Machinist Chest Felt is Moldy
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  1. #1
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    Default Machinist Chest Felt is Moldy

    I just pulled my old Kennedy chest out and see that there is some light colored mold in some of the drawers. I want to start using this box again and was wondering if any of you guys have any wisdom to share or how you might have handled it. I bet it is going to be hard for me to find Lysol at the store considering but then again I am not sure having my instruments sitting on cloth with Lysol residue is smart either.

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    Do you have a dehumidifier in your shop? If not, get one before you bother trying to deal with the mold.

    Then you'll be best off stripping out the old felt, soaking the rest of the bits in a bleach solution (not too long, watch for paint damage or rust), dry thoroughly, and cut/glue fresh felt in.

    I bet our woodworking crew would have some thoughts on this too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Milland View Post
    Do you have a dehumidifier in your shop? If not, get one before you bother trying to deal with the mold.

    Then you'll be best off stripping out the old felt, soaking the rest of the bits in a bleach solution (not too long, watch for paint damage or rust), dry thoroughly, and cut/glue fresh felt in.

    I bet our woodworking crew would have some thoughts on this too.
    I am temperature and humidity controlled where I am now but the previous 15 years wasn't! The felt looks good I was once a layout man so no real dirty stuff or oily items in there. Looks good for being 30 years old....just that mold and now I want to put lathe tooling in it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin T View Post
    I am temperature and humidity controlled where I am now but the previous 15 years wasn't! The felt looks good I was once a layout man so no real dirty stuff or oily items in there. Looks good for being 30 years old....just that mold and now I want to put lathe tooling in it.
    I'd try vacuuming it.

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    A few years back I spoke with a contact at a felt mfgr. She was extremely knowledgeable in felt types and properties. It was her opinion that felt is a poor choice for tool storage, because it tends to hold moisture. Her preference was for a rubber pad or similar. That hurt, because I like the classic look of felt.

    There are many internet mentions of tools that rusted only on the underside, where they contacted the felt. My notes say Gerstner uses 100% acrylic felt.

    You also have to consider the adhesive, and whether it attacts and holds moisture.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin T View Post
    I just pulled my old Kennedy chest out and see that there is some light colored mold in some of the drawers. I want to start using this box again and was wondering if any of you guys have any wisdom to share or how you might have handled it. I bet it is going to be hard for me to find Lysol at the store considering but then again I am not sure having my instruments sitting on cloth with Lysol residue is smart either.
    I have heard of folks putting moldy items under an up side down cardboard box outside with an ozone generator also inside to kill off the mold. Also hear of it being used to kill off mold in houses with water damage (like leaking pipes). I also hear it is not good for rubber products with extended exposure to ozone. But that should not be a problem for a Kennedy tool box.

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    Bleach is claimed to work but only kills surface mold.. peroxide penetrates to kill mold deep into wood and kills the same for a steel box..
    Set the whole box with draws out of it out in the sun after a wipe with a peroxide wet/damp rag.
    Steel box would get an oil wipe after good and dry.

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    Thanks for the tips guys. I did the vacuum and that was pretty good. I am not concerned anymore about the felt but will consider the peroxide and sun dry out too. Thanks again!

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    Take some fresh pine sawdust and sprinkle it onto the mold. Use a tooth brush and brush the saw dust around. Then vacuum again.

    I learned about sawdust in 5th grade when a girl threw up her early morning gruel. The janitor poured sawdust on the pile and swept it away.

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    New felt the way to go..I like green.
    Yes after the box has been de molded..

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    Yes, Chlorox will do a pretty good job of killing mildew and most molds, but using bleach has its drawbacks. I've have VERY good luck using good old white vinegar diluted with water for removing and killing this stuff.
    In fact, vinegar is a very good cleaning agent in general. Plus its cheap and plentiful.

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    Not sure if wool felt is better or worse. Wool will hold the moisture into itself and in theory the tools stay dry. The other theory is synthetic felt holds no moisture so the tools stay dry.
    Bil lD

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    Household bleach is (usually) a 3% solution of sodium hypochlorate in water and its residues are a rust hazard. Bleach has long been a remedy for mold and removing its discolorations. While it may clean up the felt, inexplicable and vexing rust spots may bloom on your find precision tools.

    Mold is PH sensitive. I suggest you toothbrush and vacuum the dry infestations, learn to live with the remaining discolorations, and apply a light mist of 5% sodium carbonate in water to barely dampen the felt, allow to dry. The trace of residual soduim carbonate inhibits future mold growth.

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    Look at zerust products. They make a mat that you can cut to size. Zerust products contain volatile corrosion inhibitors, always good to have as an extra help to fight corrosion.

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    Felt adds no real value other than appearance. It is a moisture attraction and should not be used at all. There are several threads on this subject in the archive. Don't reinvent the wheel. In these threads there is mentioned that there are many variations of felt and some are really nasty corrosion generators.


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