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A disturbing find

I pulled out a tool I haven’t used in a while, only to find that while stored it caught some kind disfiguring disease.

Well, OK, I exaggerate. It’s not a disease, but I was still shocked when I saw it. I’ve had this router for years but hadn’t used it in a while. Most of my routing in the last year or so had been on my router table. But the ancient Porter-Cable 690 that’s been in my router table for years is finally starting to wear out, so I thought I’d swap it out. Here’s what I found:

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Aaack, what is that, router leprosy? Again, I exaggerate, but it still had a considerable “ick” factor when I saw all the white stuff on my hands after getting the router out. And it baffles me.

I’ve never had a tool do this before, and my shop is clean and dry. I’ve never even had old tool manuals smell musty, much less had any rust or corrosion for any stored tool. And this kind of corrosion? Never seen it before on a tool.

I took it apart and, fortunately, the corrosion was limited just to the outside. A stiff brush and some steel wool, followed by some strong blasts from my air compressor cleaned it up (although the metal is stained where the corrosion was). A careful oiling and it works just fine.

I’m clueless as to what caused this – none of my other tools have ever done this, whether in storage or in heavy use – in all the decades I’ve been woodworking. Even in shops that have been damp and more prone to temperature and humidity swings, I’ve never seen this. Without knowing what caused it I can’t reliably prevent it, but I suppose checking my unused tools more frequently would be a good idea.

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