Summertime in Maryland is good for cast iron…

I am fortunate that my shop stays in a climate controlled equilibrium with the rest of the house. I have a split level home and the garage shop is attached to our lower level through the laundry room/mechanical. Directly above the shop is the master and guest bedrooms. When the heated or cooled air leaves the HVAC it runs through vents across the ceiling of the garage on it’s way to the bedrooms. This has the effect of ambiently cooling or heating the shop. Where this breaks down is when I open the garage door.

In the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer here in Maryland when the thermometer and hygrometer rise in tandem into the upper 90s, if I have the shop door open I can get a small rainstorm as condensation from the AC cooled ducting builds up and falls into the shop. Fortunately the ducting only runs along the perimeter so I have learned to keep lumber and cast iron tools out of the way.

There is another effect that I haven’t really noticed until the last few weeks…

So I haven’t used my jointer or table saw in the last few weeks. I have been either working at the lathe or doing finishing work. In fact, because of the finishing, I have been working with the garage door open. I’ll apply a coat of finish in the driveway and then go back into the shop to turn some pens and such. With the rear window open I do get a breeze and it has been bearable. However, with the house cooled to 70 degrees, my hard surfaces (linoleum floor, laminate countertops, and cast iron) all cool with the house. When I open the door the temperature rises quickly and all those cold surface sweat like a glass of ice tea on a hot day.

Yes I did skate around the floor a little as it got damp. That quickly evaporated away and I was safe again. But back to the table saw and jointer. Here is what I saw when I started to clean up Cocobolo shavings at the end of the day today.
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AHHHGRHH! The rust monster is invading. All that condensation that is so fine and unnoticeable has added a thin layer of rust to my cast iron surfaces in the last two weeks of working with the door open. So instead of just vacuuming up the shavings, I finished the day with some mineral spirits, steel wool, and Boeshield.

Ah, summer in Maryland!

2 Responses to “Summertime in Maryland is good for cast iron…”

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  1. Mick says:

    I really like your website, I heard your pod cast on Matt’s Basement Workshop, good job. I have just started turning pens after doing the traditional woodworking for many years, you said on the pod cast that you can find some really nice wood for a cheap price since you don’t need must to turn pens, I agree.

    Keep up the good work.

  2. Joey says:

    I use to keep a cotton towel or or plain cotton sheet over my tools in the summer. it all but stopped the surface rust on my tools in the humid summers here in Ohio.
    Joey
    http://sleepydogwoodworking.blogspot.com/

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