Red Cedar causing rust?

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Forum topic by swirt posted 11-12-2010 05:52 AM 1292 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View swirt's profile


2737 posts in 2970 days

11-12-2010 05:52 AM

Topic tags/keywords: cedar rust

Anyone ever heard of red cedar causing steel to rust? A few months back I built this saw rack
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and today I noticed one of my saws had rust on the blade in a line that was clearly from contact with the holder. I checked the others and found rust on two others in the same pattern.

I built the saw holder form scraps, mainly pine but I also used three pieces of red cedar. Upon closer inspection I found that the rust coincided with contact with the cedar blocks and only the cedar, not the pine. I know cedar shingles can cause certain nails to corrode and cause stain. So I imagine the same pitch could cause steel saws to rust…just never thought of it before now.

I’ve applied a few coats of shellac to the surface of the blocks so they don’t contact the saw directly, and I’ll be keeping a closer eye on them I’ll also make sure my less desirable saws are the ones in contact with the cedar…. just to play it safe.

-- Galootish log blog,

9 replies so far

View mrg's profile


823 posts in 2997 days

#1 posted 11-12-2010 06:21 AM

I left a red cedar board on my tablesaw over night and it stained the table in that area. Not rust but turned it reddish brown. I tried buffing it out but no differece.

-- mrg

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 3057 days

#2 posted 11-12-2010 07:08 AM

I wonder if possibly red cedar tends to absorb moisture from the air and therefore promoting corrosion/rust? That would be my guess. Did the saw rack have a finish on it?

-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View Dez's profile


1166 posts in 4075 days

#3 posted 11-12-2010 08:37 AM

Tannin in the cedar can cause rust. If the cedar wasn’t totally dry could cause rusting and most cedar is pretty wet when you pick it up from the lumberyard unless they keep it inside. Cedar fencing and outdoor furiture requires stainless or epoxy coated fasteners to avoid rust stains.

-- Folly ever comes cloaked in opportunity!

View swirt's profile


2737 posts in 2970 days

#4 posted 11-12-2010 02:04 PM

mrg, that’s interesting. Sorry I don’t have a solution for you.

Doc, the outside of the saw rack had finish on it, but the slots where the saws rest, did not. They do now ;)

Dez I think you are right about the tannins. These scraps had been air drying n my basement for several years.

-- Galootish log blog,

View FirehouseWoodworking's profile


706 posts in 3271 days

#5 posted 11-12-2010 06:38 PM

I agree with Dez. I think you have a tannin problem leaching from the cedar.

-- Dave; Lansing, Kansas

View Jack_T's profile


623 posts in 3029 days

#6 posted 11-12-2010 08:48 PM

Why not replace the cedar with pine.

-- Jack T, John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life."

View swirt's profile


2737 posts in 2970 days

#7 posted 11-12-2010 11:19 PM

Jack that would be my best option. ... actually my best option is to build a new one because I already have more saws than will fit in the rack, but that’s another story ;)

The way I glued it together would become a broken mess if I tried to break the joints and replace the 3 cedar pieces with pine. It would be easier just to build a new one…a bigger one…. a much bigger one :)

-- Galootish log blog,

View fredf's profile


495 posts in 3708 days

#8 posted 11-13-2010 02:14 AM

could you drill into the cedar pieces from the bottom and put a couple dowels in that were slightly wider than the cedar pieces to space the blade away??

-- Fred, Springfield, Ma

View swirt's profile


2737 posts in 2970 days

#9 posted 11-13-2010 02:56 AM

FredF that is a very clever idea. If the shellac doesn’t prevent the problem, I will probably just put glue a piece of veneer over the cedar so the veneer will be touching the saw plate instead of the cedar, but your idea of dowel rails might actually be easier.

-- Galootish log blog,

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