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protecting equipment/tools uninsulated shop in winter

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Forum topic by Ilmari posted 06-16-2019 07:15 PM 585 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Ilmari

3 posts in 36 days


06-16-2019 07:15 PM

Topic tags/keywords: shop winter

Hello everyone, I’m just getting started with woodworking, and I have a great uninsulated barn I was thinking of using, but I’m afraid my tools and equipment will get wrecked in the Maine winters. Is there anything I need to do to make sure everything’s OK when I get back into the shop in the Spring? Eventually I’ll build in new walls with insulation, but I need to get the house finished first! Thanks!


11 replies so far

View bilyo's profile

bilyo

745 posts in 1524 days


#1 posted 06-16-2019 07:48 PM

Condensation on the tools will be your worst enemy. You can start by keeping a protective coating of wax or other protective material on the tools. In addition, try to keep condensation from occurring. You might do this by keeping small stuff in boxes, drawers, or small closets with just enough heat to prevent the condensation. In a small space, an incandescent light bulb will be enough. A small fan will also do the job. For larger tools like a table saw, you can tent it with almost anything and then, as above, provide a small amount of heat and/or air circulation. Be aware, if you use plastic, it should not be allowed to lay directly on the tool.

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2990 posts in 3859 days


#2 posted 06-16-2019 09:03 PM

So, where you at in Maine?

I live in Maine. I have a shop I can heat when I’m out there but otherwise it stays cold. I’ve never had an issue with condensation; Ever. I do keep a coat of paste wax, applied and rubbed off on power tool table tops but I don’t think it would matter. I actually started doing it just to keep them slippery. If you do go out to turn on a heater once and awhile, the Maine air in winter is so dry it doesn’t cause any condensation at all. I can tell you, I do this all the time for the last 14 years and never had my table saw, band saw, scroll saw, drill press, etc tables rust.

Other than that, the cold won’t matter to the tools. The only adjustment I make in winter is to pull all the water based finishes into the house before freezing. Oh… you also have to keep any glue like titebond or elmers from freezing.

Keep in mind I’m above ground, not in a cement block building or below ground. That might make a difference. I live in Southern Maine, so sometimes warmer, and on a lake.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

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Ilmari

3 posts in 36 days


#3 posted 06-16-2019 09:20 PM

Thanks for the comments so far! I have had some rust problems with an old Delta Unisaw in another outbuilding, but that building is at the bottom of my lot in the wettest part. I’ll check again everything in the barn. Glad to hear it has been OK for you for so long in Southern Maine!

View bilyo's profile

bilyo

745 posts in 1524 days


#4 posted 06-17-2019 02:11 AM



So, where you at in Maine?

I live in Maine. I have a shop I can heat when I m out there but otherwise it stays cold. I ve never had an issue with condensation; Ever. I do keep a coat of paste wax, applied and rubbed off on power tool table tops but I don t think it would matter. I actually started doing it just to keep them slippery. If you do go out to turn on a heater once and awhile, the Maine air in winter is so dry it doesn t cause any condensation at all. I can tell you, I do this all the time for the last 14 years and never had my table saw, band saw, scroll saw, drill press, etc tables rust.

Other than that, the cold won t matter to the tools. The only adjustment I make in winter is to pull all the water based finishes into the house before freezing. Oh… you also have to keep any glue like titebond or elmers from freezing.
- Craftsman on the lake


I agree. The cold alone is not usually a problem. And, I do live in a part of the country that is more humid. Here, the condensation problem occurs at times when night time temps get low and then it warms up quickly with the morning sun. Moisture in the air then condenses on the cold tools. if you don’t have enough humidity where you are for that to occur, then you will likely have minimal rusting problems.

