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Preventing Tool Rust

An accidental discovery by one reader leads to rust prevention on tool beds and tables.

When I turn on the heat in my uninsulated shop, you can almost watch the rust form on the machined surfaces of my tablesaw, jointer, etc. I tried commercial rust preventers, but they didn't last long or transferred to my project materials.

Purely by accident, I found that spar varnish, sprayed on my machine tabletops, effectively prevents rust. After a light sanding with 400-grit paper, the surfaces are shiny and smooth, with no transfer to my workpieces. It's been more than 6 months since the treatment, and I've not seen a speck of rust.

- John Gaeler, Keswick, Ont.



Comments (8)
peteshermet wrote:

Boeshield T9 works very well!

8/6/2013 10:08:03 PM Report Abuse
ddavey807304 wrote:

I'd like to know what the Wood Magazine staff thinks of the spar varnish technique.

8/4/2013 08:32:21 AM Report Abuse
lawalkowski wrote:

Quite by accident I discovered that old mineral spirits previously used to clean brushes does quite well. Have only used it for a few months but great so far. It dries quickly but I usually give it a quick wipe down the next day to really bring out the shine. I save the mineral spirits after cleaning brushes and let it set until all the paint residue settles out then use the clear liquid for the first rinse, so to speak, the next time I clean brushes.

8/2/2013 08:09:09 PM Report Abuse
hshadley4083 wrote:

Ever tried talcum powder? I live in the wet pacific northwest, and my table saw is in a carport. I dust it with talcum powder and rub it in with a rag. Then I dust it again and cover it with old towels and then a small tarp. It seriously reduces rust formation.

8/2/2013 02:33:41 PM Report Abuse
gewinger wrote:

When mold and mildew are present, high humidity is the issue in your shop. Get a decent de-humidifier and start drying out your shop. Use a good disinfectant on surfaces with mold already (Chlorox bleach 50:50 H2O)

8/2/2013 07:39:50 AM Report Abuse
jabonin1 wrote:

My shop is covered on all sides and the top, but is open to the outside air. Although in the day it is usually dry, at night it gets humid here in SoCal. I had problems with my cast iron tops on my jointer, band saw and table saw turning brown with rust - even though I cleaned and covered them with CRC C-36. I recently cut a sheet of 1/4" grey-covered melamine to make covers for each of my cast iron surfaces. I cover them at night. It is doing a fantastic job of keeping the rust away.

8/1/2013 12:12:00 PM Report Abuse
peglang1 wrote:

I just did some research. I better go turn that fan off. Looks like my problem is worse than rust. But thanks for the tip, John. Stay warm up there this winter.

9/5/2011 12:37:02 PM Report Abuse
peglang1 wrote:

Do you get rust on the unprotected surfaces? I was thinking of the sides or underneath of your table tops. My shop is insulated. I have a problem with mildew. Will the problem stop when I turn the heat on? I've been keeping the ceiling fan going the last few weeks. Tonight I turned on some brighter lights and saw the growth on the edges of the Melamine, some plywood and a piece of leather.

9/5/2011 12:38:18 AM Report Abuse

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