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Rust Protection

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Chris Suddell07/10/2021 13:40:54
13 forum posts


I'm having a bit of a nightmare keeping rust from forming on my Lathe and Mill both Warco.

I only use them once a month and every time I go back to them rust has formed.

I have used anti corrosion oil over winter and during this summer with a duvet covering them at night.

Apart from two vices all other steel items in my garage are rust free.

I'm a little miffed. Any help would be nice, I don't want them getting really rusty bad.

Journeyman07/10/2021 13:57:11
1147 forum posts
230 photos

The best solution for rust prevention is to maintain constant environmental conditions. This can be achieved in a well insulated workshop with a modicum of background heating in the winter. Rapid temperature changes will encourage condensation on cold machinery.

My equipment Warco WM250 lathe and WM14 mill have been in my outside timber workshop for 14years and do not get any rust. No special treatment just ordinary oiling and no covers. Workshop is home-built has 2" rockwool in the walls and 4" in the roof. Background heating from a thermostatically controlled fan heater. Temperature maintained at about 10degC. When it gets cold RH remains at about 50%.

I should add that the workshop is multi-use and gets to store my bike even if it is wet from a ride so no special care taken to prevent moisture. I even have a sink and wash all sorts including hands. The 3D printer doesn't like it when it gets cold and I store filaments in a box with silica get to maintain 30-40% RH which is how I know that the overall workshopl RH is generally higher.


Edit: add para

Edited By Journeyman on 07/10/2021 14:06:24

KWIL07/10/2021 14:07:33
3550 forum posts
70 photos

Chris, the use of a fabric cover is not a good idea, they tend to atract moisture from the air.

I kept lathe in an unheated wooden shed with no insulation for around 20+ years just using oil on all bare metal, little or no rust problems as I recall. Still have the lathe, some 40+ years later and still no rust, but is now in a heated workshop.

Dave Halford07/10/2021 14:33:23
2014 forum posts
23 photos

As above, loose the duvet. It seems like a good idea, but isn't

Bo'sun07/10/2021 14:33:41
602 forum posts
2 photos

I use a desiccant dehumidifier with a constant drain and it works well for me with a little surface oiling from time to time. I prefer the desiccant type to the refrigerant type because they seem to work better at lower temperatures.

Howard Lewis08/10/2021 12:34:59
6025 forum posts
14 photos


For rust to form there must be Oxygen and Water (Moisture )

If the air is above the dew point, moisture will not condense on a cold surface.

Alternatively, if the relative humidity is low, condensation is less likely.

Summing it up, ideally; keep the air dry (Dehumidifier ) and above the dew point (Heater, but dry heat, NOT combustion , unless the products of combustion are vented directly outside.

What can t you do/

Insulate the shop. (My small wooden shop has 50 mm glass fibre in all walls and the roof. A 2 Kw fan heater usually runs for about 15 mins before the thermostat shuts off. Then, it runs for about ten minutes in each hour. But my shop is small and in UK, East Anglia.)

Ventilate; with a vent as low as possible. Moist air is heavier than dry, so a low vent allows it to go outside.

(Church walls without a damp course are kept dry by unglazed tubes set into the wall so that they slope downwa towards the outside. 

This implies a high level vent to allow air in to replace the moist air that goes out through the low level vent.

(My shop has two small fixed vents at floor level and a high level intake for an intake fan, with an external hood open at the bottom to exclude rain. )

As said, dispense with the duvet, since this may retain moisture.

The old, uninsulated, shop, the oil on the Myford was often milky and emulsifying with moisture. The insulated shop, rust is almost unknown. In winter, a 60 Watt tubular heater under the bench is left on and after a couple of days the steel benches are just warm to the touch,

So ventilate, keep as dry and as warm as possible.


Baz08/10/2021 12:52:37
713 forum posts
2 photos

Totally agree with Bo’sun, I keep a desiccant dehumidifier running in the workshop, a single skin brick double garage and have no rust problems. I did have a refrigerant dehumidifier but it froze up solid every winter. A bonus of the dessicant type is that you get a bit of warm air out of it, every little helps!

