Storing Tools


Old 09-29-05, 12:40 PM
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Smile Storing Tools

My father passed away awhile ago and I've inherited a huge collection of old and new hand and power tools. Quite a bit of it, I've sold off or discarded for a variety of reasons. what I'm keeping, I need to put into storage for current space considerations for the time being.

The tools were originally stored in a workshop in the mountains. The workshop survived for about 30 years with almost zero maintenance, no HVAC of any sort, and heavy winters at an elevation of about 8,000 feet. Most of the tools were covered in insane amounts of sticky oily saw dust (I lost some of my own tools dissambling the bigger machines).

The tools will be moved into the valley with an elevation of 150 feet where high temperatures in the summer and high moisture in the air during winter are the norm. They will all be stored in an above ground room with shelving. Temperature changes in storage isn't exactly regulated, there are large changes.

The things range from:

Hand saws ranging from a short 12" saw to a long 6'? two person lumber jack saw. Most have stylized wooden handles, nothing like what you would find at Home Depot. Hammers from a variety of ages, ranging from new high tech hammers with carbon composite(?) handles to old claw hammers with hard wood stylized handles. There's also the prerequisite collection of other tools such as screw drivers, clamps, wrenches, etc. etc.

Power tools include:
MasterCraft (Sears) band saw with an external motor.
A press drill with exposed motor and belts. ie it has no covers like most newer press drills.
A custom built Table Saw constructed by Father's hand (my prize possession).
An outrageously heavy planer.

Hand power tool include SkilSaws, Drills, Chain Saws, etc.

All of the power tools have external motors and none look like the original motors.The oldest apparently from the late 80's and the newest with a date from 2000.

I know the obvious of keeping water off the tools, but anyone have any advice on how should I be storing this stuff? Do I need to oil/grease anything prior to storage? Wrap them in some kind of cloth? Crate them? Keep them open for air circulation? What? I'm not exactly sure how long I plan on keeping them in the store room.
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Old 09-29-05, 12:57 PM
majakdragon's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2003
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SavannahLion, Welcome to the DIY Forums.
I can almost guarantee you will receive a multitude of answers here. The "sticky oily sawdust" probably provided a moisture barrier that is needed to keep the tools from rusting. The motors are a different story. Watch this post for lots of great answers to your problem. Good luck.
Old 09-29-05, 01:31 PM
IBM5081's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Texas
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Here's my shot at it:
WD-40 is NOT a preservative.
Take off each drive belt, label it, measure it and note which machine uses it. Leave the pulleys empty.
For each external motor, put a cover on top of it, but leave the rest open.
Store everything off the floor so that air can circulate. Put light tools on shelves, heavy tools up on bricks or stone on the floor. Avoid wood boxes and shelving as they retain moisture.
Leave everything with its natural oil-and-sawdust patina since it has worked well. Light, non-gumming machine oil on surfaces that are bare. For all-metal, non-motor tools, they could be stored in a metal bucket of used motor oil, completely submerged.
Since retrieval from storage is uncertain now, just get it stored and worry about reviving it later.
Old 09-30-05, 06:58 AM
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Join Date: May 2004
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Power tools :

other than the saw built by your father I wouldnt bother moving or storing any of it

you say oldest is mid 80's well thats not that long ago tool wise so there is no "collector value " nor are they items that will increase in value collector age wise in the forseable future

I would sell them off , the cash is far easier to store and move

when you get to the point you need a tool take some of what you got out of the sale and buy what you need .

Hand tools :