View wuddoc's profile

wuddoc

349 posts in 4139 days


#5 posted 06-17-2019 05:32 AM

You may wish to look at this LJ review. I have used this product for decades as a rust inhibitor. It also will not stain your wood when used on flat surfaces such as table saws.

https://www.lumberjocks.com/reviews/9777

-- Wuddoc

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

3116 posts in 996 days


#6 posted 06-17-2019 06:36 AM

Even a good coat of paste wax applied in the fall will help protect against rust. I have also taken to covering the cast iron tools with those table cloths like you used to use on a picnic table. Plastic on top, and soft white material on the bottom. I place a series of small Styrofoam cups on the tops of the cast iron, and drape one of those cloths over it. The cups raise the cover, and allow air to circulate under it, and moisture in the air is stopped from falling onto the cast by the cover. I haven’t had to clean rust doing that for years. Prior to doing that I had to scrub rust every Spring. I didn’t think the soft cotton did anything, and just tried a plastic tarp one year, it didn’t work. Maybe a sheet, then a tarp if you can’t find one of those picnic table covers.

-- Think safe, be safe

View Ilmari's profile

Ilmari

3 posts in 36 days


#7 posted 06-17-2019 01:47 PM

Thanks so much for the info, guys! I’m feeling more comfortable getting the tools and bench out of the house, where I never use them because of the dust. What a relief to be able to put all that stuff back to good use!

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

1888 posts in 584 days


#8 posted 06-17-2019 02:15 PM

periodic maintenance.
I have lived down in the Florida Keys where the salt air is more
of a menace than a damp unheated space in the North.
it really doesn’t matter where you live, periodic maintenance will
always be necessary to “sort of” keep rust and corrosion at bay.
making lots of wood chips and sawdust will help a LOT.
there are all kinds of aerosol treatments on the market to help keep rust
and corrosion to a minimum. as noted: paste wax for horizontal flat
surfaces and spray oils for the rest of the machine.
one of my favorite products is the CRC Rust & Corrosion Preventative spray.

.

-- I am a painter. That's what I do. I paint things --

View Cord's profile

Cord

8 posts in 35 days


#9 posted 06-17-2019 02:58 PM

I’m in the midwest and spring condensation is very difficult to deal with. The pattern that I’ve noticed is that everything is cool and then we get that warm spring day and the humidity level rises. The machinery having some mass, is still cool so the moisture tends to settle on it. I’ve be unable to do anything to control the moisture levels, but ventilation seems to help. A big barn fan to push the warm air into the shop, can also hinder in that it pushes the moist air inside as well. Timing seems to be critical. So far Waxing has been the best preventative method to bare steel surfaces. I’m using butchers was and I’m trying to get in the habit of waxing after every use. Sadly, I see that I forgot to wax the machines stored in the upper level of my barn. Table saw, 2 surfacers, and a shaper all got rusty over winter. Bummer.

View bilyo's profile

bilyo

745 posts in 1524 days


#10 posted 06-17-2019 10:36 PM



I m in the midwest and spring condensation is very difficult to deal with. The pattern that I ve noticed is that everything is cool and then we get that warm spring day and the humidity level rises. The machinery having some mass, is still cool so the moisture tends to settle on it. I ve be unable to do anything to control the moisture levels, but ventilation seems to help. A big barn fan to push the warm air into the shop, can also hinder in that it pushes the moist air inside as well. Timing seems to be critical. So far Waxing has been the best preventative method to bare steel surfaces. I m using butchers was and I m trying to get in the habit of waxing after every use. Sadly, I see that I forgot to wax the machines stored in the upper level of my barn. Table saw, 2 surfacers, and a shaper all got rusty over winter. Bummer.

- Cord


I have found that a small fan running continuously during the times that the condensation problem occurs will pretty much eliminate the condensation. I don’t know the exact reason, but I assume it is a combination of the moving air and helping the tools to warm up faster. Depending on the size of your shop, the fan doesn’t have to be very large. A little 8” table top model works in my 16×20 shop.

View farmfromkansas's profile

farmfromkansas

55 posts in 36 days


#11 posted 06-20-2019 12:44 AM

Know you guys wont like this, but a little bit of wipe on poly does wonders for cast iron tops in an unheated shop. I put some on my tire machine, thing rusted like crazy, fixing wet tires. Wipe on poly even keeps that thing clean.

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