Brian Morehen08/10/2021 13:09:06
189 forum posts
11 photos

Have you tried a Hessian Sack I have used mine for over 40 yrs no problen , May be because you can see through the the woven sructure if you hold this up to the light . If you can find one today?.



Bazyle08/10/2021 14:11:17
6300 forum posts
222 photos

I think a duvet is too thick and cannot breathe so it will be perpetually damp. Just a cotton sheet works best.
If you have replaced some of your old incandescent bulbs with LEDs recently like you should have rig say two 60W bulbs in series in the cabinet under the lathe. In series they will reduce to just a few watts each. this will mean teh lathe is still cold but it is hotter than anything else, so should push the moisture away to your other tools.

not done it yet08/10/2021 14:19:31
6744 forum posts
20 photos

My small (up to 8 litres water collection per day at full power) desiccant dehumidifier consumes approx 375W on its lowest setting. I only run it for a couple hours each night most of the winter. Three when quite cold and occasionally four if very cold. I do sometimes need extra warmth when in situ, but not too often and not much when I do.

I invested in insulation and draught-proofing which saves me as much as a tenner a week (compared to how Baz runs his dehumidifier) - although it would turn off when down to its set humidity level.

Three hours per night costs less than a quid per week, which I reckon is cheap to protect my machines

At current leccy prices it would cost ~£2 per week if it ran during the day for those three hours.

bernard towers08/10/2021 23:11:32
577 forum posts
109 photos

I have 5 machines in an unseated and uninsulated garage but don’t suffer with rust problems, I put it down to using hyd oil as a cutting lube.

Alan Charleston09/10/2021 05:59:11
134 forum posts
22 photos

Hi Chris,

Try a 20% solution of lanolin in turps. I find it effective.



Bo'sun09/10/2021 08:59:15
602 forum posts
2 photos

Why Lanolin? I recall using it as an apprentice to protect measuring instruments in the metrology department.

I guess if it keeps sheep dry, it must have something going for it.

Circlip09/10/2021 11:27:13
1502 forum posts

To give it its trade name, Waxoyl.

Regards Ian.

dieseldaz24/10/2021 13:03:36
2 forum posts

I also had the same issue although I have insulated my workshop, in the end I fitted an inexpensive greenhouse heater tube on the floor near the workbench and lathe, 120 watt from memory.

Works a treat and keeps the chill off even when in the minus temps, I dont have it on all the time and I can control both the greenhouse heater and the main oil radiator via wifi smartplugs so I dont need to visit workshop to turn off and on plus the benefit of turning the heating on from work before I leave to come home if Im planning to spend a cold evening in the workshop!


Lee Rogers24/10/2021 15:46:53
166 forum posts

Dehumidifier as above works for me. Time is tight for many of us but I also stick my head round the door and give it all a quick spray over with WD or similar every 3 or 4 days as required, no need to make a mission of the task just do it regularly.

bricky24/10/2021 16:14:26
572 forum posts
68 photos

A Dehumidifier on economy seven, plus in mid winter hesian sacks ,this works well for me .I don't know how much this costs though,I might have to think again with the price rises forecast.I don't heat the workshop so that I don't get fluctuations in temperature which can cause condensation to form,I just dress appropriatley when working.


duncan webster24/10/2021 16:59:40
3943 forum posts
63 photos
Posted by Bo'sun on 09/10/2021 08:59:15:

Why Lanolin? I recall using it as an apprentice to protect measuring instruments in the metrology department.

I guess if it keeps sheep dry, it must have something going for it.

Esholt (Bradford) sewage works used to extract lanolin from effluent, there was a big wool industry in Bradford. Among others they sold it to cosmetic manufacturers. They also heat treated the solids and sold them to gardeners. Good stuff by all accounts

Dave Halford24/10/2021 17:01:46
2014 forum posts
23 photos

It might be caused by chemical means.

That rust causing non acidic flux for soft solder you can get these days.

Brick cleaner have a quiet slow leak out of sight.

Garden products like cheap lawn food usually, green leakage.

Etc etc.

Samsaranda24/10/2021 17:07:45
1407 forum posts
5 photos

A dehumidifier and oil filled radiator on economy seven and 100 mm of Celotex insulation in the walls and 50 mm Celotex between the roof joists, insulation definitely works. Dave W

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