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Thread: Storing machinery in un insulated New England garage?

  1. #1

    Storing machinery in un insulated New England garage?

    Hello! We are moving from CA to NH with a shop full of tools and machinery. We won’t be able to build our shop for about a year, so we can either sell all of the large / heavy equipment, or store it in the un insulated garage.

    My husband’s concern is that the machines will rust out before we get the shop finished.

    Can you New Englanders chime in? Would this be an issue, or can I just T9 and oil everything?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Speaking as a New Englander with a lot of years of hobby woodshops in poorly insulated/uninsulated outbuildings that are heated only when in use and have no humidity control, I see no reasons for major concern, certainly nothing to warrant you and him to sell off stuff you'd otherwise be inclined to move and store. It is true that sometimes we have humidity here followed by temperature shifts sufficient to cause condensation on metal surfaces; I find maybe a few times a year, I get some areas of very superficial rust on certain cast iron or steel surfaces, stuff easily removed with a single edge razor blade and mostly avoided if things are frequently used and kept waxed. That said, given that your stuff is going to be unused for a year, it probably does make sense to use some sort of rust inhibiting surface treatment.
    Last edited by David Stone (CT); 12-17-2021 at 8:20 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    60,540
    No concerns. Might you get some surface rust...possibly...I'm dealing with that in my temporary shop "as we speak", but it's not physically detrimental to the machinery and you can do things to help protect from it by slathering the cast iron surfaces with various things that inhibit moisture from coalescing on those surfaces.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Orwell, NY
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    1,087
    I agree with the others who said it is not a problem. I have kept my jointers in unheated outbuildings for more than 10 years with no rust problems. They've mostly been on the second floors of buildings, so I don't know if that would make a difference. I've also kept the table saw on the ground floor for the last 6 years, on gravel in an unheated building with no ill effects.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    MA
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    2,000
    Northern MA. I just moved into a new shop space after everything sat in an unheated space for two years. It was not prepped for storage but I would advise it

    Everything needed wipes down. Cast iron surfaces needed some wd40/barkeepers friend polishing. There was mildew starting on some things. But hand wiping with a multipurpose cleaner (I used pinesol a lot) then some oil or wax cleaned things up.

    Also I wiped everything down with an automotive spray wax. Sucked out any sawdust (where moisture gravitates and mildew likes to start).

    Hand tools like chisels and planes were impacted more than the big power machines. And any wood you have. Rags. Some chemicals separate with temp cycles.

    When I moved to Puerto Rico for a period I got a food vacuum packing machine. Sprayed a bit of wd40 in the bag then vacuum packed all the hand tools. That worked very well

    T9 works well (stored my shop in an unheated space in Ohio for three years once) and used boeshield. Worked well.

    The bigger concern I have would be critters. They make nests and chew through wires.

    $.02

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Wayland, MA
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    2,987
    My tools all lived in a "pod" over a winter while we were moving. This pod was pretty well sealed, no rodent-size openings. I did no special treatments and had no issues with rust. I find the worst days are in the spring when we get a warm humid day following a period of cold. If the storage area is well enough closed up this kind of short-term condensation event won't get to the stuff inside.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
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    Central North Carolina
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    1,800
    AVOID using automotive wax. They contain silicone. Silicone on wood is invisible, until you try to put finish on the wood. Nothing will stick wherever the silicone is. If it was droplets in the air, you will have fish eyes wherever it has landed on the wood.

    Use a wax like Johnson's Paste Wax, Butcher's Wax, etc on your cast iron. Leave it thick, as applied, until you are ready to use the tool again. Then wipe it down, or remove it using paint thinner on a rag and re-apply, wiping and buffing it after it develops a haze. You can use WD-40, just spray it on and let it soak into the pores of the cast iron. When ready to use the tool again, clean it off with paint thinner on a rag, and apply the paste wax. A few coats and the tool will be ready to use.

    I have a scroll saw that I sprayed with WD-40, draped a dust cover over it and it's been in the corner of my unheated but enclosed garage for the past 4 years waiting for a friend to get his woodworking shop finished. So far, it has no rust, but the WD-40 spray has darkened considerably. I think it will be fine after the WD-40 is cleaned off and wax applied.

    Charley

  8. #8
    Good for you. I made the MA to CA move 10 yrs ago chasing the kids. Given drought and fire I’d go back in a heartbeat…although it looks like it will be a good skiing winter. I had to leave my Unisaw in a cold spot for a couple years. I had some left over POR15 from a car restoration project and painted the top with it. It took some work to get off, but the top was in excellent shape. I have never been particularly impressed by T9 or others. I made a couple poor choices in the name of a more economical move. I let my bandsaw go and wish I had brought it with me. Net/net, if you like the machine, take it. You pay for a move by weight. In getting your quotes, and you do need a few, talk about overage charges from the companies estimate. the household goods are pretty simple to calc, but do your own estimate of the tools and machinery or you can end up in a heck of a spot with row with the movers.

