Apprentice Visitor
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎01-10-2014

Rust Problem

I have a 10' x 20' out-building being used as my woodshop.  It's on skids, and during cold weather, I've been using a torpedo-style propane heater (35,000 btu) for heat.  The problem is that invariably my iron woodworking machinery (jointer, planer, tablesaw, etc.) is very cold from not being used, and heating the shop creates condensation, which in turn results in RUST.  It happens every time, and I'm trying to figure out a way to beat it.  I recently completely insulated the inside of the shop, including the rafters/ceiling, but my first try with the propane heater resulted in rust, again.  I'm sure that if I installed electric heating and kept it running, that would probably fix the problem by maintainining an overall warmer shop, even when not in use, but I'm trying to minimize costs as much as possible, hence the propane solution.  Any ideas out there?  Thanks!

Senior Contributor
Posts: 287
Registered: ‎11-22-2009

Re: Rust Problem

As long as you don't have cats in the shop; use the new kitty litter with "crystals". The crystals are silica gel. The litter can be heated to recharge the moisture absorbing properties. Either use open trays, i.e. litter boxes, or (if you have cats) use anything porus, clothes pin bags, tube socks, pantyhose so that the cats can't "use the facilities".

Senior Advisor
Posts: 1,574
Registered: ‎04-15-2010

Re: Rust Problem

Your propane heater is your problem. When propane burns it puts out a lot of water vapor. Heating a small shop this way creates a high level of moisture in the air. Cold machinary + high levels of moisture = rust. You need to heat the shop without adding the moisture. An electric heater would work better. (And it's not necessary to run the electric heater all the time.)

Honored Advisor
Posts: 4,054
Registered: ‎12-31-2009

Re: Rust Problem

True enough about the propane and the moisture.   Have you been covering the tops of the machines to help stop rust on the work surface?   and have you treated them?   won't stop rust there plastic underneath the floor to prevent ground moisture?

Veteran Contributor
Posts: 116
Registered: ‎03-07-2011

Re: Rust Problem

I am in almost exact same conditions as you, my shop is 12x24, no insulation. I use a multi fuel torpedo heater, it will accept kerosene,jet fuel, fuel oil and # 2 diesel fuel, I burn the diesel fuel and I have no rust problems at all. The shop is never heated until I go out to work. You may just want to switch to a torpedo that uses something other than propane.
Senior Advisor
Posts: 2,470
Registered: ‎10-23-2009

Re: Rust Problem

All of my tools sit in an unheated garage when not in use.  I only turn on my electric heater when I'm going to be working out there.  Use something like Boeshield T-9 on the cast iron and cover all of your tools.  You can buy the HTC tool covers (expensive but good), or use old bed sheets.  I use both, as well as some Tyvek gurney covers I obtained.  No problems with rusting.  I think covering the tools is the key.


Oh, and the wife's car get parked in there, as well.  It may be wet and/or snow covered when she pulls it in.

Frequent Contributor
Posts: 49
Registered: ‎12-05-2009

Re: Rust Problem

I have my shop in an old mobile home that has some air leaks in scattered areas because of age and wood rot.

I bought a dehumidifier at an auction for $25 and run it when I'm in the shop. I  heat in the winter with the "torpedo" type heater using diesel fuel.

I have my biggest problem with rust formation during the summer so I let it run until the bucket shuts it off. I use my shop 3 or 4 times a week in summer and 2 or 3 times during winter in north east Tennessee.

I hope this helps.




Senior Contributor
Posts: 165
Registered: ‎08-22-2014

Re: Rust Problem

I also use a torpedo heater. On all the metal surfaces I coat them a couple times a year with a paste wax. This works for me. I live in N.E. Missouri.

Semper Fi.....Al.


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