is climate control. If you keep the humidity/temperature under control the machine gods will be very kind to your precious tools and instruments. If you don't, all the oil, mothballs and dessicants in the world won't help you in the long run.


Chuck Kelly
09-22-2002, 11:58 PM
I would like to thank you all for your comments. It is nice to have so many choices. Great ideas for sure. Thanks again.

Mike L
09-24-2002, 09:55 AM
A small amount of heat to keep the tools warmer than the air and prevent condensation will go a long ways towards keeping tool rust free.

You can use an electric heater pad or similar heaters. I use 15-30 watts (15 watt on lathe, 30 watts on mill)and haven't had any rust problems in 10 years of an unheated barn. Admittedly, it is California, but winters are 40-50 degrees and rainy - perfect for condensation and rust. Cold midwestern winters have low humidity (close to zero) and rust isn't an issue unless you drag your equipment onto salted highways.

Mike L

09-25-2002, 03:54 AM
<SNIP> ...closed cabinet could also have a 100W light bulb running continuously on the bottom...
Why would the bulb need to be in the bottom of the cabinet? Maybe I'm missing something?
Heat rises, but after a couple of hours in a small cabinet the temp should be pretty even.

Al Messer
09-25-2002, 08:25 AM
I have been using the "old fashioned" type of mothballs for years in tackleboxes, toolboxes, little storage drawers where I keep my taps and dies and mated drill bits. I have been told that the vapor from the mothballs displaces the oxygen and that this is what prevents the rust from forming. It seems to work O.K. as my workshop is in the basement of the house. On the surfaces of the lathe, drill press, etc, I periodically spray with WD-40.


09-25-2002, 09:07 AM
The hot air above bulb rises causing a circulation of air around the cabinet. If bulb were at the top of cabinet the top would be considerable hotter than the bottom. The hot air would not readily sink to the bottom.

09-25-2002, 09:35 AM

Heat doesn't rise. It travels in all directions. It's the hot air that rises. Just having fun with you there.

Convection is what keeps the air moving through out the cabinet when the source of the heat is placed at the bottom.


09-25-2002, 01:03 PM
I stand corrected... heat doesn't rise http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif
I was mainly concerned that a dropped tool would fall on the light fixture, because even hot tools sink.
Even with the bulb at the top, I would think that the temp would even out. There would be some temperature distribution, but for all practical purposes it should be the same temp.
I suppose until I actually measure it, I'll just put a protective plate over the light bulb.

09-25-2002, 01:25 PM
And I just thought mothballs were good for keeping the eight legged, venomous, bighting critters out of my tubs of scrap metal, ahem, I mean raw materials. I'll have to try them in the gun lockers and in that old car I'm not able to restore right now due to weather and injuries.

09-25-2002, 01:45 PM
Regarding the moth-balls (and I'll make no jokes about how they collect so many to fill the box!):

1. Does it matter which kind of mothballs? I.e., Naptha or Paradichlorobenzene?

2. Do you have to use mothballs (which are the active ingredient mixed with wax) or can you use the pure crystals?

I realize I may be making more of this than I should, but ...

Chuck Kelly
09-25-2002, 09:17 PM
Thanks again for all the ideas. The more the better!

09-25-2002, 11:30 PM
Just pop a boxer fan in there an have forced circulation. And you thought dead Pentium's were useless! http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

09-26-2002, 02:10 AM
I knew I was saving that P-II fan for some reason... I just hadn't remembered it yet

09-26-2002, 12:29 PM
I know nothing of the ingredients of modern day mothballs, nor their rust inhibiting qualities, but I've read that camphor stored with metal objects will tend to coat them and dispel moisture. I seem to vaguely recall a notion that camphor was at one time a mothball component.

09-26-2002, 09:57 PM
speaking of lowering the condensation by heating with a light bulb: Its easy to make a "thermostat" that will keep the heater on a set number of degrees above ambient. Hadn't thought of it for tools, but here in fla a house is comfortable near 80 degrees if humidity is lowered. I keep thinking a thremostat with a low set, high set (65low, 80 high for starters) and 2 degree above ambient between the set points would be a good energy saver.

I use an old reefer, wire wound resistor on the bottom shelf for heating. 5 watts does fine. tools feel nice in winter time. not so nice in summer.

09-27-2002, 02:59 PM
You know, if you put a Pentium4 MB in there - you won't need a big fan or a 150W light bulb!

Won't work with the new AMD Hammers - they are only 10-20*C warmer without a heatsink or fan (still cooler than the K6).

That's the nice thing about Intel inside - Radiant heat not required in the room!:P

- a rabid AMD and DRDos6.0 fan