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Lathe protection

protection in damp environment

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nathan talbot16/07/2021 13:37:40
24 forum posts
1 photos

Hello Everyone

I’ve recently moved to a new home but i have not as yet got a decent garage for may lathe to call home, so it is currently in a relatively new shipping container that i have hired on my premises have a mid-type lathe being a Harrison M250

Everything is fine at the moment, but I’m worried about possible condensation in the winter and damp in general.

I’m going to build a timber frame around it and clad it in marine OSB Board, to protect it in general as I have a lot of other stuff in there at the moment, but I was wondering what’s the best way to protect it,

I oil the ways and everything else pretty regularly

Do I totally enclose the lathe?

Can i I completely wrap it in cling film to keep the damp air out?

I know ventilation is key but I cant cut anymore vents into the container as its hired, there are some vents but air doesn’t move that well in there as it stinks of petrol when I open the door (have my kit car in there also)

I’m trying to avoid putting de-humidifiers and heaters in as this will get expensive

Has anyone got any suggestions?

brian roberts 216/07/2021 14:04:26
17 forum posts
2 photos

Hello Nathan,

If forced ventilation or dehumidifying is not possible, then it may help to oil the rust-prone surfaces and enclose the lathe in a polythene sheet which has been well taped up and lay a quantity of Silica Gel, or equivalent dessicant, on a tray inside the 'tent' to absorb the moisture in the air. The polythene sheet could even be used to line the inside of the wooden box and would then make access easier in future.

Good luck.


JA16/07/2021 16:51:40
1217 forum posts
73 photos


Almost everything is shipped around the world in containers. Things in side do not get rusty even in bad storms.

If you do not want access to the lathe for the moment and the container is in good condition try to find out how the shipping industry protects items inside containers. There must be recommendations, rules and industrial standards some where on the internet.


Howard Lewis16/07/2021 17:02:07
5228 forum posts
13 photos

There is another thread running on Covering the Lathe.

Do NOT totally enclose the lathe.

By all means cover it with a timber or MDF box, but leave the bottom open.

The box will prevent condensation from settling on the machine

The open bottom will allow moist air to fall put, to be replaced by lighter dry air.

Coating machined surfaces whilst in storage will help, but do cover..

Uncovered, my ML7 would soon be covered in a film of grey, emulsified oil, if the workshop was unheated.


Eric Sinclair16/07/2021 17:31:50
9 forum posts

You could try a commercial rust proofer such as Rocol Z30. Not cheap though.


Dave S16/07/2021 17:43:38
200 forum posts
41 photos

If your storing it get some boeshield on the machined surfaces.


not done it yet16/07/2021 19:06:26
6271 forum posts
20 photos

Ask yourself where any moisture comes from. If the container is air-tight, what is the problem - once the humidity is controlled at a sufficiently low level? The kit car appears to be a fire risk in an enclosed space while it is fuelled.

A dehumidifier is the fairly obvious route - as long as you are not trying to dehumidify the whole atmosphere by emitting dry air and replacing it with damp air.

You only need to condition at most a couple of thousand cubic feet (~60 cubic metres) of air and keep the temperature above dew point as long as the doors are kept closed and ventilation closed.

That means insulation to reduce heat loss, a decent desiccant dehumidifier (compressor types are hopeless below about 10 Celsius) and sufficient heat to ward off the dew point. Continued surface treatments (oil and such-like) would be a good idea, too.

IF you are only worried about the lathe (not boxing in the whole container🙂 ), box it in completely with good insulation and warm it to above dew point. Some means of desiccation for the box might be needed.

I collect little more than a couple of litres a week, in my heavily insulated and ‘fairly air-tight’ workshop, per week. It is about 30 cubic metres. I expect the water is due to inevitable air changes and some moisture through the concrete floor - even though it has a membrane below the top 200mm-250mm there is about 9 metres of perimeter open to the exterior.

A decent dehumidifier has a short pay-back, if you set the cost against the potential damage to you possessions.

Ady116/07/2021 19:18:55
4685 forum posts
713 photos

There are battery operated dehumidifiers about, two AA batteries lasts about a month, about 20 quid

They use a block of absorbent material which degrades but its about 8 quid for a refill block, pound shops sell the granular refills for a pound a pop, burst it open and pour the grains in, each refill last 3-4 weeks

Edited By Ady1 on 16/07/2021 19:21:49

Robert Atkinson 216/07/2021 20:32:01
1072 forum posts
20 photos

Do not use the single use dessicants,. They can liberate corrosive fumes. Use Silica gell if you must.

As others have said preservative oil (I like LPS-3 but it's not cheap) and a open bottomed cover is probably best for medium term storage.

Robert G8RPI.

Howard Lewis17/07/2021 14:04:14
5228 forum posts
13 photos


My Bandsaw lives outside, so is subject to a wide variation of temperature and humidity. The cover is a "box" made fro the material for curtainsider trailers.

With an occasional oil spray, rusdt is no problem.

The occasional snail finds it a suitable resting place!


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