LumberJocks

Cedar Inserts for Preventing Rust?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Hand Tools forum

Forum topic by MrWolfe posted 06-24-2019 01:59 AM 356 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View MrWolfe's profile

MrWolfe

170 posts in 538 days


06-24-2019 01:59 AM

I’m in the process of making some boxes for some chisels and planes. I currently have them in cardboard boxes with lots of those silica dessicant packs to absorb water and prevent rust. Hasn’t really worked all that well so far.
The boxes I am making are probably going to be poplar, pine, maybe oak. I was going to make foam inserts but now I’m thinking cedar from pickets because it is cheap, easy to cut with tools (other than chisels) and I am going to make cut-outs in the shapes of the planes and parts or those chisel half-round cut-outs that keep them all from rattling around loose in the box.

Anyone think that unfinished cedar used inside the boxes like that will help prevent rust?
It occurred to me that you can line a humidor with cedar to absorb moisture and I’ve never heard of anyone using them in tool boxes like this. Maybe even just tossing a few thin cedar strips in various tool boxes might help with this.
Any thoughts?
Thanks
Jon

UPDATE!!! Lazyman and Swirt have shared a bit about cedar being corrosive to iron. I’ve gone back and sealed the inserts I made with poly and JPW. Thanks to these two guys who saved me a huge headache with rust.
Read the last post I made about this in this thread


17 replies so far

View runswithscissors's profile

runswithscissors

3051 posts in 2440 days


#1 posted 06-24-2019 03:16 AM

Aromatic cedar is used to keep insects out of clothes chests and closets, but I’ve never heard of cedar as a desiccant or rust inhibitor. Just my ignorance, you could say.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

3510 posts in 1802 days


#2 posted 06-24-2019 03:45 AM

Humidors are usually lined with Spanish cedar which is not actually a cedar. It is more closely related to true Mahogany. Note that none of the native North American trees that we call cedars are actually cedars. In my experience most of them will actually react with iron, probably due to tannin levels

The purpose of humidor is to maintain a humidity level. I think that you are actually supposed to charge a humidor box with water so that once you put in the cigars it maintains the cigars in a specific range —65-75% I think. I think that what you may actually want to do is to seal the wood so that it does not absorb or give off moisture. If you are in a very humid area, using a desiccant is still probably your best option. Using some sort of oil impregnated cloth or paper may be another option. Zerust, which is used in tool boxes to prevent rust, might be worth looking at but I don’t have any experience with it.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View MrUnix's profile

MrUnix

7402 posts in 2613 days


#3 posted 06-24-2019 03:55 AM

Using some sort of oil impregnated cloth or paper may be another option. Zerust, which is used in tool boxes to prevent rust, might be worth looking at but I don t have any experience with it.
- Lazyman

I got some of that stuff lining my tool boxes and other tool storage areas… Lowes has rolls of it for $20. I have not had any rust problems, but I also have no idea how much of that is attributable to the Zerust stuff, if at all.

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View MrWolfe's profile

MrWolfe

170 posts in 538 days


#4 posted 06-24-2019 04:12 AM

Thanks for the replies,
Interesting Nathan, now I’m reading up on humidors. I am seeing both points being made on different sites. That is good to know about Spanish Cedar, Mahogany and American Cedar.

I see now how cigars are kept at a constant humidity level. I think those little boxes in humidors might be used for this. Now I am thinking those are silica bead/desiccant containers with water added? And a couple of sites do say cedar is used (or mahogany) to absorb moisture.

WHY IS CEDAR USED IN HUMIDORS?
”There are three types of wood that are most often used in these cases.
Spanish cedar is by far the most popular choice. The reason this type of wood is frequently used to line the inside of cases or used for humidor trays is that it is absorbent and helps to stop moisture from building up. This is the most important factor in keeping your cigars fresh and flavorful. Another reason this type of wood is chosen is due to the strong smell. Tobacco worms love to find a tasty cigar to destroy. The strong odor of this wood drives them away. The smell is strong enough to impart a light woody flavor to the stored cigars, a flavor that many people actually enjoy.”

Honestly though, new chisels and some nice planes are involved so I’m not sure I want to risk creating a rust issue with these tools. Sealing the wood sounds like a good idea but I am still looking into this topic.

