View Full Version : Wood or Metal Toolbox for measuring instruments?

01-06-2009, 06:11 PM
Hello all!

My name is Nick. I am a hobby machinist. I live and work in the Midwest.

I was recently given a variety of really nice measuring tools. (Lots of Starrett!) I'm wondering if it is better to store them in a wood or metal toolbox? We get some pretty good humidity in the summer here, and I'm concerned about corrosion on these tools. I've heard from some that wooden boxes will help prevent rust; but I've heard from others that it matters very little.

Any thoughts or suggestions? Perhaps the tools need to be stored in the air conditioned house when not in use?


01-06-2009, 06:25 PM
Put all the crap from the house in the workshop and put all your tools in the house?

01-06-2009, 06:27 PM
Put all the crap from the house in the workshop and put all your tools in the house?

If I wasn't married, there wouldn't *be* a house - just a multilevel shop with hardwood floors! ;)

01-06-2009, 08:59 PM
I doubt that it matters much; I think it's probably more important to avoid wide temperature swings, which can cause condensation of moisture.

Also avoid some kinds of foam padding; it can outgas corrosive vapor.
And avoid some kinds of glue, such as white wood glue (e.g. Elmer's).

01-06-2009, 08:59 PM
I have an old wooden toolbox that contains most but not all of my measuring instruments. Also have metal ones as well as wood boxes that contain instruments.

I think the secret is to have a dehumidifier in the basement workshop and open the drawers on tightly fitting boxes during the Summer. Of course having AC helps a lot. Another tip is to spray all such items with Bostik "Top Coat" and then polish off the residue. I haven't had to do the latter on any measuring instruments but do it on all jigs, tooling and fixtures that I make.

Of course all this could be in reverse if you live in the Southern States and perhaps the UK folks could chime in as "damp" can be an order of magnitude worse than here in North America.


01-06-2009, 09:27 PM
I prefer wood boxes for aesthetic reasons. Plastic work nice too, but not quite as cool as a fine wooden box. That being said, wood has tanin in it. Tanin will cause rust. Some woods have more some have less and usually a layer of felt or a good coat of polyurethane will protect the steel from rusting due to tanin.

That being said, most measuring instruments are stainless steel or satin chrome and rust is not too big of an issue. I've never had any measuring tools rust, but I also keep everything wiped down with oil. Micrometers are the ones you usually need to worry about. Make sure they have a light coat of oil and it should be ok.

edit: I'll remember the bostik top coat trick.

G.A. Ewen
01-11-2009, 12:15 AM
My solution was to make wooden drawer liners.





01-11-2009, 12:41 AM
That just makes me jealous!