easier to move and store , living in humid sw fl where steel rusts as it is made I buy wd40 by the gal , pour it into a spray bottle and spray everything well once a month or so
Old 09-30-05, 07:09 AM
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Mango man has a good point regarding storage. If the storage area available to you costs you nothing and you are tired of disposing of the remnant of the collection, just chuck it in there and lubricate it occasionally.
I assume that you already have sold off what has some value in order to minimize the collection. You might consider taking pictures and selling the interesting stuff that remains on Ebay.
I assume that everything that is left is in working order and you have a use for it, regardless of age.
Old 09-30-05, 07:04 PM
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For the handtools you'll want to get a roll of industrial waxpaper. Sorry to say I dont know where you could get it,maybe Grainger or MSC {industrial supply cos.} Most machinery manufacturers use it to wrap their parts for shipment. A thin coating of oil on the finished surfaces of the power tools will protect them also. You could also use dessicant packets {the little packets that come in shoe boxes that say "dont eat", they absorb moisture} in the storage area or in the boxes the tools are stored in.
Old 09-30-05, 10:49 PM
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Originally Posted by mango man
other than the saw built by your father I wouldnt bother moving or storing any of it
I have no choice. The shop is near collapse. After my father's death, each winter weakens the structural integrity of the building aka shop. With the sheer volume of lumber stored in the building, the weight alone is collapsing the building. Imagine, if you will, a four story building on a mountain side where the slope difference between front to back is more than 25'(?). The supports on the bottom floor are actually bending down hill. Make it worse with previous harsh winters destroying the walls on the lower floors, the support timbers on the lower two floors are currently exposed to the elements. The actual shop resides on the third floor up and ended up not suffering any serious damage. But if the lower floors collapse, I'm going to lose a lot more than the shop and what's in it. It'll destroy another storage building lower down the mountain and possibly damage a septic pump as well. I've got lots of drama I guess :\

We're working on removing what needs to be removed, discarded, or sold off. What I'm describing is what I'm keeping. Mostly for nostalgia reasons. I have very fond memories of the Table Saw (which I never have any intention of getting rid of), and other tools I currently have. As far as I know, they all work and require only some minor maintenance and cleanup before using. I just currently lack a viable wood shop.

Originally Posted by mango man
Power tools :
you say oldest is mid 80's well thats not that long ago tool wise so there is no "collector value "
Whoops, I should clarify. I estimate the motors to be no older than the 80's. For example, one of the motors is a Craftsman 1HP 113.19040. Unfortunately, there isn't much information and the reprinted manual isn't dated. I'll gamble the machines are older than the motors. For example, the Drill press I mentioned is a Delta DP220 similar to the one pictured here (not my photo). The other is a jointer made by Davis & Wells. Googling for Davis & Wells shows they no longer manufacture the tools but, instead, operate a boneyard for replacement parts. Manufacturing occurred between 1935 - 1983. I found someone that has some photos and dates it to at least the 70's. I don't think I have the metal base, or I may have missed it since my father constructed a wooden base for many of his shop tools. I suppose to make it easier to transport from job site to site during his career.

Current storage considerations are free, but limited. My father's tools have to vie for my other small collections and my own tools. I have other storage available to me that belonged to my father, but I haven't gotten around to assessing them.

Ampz, what does Industrial Wax Paper look like? Is it like a heavy duty version of the wax paper they use in meat shops?

I'm not too keen on using WD40. I use WD40 on a regular basis to clean some of my gardening tools and to prevent rust, but the oil collects dust and dirt like crazy. So I don't tend to use it on the tools with moving parts (such as clippers). I've been using some machine oil I borrowed from my last job, but I haven't been able to find any to buy. I work at Home Depot, I know I have it in stock, but none of the kids there know what it looks like, so I'm still looking. I've got to shuffle in there when I know the 50 year old guys are working, they ought to know what it looks like.

My father was HUGE on motor oil, especially used. Not sure if any of it is viable, but I'll dig it out and see what I can do with it. I know my dad used motor oil to lubricate some of the machinery such as the Drill Press, but used oil for long term storage? Isn't used motor oil corrosive from the impurities in there? I think I read somewhere that some cars leaked gasoline into their oil (and vice versa) and the gasoline is inherently corrosive and ruins the viscosity of the oil. Not sure how accurate my memory on that is though.

I really appreciate the advice. It's given me some other options. I was actually considering building some wood crates for some of the bigger machinery and stacking them. But if wood absorbs moisture, I really don't want to risk rusting out some otherwise beautifully preserved tools. Gut instinct told me I have to raise all the heavy tools above the floor anyways, I figure at least 8" is perfect, the same height as the 8" masonry blocks.
Old 10-03-05, 07:27 AM
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Motor oil is a good lubricant, but used motor oil is a carcinogen. Stick to new oil.
Old 10-03-05, 08:23 AM
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The imploding building adds some urgency. Go rent a space sufficient to hold all the tools and get that structure out of there. Otherwise, you will have a larger task to accomplish. The rental cost should not exceed the repair costs if it collapses. Just move it all.
Old 10-05-05, 02:32 PM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 281
AMSOIL MP HD works very well for preserving metal items, but I would keep it off the wood handles and such.

It is a wax based spray lubricant.

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