The tannin and iron issue would result in the cedar turning dark or black?
I thought maybe I had come up with a good solution for preventing rust. >=(

Thanks Brad, I’m adding Zerust from lowes to my shopping list. It might not work for these boxes but I will definitely be lining my tool drawers with it.
jon

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

3041 posts in 989 days


#5 posted 06-24-2019 06:39 PM

Jon, I’m not a chemist, so I can’t say 100%, but a desiccant draws water. I had made a small tool cabinet, and a friend was over as I was putting some small tools into it. I was also placing some desiccants from pill bottles that I had in each drawer with the thought they would keep the moisture off the tool.

My Friend, whoa whoa whoa Cowboy.

I must have had the what, tell me why look.

He went on to explain he had tried the exact same science project, and it failed miserably. He did some research after that and his feeling was a desiccant works very well inside an CLOSED up pill bottle, where no additional moisture could get in. In a situation like a drawer there has to be a gap for it to open and close. Ambient moisture Rh, can and will get in. His thought is the desiccant draws the moisture inside the bottle, and it also draws it inside the drawer, but it has no on.off switch, so outside Rh is also drawn in by the desiccant, and after a while that increased moisture overwhelms the desiccant, at which time you get rust. He said his was a mess in less than a week.

I didn’t put the desiccants in, and that was 3 years ago. What I did was wipe the tools with a rag with Camellia Oil on it. A very light wipe, and no rust.

I’m in SW Ohio where over the course of the year we have 15 to 99% Rh, with the majority of the days over 60% So the air is prime for rusting of tools, and inside my wooden case, with a wipe of Camelia Oil, things are good. Some time back the Schwarz did an article about tools, rust, and wooden chests. His thought was that a tool in a wooden chest didn’t have much chance to rust, but inside a wooden cabinet they could rust if you didn’t use something like Camelia oil. I still shake my head when I think of that, and wonder what he used for a test study? I do know it was when he was pushing that “Anarchist’s Tool Chest” so maybe it as bunk, and he just wanted that chest to look like it could sing and dance.

That Zerust stuff looks like it is riding on the same theory as Camellia oil, coat the tool with a protective layer. I already have the Camellia, and know it works. I’ll probably keep getting it too. I bought that 8Oz of oil maybe 7 years ago. I’ve got a rag pretty much impregnated to the point I don’t have to go back to the oil, it’s in the rag, and I’m sure I have wiped it on 300 hand tools minimum. I’d have to know how many hand tools I have to know that number, a lot. No rust.

Plus I have never seen that off the rag it has colored any wood, or impacted any finishes. It’s such a fine oil, it coats without build up, however it will stay on cloth for a lonnnnggg time. Search the Schwarz about his Woobie. That is what he calls his Camellia oil rag. He had auctioned one off years ago, he claimed it weighed 8 pounds. He’s such a doofus.

-- Think safe, be safe

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

3041 posts in 989 days


#6 posted 06-24-2019 06:48 PM

double tap deleted

-- Think safe, be safe

View Planeman40's profile

Planeman40

1420 posts in 3175 days


#7 posted 06-24-2019 07:18 PM

Have you used WD-40? Go to their website and read about it and its history and use: https://www.wd40.com/cool-stuff/history Spray it on BUT DON’T WIPE IT OFF!!! That is the proper use for maximum rust protection. WD-40 is made to seep into the pores of the metal and displace moisture. Works great for me.

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View MrWolfe's profile

MrWolfe

170 posts in 538 days


#8 posted 06-24-2019 07:31 PM

Man I really am enjoying the replies here.
I’ve been reading up on humidors and I think you are right Steve. The desiccant acts as the part of the system that keeps the cigars moist. It gets charged with water and slowly dissapates that inside of the box. The cedar helps regulate that by absorbing the water. My old toolboxes and drawers allow too much Rh from my shop (I’m in Texas and its humid year round). I’m guessing the cedar may behave in the same way but I am a couple of days into this project so I will be using unfinished cedar… Along with a Zerust product that is a chemically charged polycarbinate card.
Zerust has a few products that are different but this is the one I am going to try.

https://www.amazon.com/Zerust-Rust-Prevention-Plastabs-Pack/dp/B00ULSW6FS/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Zerust+Rust+Prevention+Plastabs+1%22+x+3%22+-+Pack+of+10&qid=1561403943&s=gateway&sr=8-1

I have been trying Jojoba oil to coat my tools and I have recently tried CRC 3-36 PlaneMan40. Its very similar to WD-40. Spray or wipe it on and let it dry. I like it I’m just trying to keep the rust from my tools in a few ways, doubling up so to say.
Thanks everyone for the comments.
Really has me thinking about this.
Jon

I’m a couple of days out from posting pics of the box. The fitted inserts will make more sense with pics.

