Shop Submerged: Got any tips on recovery?

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Forum topic by thiel posted 08-31-2011 05:21 AM 1926 views 0 times favorited 33 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View thiel's profile


387 posts in 3319 days

08-31-2011 05:21 AM

Topic tags/keywords: shop flood damage


My shop was completely submerged (8 feet deep) by Irene. I AM insured for flood and there are a lot worse situations out there, so my heart goes out to people who have bigger problems than mine. I hope everyone is safe after the storm, and if there’s any help I can provide to folks near me, please don’t hesitate to ask.

As for the flood, it brought lots of ULTRA-FINE silt into my shop, and all my tools were completely submerged in river water for about 6 hours. Since then they’ve been drying out, but I have not had the chance to wash/oil them because I’ve been dealing with other damage.

I wonder if any of you have experienced a flood and can share any lessons you learned on recovery? For example, is it worth it to try and refurb motors, or should I just replace? Refurbing takes time, but so does assembly of new stuff. As I said, I was insured for flood so replacement IS a possibility, but I hate to see stuff go to waste; that being said, I’ve always been a “time poor” woodworker, so it could take me months to get the shop back to fighting strength.

Thoughts? Thanks!


-- Laziness minus Apathy equals Efficiency

33 replies so far

View jusfine's profile


2422 posts in 2953 days

#1 posted 08-31-2011 05:28 AM

David, so sorry that has happened, wish you all the best in your recovery, I have not any experience with a flooded shop (mine is in the loft of our barn).

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View Manitario's profile


2630 posts in 2910 days

#2 posted 08-31-2011 05:41 AM

sorry to hear about the flood David. I’ve regularly had water in the basement, but a 1/2 inch of water is nothing compared to 8ft, I can’t imagine the sick feeling you must have had. I’m sure you’ll get some good suggestions from the other LJ’s here, hope you get things up and running soon.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View MoshupTrail's profile


304 posts in 2508 days

#3 posted 08-31-2011 05:47 AM

Aren’t some motors supposed to be completely sealed to keep out dust? Will they also keep out water? They might. Would be worth a try for things like the TS and BS and the Jointer.

-- Some problems are best solved with an optimistic approach. Optimism shines a light on alternatives that are otherwise not visible.

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3335 days

#4 posted 08-31-2011 05:52 AM

I had a shop that was under 12 ft of water for 3 weeks and it pretty much ruined everything. Moved and built a new shop and bought all new tools.

View pariswoodworking's profile


389 posts in 2512 days

#5 posted 08-31-2011 06:37 AM

Never experienced a flood but I would try to salvage everything I could. Most of you hand tools are probable fine but they may rust. As for the power tools, I would try to clean them the best I could but if they are beyond repair, I would let insurence replace them. This is just my opinion. Sorry to hear about your shop.

-- Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. -- Albert Einstein

View MedicKen's profile


1615 posts in 3489 days

#6 posted 08-31-2011 08:55 AM

The motors will have to be completely disassembled and then rinsed with clean water. Then place them in a warm oven, 150-200 degrees, for a few hours to make sure they are dry. Air drying will work but will take days. The oven will slowly heat the parts and dry the insides of the windings. Water and electricity is usually not good. I have dried many motors this way over the years and have a 100% success rate.

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3142 days

#7 posted 08-31-2011 09:18 AM

realy sorry to hear I just myself experienced a floded shop
but you wuold barely get wet feet with 4-5 inch compared to yours
I wuold say let the powertools be even thuogh you can change motors
its takes tooo many hours to clean them and they are prtty easy to priceset
but its nearly impossiple to priceset all the small tools if there is older/vintage/antiqué
tool among them if you ever have try´d to lay them up to be photoghaphed
you will have a clue of how much you have then there is all the small estra´s
that just make it a lot funnyer and easyer to use tools like the drillbits to drillpress or brace
line washing and oil tables up in a room with a dehumidfire and heat
wash and scrup the tools … dry them like if it was the dishes :-)
place them on the oiltable so the dehumidfire can take the rest then oil the metal with a 3 in 1 oil
yes it takes alot of time and you still have to wait for the woodhandles etc. to dry too
but the emergency oiling will give you the time to let it dry slowly don´t force the drying of the wood handles
it will possiple take you the hole winter before you are finish but you will never be able to
get the same amount of tools exstra´s from wha the ensurance pay you even if they pay enoff
it will take alot of time to collect them again if possiple …. many tools ain´t made today
get some help from a few good freinds so you can get the washing done in relative short time ….
a weekend or two and let the insurence pay for the big stuff including cabinets shelfs etc.
and all the screws nails and what ells hardware you have don´t forget the sandpaper , sharpeningstones,etc
there is a lot of small things that is just needed but can´t be saved … but cost a small fortune to get again
make a compleet list over it don´t gess what it cost… will gess way too low

