Mold growing on old wooden planes


I've had to store some old planes (wooden) in the basement temporarily and was rotating them to let air around the planes when I discovered some mold growing on one. Can any of you recommend a good way to clean them without taking away the patina. They were not in a box, but instead on a steel rack shelf with plenty of air circulation and four feet from the floor. The basement will be sealed and climate controlled to keep this from happening again. Humidity is at 63% with a average temp of 74 degrees.
Thank you in advance for any and all advice.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Set them in the sun (on a dry day if possible) for a day, store them in a drier location, and they should be fine. I spent a few months in the rain forest in Belize, Central America, and with constant 90+% humidity we had lots of mold problems. Clothes, luggage, books, almost everything. The magic cure was to set stuff in direct sunlight and let it air out. Of course bleach works great for killing anything and everything, but probably wouldn't be good for your plane finish. Unless the wood is getting soft, they'll probably be fine. Andy
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Don't do this. Sunlight can dry the surface and provoke checks. Especially if the interior is damp.
BTW, 63% RH does not grow mold. Find what else is the problem.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

63% RH can easily grow mould if you're measuring it out in the open but the planes are stashed in a box under a bench. I've measured a 40% spread in RH in my workshop before now, between just inside the clear roof and under the woodracks near the concrete floor.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Then 63% is not growing mold, is it?
Other problems include poor air circulation, of course.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

No, but 63% on the gauge placed where you can see it is certainly alarm bells time for "my storage in here could be going mouldy".
I've got something like 8 cheap air hygrometers dotted around the house and workshop. They're only the couple-of-bucks sort, but they're all the same model and once a year I line them up against a few proper readings with known humidities (salt solutions) and a test against my swing psychrometer, so they're reasonably consistent. It's interesting to get a feeling for how humidity varies around my workshop and wood storage, and in particular how some places are consistent and others show big seasonal swings.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Wipe them off with a damp rag and store them in a less humid location
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Sounds like it hasn't gone on long. Wipe off with a damp cloth from a container of diluted Dettol or some such liquid kitchen/bathroom cleaner. Wipe again with plain water-soaked cloth. Dry immediately with another dry cloth. I've done it on planes I've obtained at yard sales, and it worked for me just fine.
Patina damage might depend on depth of the mold, but from what you imply that shouldn't be a problem.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Thank you for all the responses to my problem. Basements are not something that I have any experience with but will learn. Some of these planes have been well used and the history must live on, and now I am their steward and must take care of them. Thanks again for the information and time to address my problem.
In regards to the feedback concerning the relative humidity . . . I will recheck the number, I quoted from memory.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

"... mold is a function of temperature, relative humidity and time. In a warm, moist environment mold appears rapidly. At 100 percent RH, 80 degrees Fahrenheit, mold starts within two days. However, lower the relative humidity 25 percent and it will take 90 days for mold to appear. Mold growth is optimum, appearing within 10 days, between 50 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit and 85 to 100 percent RH. According to IPI's research, mold will not grow below 65 percent RH, below 30 degrees Fahrenheit or above 110 degrees Fahrenheit. "
http://www.collectioncare.org/pubs/v2n2p1.html
Something that you might want to look into is what sort of "oil" was used on the plane bodies.
Unfortunately, it is all to common to come across planes that have been treated with organic substances that can lead to growths of various kinds.
I understand your sensitivity to the patina and you might want to take your items to a local museum conservator.
Lacking that, a gentle wipe with a very dilute bleach solution, followed by a light coat of mineral oil, would be a way to go.
It would seem that you will no longer be storing these planes in the basement, so we don't need to go into that.
Tom Watson - WoodDorker tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet (email) http://home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1/ (website)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Interesting threads concerning the humidity and possible reason of growth of the mold. I just checked the device again and it is standing at 61% . . . Hmmmm. Only one plane has any serious growth while the one next to it has several sq inches worth. If mold cannot grow below 65% RH, I am going to have to rethink this as the cause. I bought this very large box plane several months ago and it is the only one out of many that has growth.
I just met a conservator as a matter of fact several weeks back who works for a local museum, fascinating lady and work! I will run this by her and report what I learned.
I truly want to preserve these tools and use them as they were intended and not just for the visuals to hang on the wall, although some will be conserved and shown off as art and history.
This points to something applied to the plane and thus the plot thickens. Thanks for the direction and feed back from all who shared, and Tom . . . I've learned a lot from reading you threads over the last few years . . . thanks.
Patrick

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

If it is something applied to the plane, then you have to suffer the collector's dilemma - lose the finish/patina and spoil antique value, or let the piece be come more unsightly.
If you are going to use the planes, the desired patina is from usage, not vegetative growth. You may well have to scrape, plane, or re-true the ones you want to use. Hopefully they are also the unsightly ones, and will benefit twice from your fettling.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Good points George. Thank you for your input.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.