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

2355 posts in 2404 days


#9 posted 06-24-2019 09:18 PM

A desiccant only works if it is dried when saturated. If your shop is humid all the time, you would have to dry out the desiccant daily, weekly, or some rate. Guns are also a hobby, and I did some research on a cast bullet lube called Alox. Turns out it is an excellent rust inhibitor, read here.

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

3510 posts in 1802 days


#10 posted 06-24-2019 10:17 PM

I guess one question that wasn’t asked is whether you have experienced a problem with your tools rusting? I live in DFW and it just hasn’t been that much of a problem for me. Even my first table saw, which didn’t get used for about the 15 years before I retired didn’t have a problem with rust. I did apply a coat of paste wax sometime before that but the only place it had any rust on it was where someone (who shall remain nameless) put a sweating glass on it and didn’t wipe it off. So some basic prevention like WD40 or some of the other things mentioned may be all that is needed, especially if you use your tools fairly regularly and can nip problems in the bud.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View MrWolfe's profile

MrWolfe

170 posts in 538 days


#11 posted 06-24-2019 10:34 PM

Hey OSU55,
I read about Alox when I was shopping around and got the CRC 3-36. That looks like an excellent product.
My rust isn’t the biggest issue in my shop but I have gotten some chisels and planes in the last year that don’t seem to be as “rustproof” as my cast iron table tops on my larger tools. They have been kept in drawers on tool cabinets and I’ve been using the desiccant silca packets just tossed along side those tools. Now I think that accidently made little humidors that have kept the humidity at perfect rust conditons.
The rust isn’t a huge issue but it seems like planes and chisels are always beginning to rust a little.

View sansoo22's profile

sansoo22

146 posts in 69 days


#12 posted 06-24-2019 10:37 PM

Kansas City area has a problem with all things rusting. Pretty sure even plastic rusts…jk…but seriously our weather is garbage. I use the Paul Sellers rag in a can to wipe down chisels and planes before I put them away. This year has been especially humid. Got a little over spray from class cleaner on a plane cheek and it was rusted the next day. Not bad rust but anywhere the glass cleaner mist hit it was rusty.

For my planes I spray them down with WD-40 Specialist rust inhibitor and wax them after it dries twice a year. I even spray down the japaning with CRC 3-36, as well as the frogs and irons. It makes them shiny and protects them. All cast iron surfaces like my band saw table are waxed a couple times of year. For chisels the rag in a can wipe down seems to be keeping them rust free.

My clean up process every day is blow the dust off any hand tools and wipe them down with the rag in a can. Its a bit of a pain but sure beats rusty tools and it forces me to semi organize the bench.

I’m very interested to see your finished product. Tackling rust in more than just top coats or different oils seems like a win win to me.

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

3041 posts in 989 days


#13 posted 06-25-2019 01:16 PM

Jon, if you have any troubles with rust after using any of the other products, remember the lower cost Camellia Oil. I have dedicated a shop cloth to it, and keep it on one of the empty quart cans Lowes sells in paint. Being an oil, I guess there is a possibility of fire.

I’ve been using it for a while now, probably 2005 or so. Whenever I first saw Pop WWing, and The Schwarz’s drivel. It’s really one of the best things he ever typed if you ask me. My first bottle got broken, I now keep it safe, but it pretty quickly saturates the rag, and you just really use the damp cloth as a wipe. In the can it shows no signs of drying out, possibly one of it’s traits. Any other oil, or finish with oil will dry, even in a closed paint can.

-- Think safe, be safe

View swirt's profile

swirt

3968 posts in 3386 days


#14 posted 06-27-2019 02:25 AM

Sorry, late to the party on this one. I know firsthand that cedar in contact with iron is a remedy for rust.
If you have to use cedar. seal it with something thick enough to keep it from touching the metal.
The tannic acid in cedar makes it incompatible with iron.

http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/journals/conservation-journal/issue-04/corrosion-of-metals-associated-with-wood/

-- Galootish log blog, http://www.timberframe-tools.com

View swirt's profile

swirt

3968 posts in 3386 days


#15 posted 06-27-2019 02:29 AM

I live on the west coast of florida (close enough to the beach that you can smell the salt air) and my shop is un-air conditioned. Rust is a constant concern. I have had the best luck with Paul Sellers “rag in a can” method. I have a few of them around the shop and when I put a tool back, I give it a quick wipe.

-- Galootish log blog, http://www.timberframe-tools.com

showing 1 through 15 of 17 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com