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04-20-2011 02:26 PM - last edited on 05-19-2011 03:07 PM by Marlen_at_WOOD
I was hesitant about posting this until I found out if it really worked or not. Sometime last year I received a Spiral head cutter. It came in a cardboard box with a white rigid Styrofoam container molded around it. I took it out of the cardboard box and set it on the concrete floor behind some other stuff. The Styrofoam container wasn't air tight. Sooner or later I would install it. But I would lift the lid every so often to look at it or show someone. All this time, I never saw a speck of rust on it. It was not coated in Cosmoline, just had a coat of light oil. It came from Woodmaster in Kansas. It is real humid here in Texas. I thought maybe if the rigid Styrofoam kept the rust off the cutter head, it would work on Table saws. I went to the lumber yard and bought a sheet of 3/4 white rigid Styrofoam and cut it to fit my table saw top. I just laid it up there and put a small block of wood on top to hold it down. I started this about six months ago. I have not used the saw over once or twice in that time period. Before I did this, I had put a light coat of 3 in one oil on the table top and wiped it down. There is no rust spots anywhere on the table top. The white top looks nice, maybe even nicer with a wooden border around it. You can lay tools or whatever on top of it, (some of us do, you know) and it is easy to remove.
04-20-2011 02:54 PM
Since you're not using it, you can send that woodmaster spiral head to me. Yeah it's humid here in KS too. I may have to look into this method. Clearly we've had some temperature swings in the last few weeks. I went into my uninsulated shop after a 2 week absence to find several tops coated in rust. Apparently this is just from condensation because I have a 16" jointer that is serving it's intended purpose as a collector of stuff... anyways there is no rust where objects have been sitting. Perhaps the material is less important that the mere protection from condensation? Who knows, time to clean and wax again...
04-20-2011 04:58 PM
Ryan, I think the rigid Styrofoam insulation acts as a moisture barrier when it is against the metal. I just know it has kept my saw and the Spiral head free from rust. I have had both shop doors open and have had moisture to form on the concrete floor in front of the doors. If I wasn't planning on useing the head someday, I would sure send it to you. Believe it or not, It was sold with a machine that had been repossessed and had never been taken out of the box. I paid $400 for it. When I bought my Machine, I also bought 2 extra set of knives, so If I kick the bucket before I wear the knives out, I will tell my wife to send the head to you ! No Kidding ! Because you durn sure cain't take it with you go. But I have run into some folks who think they can. My Motto is, JUST GIVE IT AWAY ! Another one I have is, BUY HIGH AND SELL LOW !
04-20-2011 05:47 PM
I live in Michigan. We have a bit of a humidity problem (4 of the 5 Great Lakes and all). I just wax the tops in the fall and put a blanket over the top. No rust. I think it may just be keeping the air away from the surface.
04-21-2011 06:34 AM
For years I have put a terri cloth towel on my tops after applying wax to them. I am restoring a 1973 Unisaw and it sits in my storage building for months sometimes before I can get back to that project. The only time that I have found rust was once when a squirrel got in there runing around knocking things off the shelves and the squirrel or wrinckled the towel off the corner about 4 inches and it was rusty only on the bare part.
04-21-2011 06:49 AM - edited 04-21-2011 06:50 AM
Yeah, I believe a cover is tops (pun intended ) for keeping rust at bay. I keep all of my machines covered with small moving blankets from HF. I live within a few miles of the coast, and it's just about as humid as it can get during the warm season. I don't have any rust problems with the blankets.
04-21-2011 07:07 AM
I have yet to use blankets and the saw is fine.
Twice, I think, I gacve the good rub down. Last time I also used wax and haven't had much problem at all.
Not a bad record for Florida weather and for the past 20+ years of use.
07-14-2011 11:08 AM - edited 07-14-2011 11:18 AM
I am in Houston where we consider anything below 80% humidity as low humidity. When I was just a boy I used to think that my dad's hobby (stress relief) was to wipe down and periodically polish the tools in the shop. It wasn't until I had my own shop that I realized how much effort it would take to combat nature....ever tried keeping nutgrass out of your garden.
As noted by previous posts that covering the tool surface is the trick. It doesn't matter so much what material the cover is (foam, clothe or even plywood or cardboard) so long as there is a protective coating of oil or like substance applied to the metal. Make certain to wipe down tool surfaces after use and then covering it with some form of barrier is key to retarding / preventing rust. One of the main culprits for rust is sawdust, which acts like a sponge absorbing moisture from the air and then holding it against the tool surface if left unattended. One thing to keep in mind is the type of material for your cover...some absorb and hold water such as cotton and wood...hence the added protection of a light coat of oil.
I wipe off my tool surface with a brush and them lightly apply a coat of orange oil before covering with a drop clothe (one of the synthetic clothe tool covers). This pretty much ensures no rust until the next use. The only exception any area that I literally dripped sweat or placed my hands on the steel...these areas need special attention before covering. Usually, the steel discolors / blackens within minutes. I use some WD40 or other cleaning agent first on these areas.
Other techniques that work surprisingly well are (1) rubbing down surface with Wax Paper and (2) applying coat of Minwax or other car polish. The advantage of these two approaches is that there is no need to wipe down the tool before using it (always wipe down after use) as is the case with oil. If you use apply an oil coat to the tool surface ( as mentioned above) then when it comes time to use the tool you will be inadvertently applying an oil coat to the surface of the wood that is in contact with the oiled tool surface. I have found that it is best to re-applying the wax paper or minwax treatment annually...fairly hassle free. Over time with use the surface coating will rub off so you might consider a more frequent re-application schedule.
07-14-2011 11:58 AM
Since my first post on this subject of tablesaw rust, I did change the color and the thickness of the Styroform sheeting that I placed on all the machinery from white to a light blue made by Dow Chemical. The Dow sheets just looked so much better. And they were easier to cut and not as crumbly as the white ones were. But they also cost a little more. Before I did this, I think every fly and bug in the country landed and left spots on my Saws. The neighbors still come in and feel of the Styroform, but they don't leave handprints anymore.