Sort of a machining project

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Re: Sort of a machining project

Post by Harold_V » Fri Dec 17, 2021 6:23 pm

SteveM wrote:
Fri Dec 17, 2021 1:15 pm
While the outsides of Gerstner boxes are oak,
Yes, they are, assuming they're made of oak. Not all of them are.
I am not fond of oak, in spite of the fact that we happen to have several antique oak pieces of furniture (book cabinet, hall bench, library table and china cabinet) in our eclectic home.

My first Gerstner, the large one that will accommodate a 24" rule, was made of (solid) mahogany, which I didn't particularly like. It was purchased new for the handsome sum of $75. This was back in the spring of '58. You can see what has happened to the value of the dollar, considering the same box, today, is near $2,000.

I've always liked walnut, so my current one is made of that, and it, too, is solid. The only thing that isn't walnut is the drawer bottoms and the hardware, as well as the wool felt that lines the box and drawers.

Tom commented about rusting on chisels. Yep! If the wood used isn't completely dry, you can expect rusting. Note that in tool boxes, the tools are not in direct contact with the wood.

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Re: Sort of a machining project

Post by pete » Mon Jan 03, 2022 5:49 pm

Fwiw and maybe to save someone a nasty surprise at some point. Those desiccant packs aren't permanent. They have a limit of just how much moisture that can be absorbed. I've no idea if those desiccant packages can be dried in an oven or not, but there are some desiccant types where that's possible. I worked at a coal testing lab in the 1970's and we used a fair amount of loose granular desiccant. The type we used would also change from white to a light pink color as it got full of moisture so it was easy to tell when it needed to go back in a low heat oven to have the moisture it contained driven off so it could be reused.

And there's a very logical reason holes or tight fitting slots in wood blocks can sometimes rust tools if you understand the internal structure of wood. By far it absorbs moisture the most through it's end grain cellular structure. That's how it pulls moisture up into the tree they require to survive. So drilling holes into the face or edge of a wooden block is always going to cut through and expose that open end grain. The air borne humidity that cellular structure naturally absorbs is what then rusts the tools. Although as mentioned the tannins some species of oak contain can cause rust. There's also a few variety's of of tropical hard woods that are even worse for rusting tools. With a non rusting variety of wood, one old trick you can use is to fill the holes or slots with a light machine oil for a few days and let the wood then absorb all it's going to. Dump the residual out and let it drain by gravity for another few days. Since the wood cells are already full of that oil, it will vastly reduce any further moisture the wood will absorb and the minor amount of oil the tool shafts will pick up further helps to reduce any rusting. In what would be standard thicknesses of any wood finishing product, I don't know of any that are capable of completely and permanently sealing the wood, so adding that oil seems to be the safest alternative. Something like a Danish Oil finishing product might also work, but I don't know that for certain. You also have to be careful with some types of plastics as there hygroscopic and can adsorb and release that same humidity. I suspect a lot of tool storage boxes and those machinist's tool boxes used and continue to use non synthetic natural wool felt not only to cushion the tools from damage, but also to help reduce rusting. Even processed wool felt is supposed to still contain natural oils from the animal. Unfortunately it seems to be used less and less today.

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Re: Sort of a machining project

Post by neanderman » Tue Jan 04, 2022 2:41 am

Descicants do have differing characteristics. The "bead" forms are generally reusable after being dried in an oven, and often have at least a few beads with a color indicator. In my experience, these are most frequently found in electronic equipment packaging, and are labeled as "silica gel." I save these and, eventually, open the packets, saving the beads. They can easily be 'repacked' using Tyvek and either glue or a sewing machine.

Drying should be done in a conventional oven, at a low temperature (100-150° F) -- I don't think a microwave will work. The indicator beads will change color once dried.

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Re: Sort of a machining project

Post by pete » Tue Jan 04, 2022 3:59 pm

Thanks for clarifying what type of desiccants can be reused Ed. That's something I definitely hadn't known before.

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Re: Sort of a machining project

Post by David2011 » Thu Jun 16, 2022 8:10 pm

An alternative to silica gel desiccants is VPI/VPCI paper. It emits a secret something that helps keep rust away. I put a piece or two in each drawer and change it out after 3 years, the manufacturer’s claimed life of the product. It seems to work on my bare steel tools.

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