good luck

View DamnYankee's profile


3301 posts in 2589 days

#8 posted 08-31-2011 10:55 AM

While I am all about recovery, I think I’d look at it as an opportunity to upgrade some tools.

-- Shameless - Winner of two Stumpy Nubs Awards

View Flyin636's profile


57 posts in 2521 days

#9 posted 08-31-2011 11:02 AM

Best of luck with whatever you decide.Flyin636

View Knothead62's profile


2584 posts in 2988 days

#10 posted 08-31-2011 02:15 PM

Sorry to hear of your loss, along with a whole bunch of others, in the NE. People don’t realize what damage and devastation flooding can cause. Good luck in recovering your possessions. Power tools would be a loss and not worth the time to try to rework them. Let the insurance folks take care of you.

View racerglen's profile


3112 posts in 2807 days

#11 posted 08-31-2011 02:22 PM

I think the power tools are a write off. Some years ago we rented a mobile home that had been flooded three feet up the walls. It’d been gone through by a professional resto company, but years later there was still fine fine dust everywhere’d vacume daily, and still it came back. even with the motors sealed there’ll be crud in there somewhere..and rust is comming as well..
Take the best payout you can get and good luck..

-- Glen, B.C. Canada

View Earlextech's profile


1162 posts in 2717 days

#12 posted 08-31-2011 02:57 PM

I hope the LJ that posted a thread saying he thought the storm was overhyped reads this post. Sorry for your problems, I lost everything in Andrew years ago.

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "Finished"!

View Bertha's profile


13529 posts in 2720 days

#13 posted 08-31-2011 03:12 PM

Sorry to hear this. I would listen to MedicKen’s advice; he no doubt has restored more machines than I’ve even handled. I’m the type of guy that would probably worry about it for the rest of my life and would probably replace the machines that are more easily replaced. I’m not sure how your insurance works but if you get to KEEP the damaged goods, you could refurb a few and donate/sell them. It’s just bad all the way around. I lost my house in Katrina and I won’t even go into how much work I’d invested in the home.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View patron's profile


13608 posts in 3368 days

#14 posted 08-31-2011 03:16 PM

sorry to hear this
my prayers for the insurance covering this

as you say
others had it even worse

thank God you are all safe

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View thiel's profile


387 posts in 3319 days

#15 posted 08-31-2011 03:19 PM

Thanks guys (and gals). Honestly, we’re in a good place. It’s a bit of an odd situation, but I live at a school—in a school owned house—so the school facilities people (each one of whom is like Tom Silva on steroids) has already set about the cleanup of the house and grounds. We evacuated the house and moved just a few hundred yards up the street into a dorm with some friends. Bottom line is we’ve got it pretty easy as far as catastophes go.

I called an electrics repair joint in town they said to simply toss the small hand tools, so I instead gave them away to the temp workers who were helping to haul stuff out of the flood. I hope they get some use out of them. I had an old model planer, so I tossed that.

In terms of the stationery tools, I’d imagined that restoring my bandsaw (Grizz 14”) would be relatively straightforward because it’s open and upright and the motor just sticks in the side. Same thing with the jointer I think…. and felt the same way about my lathe: essentially put a new motor (or maybe whole headstock?) and I’d be back in business. The tablesaw is I think a different story… I could spend days on it and it would still be out of balance, rusting inside, etc.

I am even thinking about using my now-not-flat-bench for a while to see if it bothers me. I have other flat surfaces and I hate to see it tossed and useless.

Thoughts? Am I reading this right or is my ignorance showing?

-- Laziness minus Apathy equals Efficiency

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