Prep Power Tools for Storage

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Forum topic by Chris posted 09-16-2013 06:56 AM 1385 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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17 posts in 2558 days

09-16-2013 06:56 AM

Hello everyone! I’ve been a member on here for some time, and visit frequently, but this is my first post. I searched for prior posts, and came up short. Feel free to post a link.

What is the best way to prep large power tools (cabinet saw and jointer in particular) for long-term storage?

I’m in the military, and getting out in a few months, and will be moving back east. I’m coming from Arizona, where the humidity is very low. I’m concerned that it will be a while before I get settled in to the point I can get the shop set back up, and my tools will start to rust while in storage. Does anyone have any experience with this? I was thinking about just cleaning them up really good and putting a decent coat of Johnson’s paste wax on the table tops and perhaps sealing them with shrink wrap or something. Storage time will likely be 3-4 months, unless I can’t find a place with a garage at a decent price. Let me know if you need more information. Any help here is greatly appreciated!

10 replies so far

View jonah's profile


1695 posts in 3293 days

#1 posted 09-16-2013 12:40 PM

I wouldn’t seal them with shrink wrap. If it melts to the cast iron (a definite possibility), it’ll take forever to get off. I would find a large can of T9 Boeshield, apply that liberally, and then slop some paste wax on top of that. You should probably take the belts off the tools as well.

View 8iowa's profile


1580 posts in 3755 days

#2 posted 09-16-2013 02:20 PM

Twice a year I have to “close up shop” as I cycle between Gainesville FL and Michigan’s U.P.

Johnson’s paste wax is a terrific rust inhibitor. Put it on your cast iron surfaces and aluminum as well. Buff it well and there will be no rust or oxidation. I also wax and buff the chrome plated way tubes to avoid “pin points” of rust.

For my precision tools, such as combination squares and calipers, I wipe them with Rem Oil (better than WD-40) even if some of the parts are stainless steel. When I return they are in perfect shape. I also use Rem Oil on saw blades and hand planes. In fact, just about any small tool with exposed metal surfaces.

I also like to release the tension on my band saw blade. In fact I usually do this after each use.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View marcelmeister's profile


3 posts in 1690 days

#3 posted 10-04-2013 09:01 AM

There are various ideas to preparing power tools for long term storage. Clean up the parts initially for any previous remains. You can apply Wd 40 on to metallic parts, drain fuel tank and oil if present. Chords need to be secured; keys need to be separately stored before opting long term storage. If you can keep tools in climate controlled atmosphere its well and good and do opt for a dust proof and termite proof floor. Dust and frost free conditions would be ideal.

View jmartel's profile


7879 posts in 2144 days

#4 posted 10-04-2013 02:36 PM

Honestly, I didn’t do a thing to mine. I packed up last November, and didn’t take them out of storage until July. Still worked fine, still look just fine, no signs of rust, etc.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View MrRon's profile


4764 posts in 3237 days

#5 posted 10-04-2013 11:43 PM

Remove all vee belts from machines that use them. Store them in a plastic bag until you come back. If the humidity is low, you shouldn’t have any problem with rust; a coat of wax as previously noted.

View Whiskers's profile


389 posts in 2021 days

#6 posted 10-05-2013 01:20 AM

Ok, why remove belts? I want to know. As a note to the original question, this don’t apply to the big tools but whenever you buy stuff there are often little silicon bead packs in tools. I never throw those out, love to strew them around in toolboxes.

View firefighterontheside's profile


18150 posts in 1851 days

#7 posted 10-05-2013 02:06 AM

I would say dont shrink wrap, because any condensation from changes in temperature may get trapped. For the large tools protect with rust inhibitors and build crates that protect from physical damage during transport.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View jonah's profile


1695 posts in 3293 days

#8 posted 10-05-2013 02:48 AM

You want to remove belts because a prolonged period with tension on the belt but where the belt doesn’t rotate at all can deform the belt. It will lead to shudders on startup and slowdown, and could eventually cause more problems. Keeping the belt in a plastic bag would prevent it from drying out, though that’s not a step I’d worry too much about, personally.

View Purrmaster's profile


915 posts in 2087 days

#9 posted 10-05-2013 02:53 AM

With low humidity you’ll probably be fine with just wax. Here in Oregon where the humidity is always high wax almost never does the trick. My planes rust like crazy.

For hand planes you can get “plane socks.” These are silicon impregnated cotton that is supposed to inhibit rust. You can get them from “Sack Ups” These guys manufacture plane sacks for Lie Nielsen and Veritas. If you have some spare silica gel canisters or bags you may want to throw them in the plane sock.

For exposed metal surfaces like table saws and jointers you can use wax or a product called “Glide Cote”. It’s supposed to give greater slickness and rust protection than wax. I have some and I can’t say I see any real difference between it and Johnson’s paste wax. But the high humidity here may be too much for either product.

You might want to throw a tarp over things too.

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3887 days

#10 posted 10-05-2013 02:55 AM

take them inside

away from “dew point”

bigger tools like shapers

spray with grease

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

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