I’ve had some experience with long-term mothballing of my gear, so
take this for whatever you think it’s worth, but I just
de-mothballed a lathe that’d been sitting for 18 years, with no
damage at all.
(And I’ve got a rolling mill that’s been sitting right behind it all
these years that’s still just as bright as it was when I broke it
Step one: LPS-3. It’s a spray on rust inhibitor. Get the hand pump
bottles, not the spray cans. It’s so thick that it likes to jam the
nozzles. With the hand sprayers, you can just swap into a new
sprayer and keep going. With a spray can, you’re screwed. You can
get it It’s sort of like a thick WD-40, or thin vaseline. Leaves a
thickish waxy coating when it dries. Works absolutely great, and
WD-40 will get it off when you’re ready to bring things back on
stream. Whatever you do, do NOT use WD-40. It’ll actually cause rust
in long-term situations. Do not put LPS-3 on things that might
object to being covered in oil. If you have to, vaseline will work
too, short term. The thing you want to avoid is thin oil. It
collects dust, which then concentrates water. Causing rust… If
you want this to work, it’s going to be greasy and slimy. Become one
with it. (and wear disposable gloves.)
Put a pillowcase over the mill, to keep the dust and crud off. Do
not cover it in plastic. That’ll trap water, which is not what you
want. Let it breathe.
As far as the other boxes, silica gel packets will probably hold you
pretty well for a few months. You can get decent sized ones at gun
stores. You’re looking for dehumidifying tins. They use them in gun
safes. You can find a selection of gel packets here:
There’s also another long-term vapor barrier product called Bull
Frog. It’s a product that emits a vapor that fills whatever container
you leave it in with inhibitor. I keep a couple of the foam strips in
the toolboxes with all my precision measuring gear, and haven’t ever
had a problem.
Available here: http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/ep81gc
The nice thing about the metal silica gel tins is that you can bake
the water out of them when they get saturated, thus resetting them.
I’ve got some that I’ve been using for nearly 20 years.
The bullfrog strips only last a couple of years, but they’re cheap
and brainless, so both are valid approaches.
One other thing that you may have laying around is Renaissance Wax.
I use it on patina’ed silver for shows, but it was originally
designed as a rust/tarnish blocker for museums. It’ll work just fine
for a few months of tool protection too.
Hope that helped,