  9. #9
    Good advice here. We used to use this aerosol spray from CRC that went on thick but protected really well. On a side note, I have talked to more than one customer over the years who had rodents nest in stored machines. Would be a good idea to pack in such a way to protect against that as well.

    Erik

    edit: I see that the rodent thing got mentioned a few posts up.
    Ex-SCM and Felder rep

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    North Dana, Masachusetts
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    365
    Instead of looking at the machines only, look at the building.
    Getting cold isn't a problem, it's warming up that causes trouble. When warm moist air lands on cold machines, water condenses. In the summer I have condensation problems when my air conditioned shop is opened up on hot and humid days. The machines are cool enough to be below the dew point. If the humidity level in the building is low, the chances of the machine surfaces being below the dew point are less. Getting rid of any added moisture will help. For example, cover a dirt floor with plastic, wall to wall. Check the humidity level in the building. If it's high, renting dry space might be worth it. Also, put magic anti rust oil on the machines.

  11. #11
    they are not going to "rust out". They might rust though. What happens will depend on the climate air flow and the machine itself, I have machines that will rust while others in the same room do not rust. Quality of steel, if the steel has been gone over before say with a schotchbrite to clean it and other stuff. Ive found some machines ive done the schotchbrite dance sometimes will rust again before others almost like you opened up a new fresh surface. I cant speak for your area but I can guarantee right now one table saw in an unheated area here will be starting to rust. Other stuff in that space wont be.

    What William says is accurate. Farm lady near me has a number of cars, with her last new vette in a 12 x 20 portable shed there was an issue with the car being wet every morning. She then left the entry door up and from then on it was fine. I have two of the same portable sheds one has had the one door up facing east for 3 years and nothing is rusting. There is some cold rolled stuff at floor level and that will rust. Ive seen it on concrete before dissolve and flake apart. The worst thing is when there is a dirt floor and if you put your car over a lawn and leave it for years it will be damaged.

    The second same portable shed so far im keeping the door down. That one I made a floor with construction heavy woven plastic and covered the whole floor then wrapped that up the back wall on the north west side where the wind comes from. Air can still get in but not in the same way. Both are set on 4 x 4" so raised up then 1/4" padding i put on the tubes has made the cover sit up a bit higher as well.

    I just leave the machines that are stored then take the rust off when its time for use. If i was going to rust proof id use what I use on my cars which is Fluid Film. For them ive built a Mcgiver rig and it works well for volume spraying, I think ive outgrown it and ready for airless. The machines if you were to use that stuff you can buy it in stores in spray cans. It has lanolin in it, Id like to thank to all the sheep who donate your winter coats to keep my cars happy.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    South Dakota
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    1,607
    If you are going to spray with a rust preventative don’t forget about the trunions and sliding parts that are typically hidden. I stored my WW machines for a couple years unheated. On the cast iron tops I sprayed T9. Seamed to work well but I forgot about the hidden parts. I picked up some rust that I had to “get to” and scotchbright away. I also picked up rust on some of the unplated fasteners. Overall not bad but not unscathed either.
    The Plane Anarchist

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    McKean, PA
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    14,165
    When I was working we made assembly machines that we shipped in cold weather all over the country. We would spray the exposed cast iron with Boshield T-9, a good heavy coating. We had no rusting problems. It does take a bit of work to get it off. We found that the best way to remove it was to spray on more T-9 and then wipe it all off.

    If you plan to use any of the tools, whatever you do don't use a torpedo heater to warm up the room. The fumes and moisture will cause lots of rust. Water will condense on the cold iron and literally drip off.
    Lee Schierer
    Captain USN(Ret)

    My advice, comments and suggestions are free, but it costs money to run the site. If you found something of value here please give a little something back by becoming a contributor! Please Contribute

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Schierer View Post
    If you plan to use any of the tools, whatever you do don't use a torpedo heater to warm up the room. The fumes and moisture will cause lots of rust. Water will condense on the cold iron and literally drip off.
    For the last 15 years, I worked out of an un-insulated garage. Because of a lack of other options, I had one of those torpedo heaters.

    I kept a coat of Johnson's paste wax on all metal surfaces. And I'd drape an old bedsheet over large surfaces (table saw, jointer, bandsaw, etc.) It helped, but yes, rust was a problem.

  15. #15
    Join Date
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    The combustion of torpedo heaters adds a lot of moisture to the air, especially if propane powered. After you turn it off and the air cools, this moisture will condense on cold metal and form rust. A vapor proof cover loosely draped over the machines will help, but a good heavy coat of wax like Johnson's or Butchers will be necessary too. Avoid automotive wax, since it contains silicone and silicone will cause finishing problems if it gets on your work. The Johnson's and Butchers waxes don't seem to do this as the solvents in the finish mix with and disperse it. Silicone doesn't do this and remains there to cause problems with the finish.

    Charley
    Last edited by Charles Lent; 12-29-2021 at 2:31 PM.

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