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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Massillon, Ohio
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    3,429

    Default Cleaning a rusty table saw top

    I just picked up a nice old Atlas table saw with a cast iron top. It has minor surface rust across the top, but not to the point of pitting. I would like to clean it up and I've been looking at suggestions on the best recommendations. It seems there are as many varying "opinions" on this topic as there are on beekeeping questions.

    Has anyone done this with your cast iron equipment? What worked best for you?
    To everything there is a season....

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Indianapolis IN 46227
    Posts
    285

    Default Re: Cleaning a rusty table saw top

    You can sand the top with sandpaper to remove the rust, then rub bees wax on it to seal and protect it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Jackson, MO
    Posts
    591

    Default Re: Cleaning a rusty table saw top

    Steel wool works fine on metal, the coat the steel with either oil or wax to keep from rusting again.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Indianapolis IN 46227
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    285

    Default Re: Cleaning a rusty table saw top

    I agree with JD that steel wool is a better choice over sandpaper.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Heber Springs, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    95

    Default Re: Cleaning a rusty table saw top

    Depending on how bad it is rusted use medium to fine sand paper or steel wool with light oil or WD-40. Use a small stick cut to the proper size, and wrapped with sandpaper to clean the mortise slot. When you get it as slick as you want it, clean it with paint thinner. Wax immediately with your favorite wax. (If you wait a day or two it may be rusted again.) A spray wax (furniture polish) is good for the first application because it is thin and applies easily. It also can clean up any sanding residue you may have missed with the paint thinner. Use it liberally and wipe off the excess. Bees wax is good to rub on occasionally to keep the table slick.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Santa Rosa County, Florida
    Posts
    407

    Default Re: Cleaning a rusty table saw top

    I use the fine side of my whetstone.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Whitmell, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    95

    Default Re: Cleaning a rusty table saw top

    Yea sand paper and WD-40. I've used an old 80ish grid belt sander belt that's broken and WD-40 to clean mine. If it sits for awhile between uses under a shed or somethin keep it kinda greasy with WD-40 or somethin.
    Don't laugh it's paid for. -- Manure draws more flies than honey.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Warrior, Alabama
    Posts
    1,068

    Default Re: Cleaning a rusty table saw top

    I live in and out of the counrty. Every time I get home again the top of my Cast Iron 10" Craftsman is rusted.

    I use a pam sander and son 220 grit wet/dry paper. The coat with auto polish. The spray with dry silicone spray to help the wood glide.
    Old Guy in Alabama

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Clackamas Oregon
    Posts
    755

    Default Re: Cleaning a rusty table saw top

    I use a orbital sander and 220 grit paper. Shines like a mirror and keeps the surface flat. WD-40 works well but Liquid Wrench does better. I was using car paste wax (Mc Quires) for years but on this season I am trying CRC Industrial 3-36 since the Fine woodworking mag hit it for like the 3rd year running as the overall best protection (that does not affect the wood finishes). I will let you know what I think of it. I had a hard time finding it so I got if from Grainger ($9 for 16 oz if memory serves). Wax always left black marks when I did glue ups on the table saw.
    “Why do we fall, sir? So that we might learn to pick ourselves up” Alfred Pennyworth Batman Begins (2005)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
    Posts
    3,429

    Default Re: Cleaning a rusty table saw top

    Thanks for all the responses. I think I'll start with wd-40 & fine steel wool and see what happens. If that doesn't cut it I'll move up to fine sandpaper.
    To everything there is a season....

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Jackson, MO
    Posts
    591

    Default Re: Cleaning a rusty table saw top

    My new saw has an Aluminum Table, don't have to worry about the rust. I would hesitate to use sandpaper, especially all of the time. Eventually you will sand all the metal off.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    DFW area, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,095

    Thumbs Up Here is what I did last month....

    I used steel wool and a fine emory paper. The emory paper worked best and quickest for me -buy extra because it fills with crud right away. I'm still pondering what to use as a top coat to make it slippery.

    I used PB-Blaster, but the wet/dry sandpaper worked quickly dry.
    LeeB
    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up :)

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Auburntown, TN USA
    Posts
    239

    Default Re: Cleaning a rusty table saw top

    Johnson's paste wax or Minwax finishing wax works great to keep tools slick and rust free.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
    Posts
    3,429

    Default Re: Cleaning a rusty table saw top

    This involved hours of elbow grease, but I think it was worth it. The top is smooth as silk now.

    First I used PB Penetrating Fluid with 150 grit sandpaper to work out most of the rust, followed with PB and Scotch Brite Pads. After cleaning thoroughly with mineral spirits everything was coated with an aerosol dry lubricant, then buffed. Not bad for a 60 year old machine. Time to start making some more boxes.

    Before and after.

    Attachment 3670Attachment 3671Attachment 3669Attachment 3672
    To everything there is a season....

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Livingston county,Michigan,USA
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: Cleaning a rusty table saw top

    Razor scraper...cheap single edge razors do the trick!!!

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Worcester County, Massachusetts
    Posts
    3,675

    Default Re: Cleaning a rusty table saw top

    I have a couple of old craftsman "100" table saws (one is for parts, but it wouldn't take much to put them both online)....both tables have a bit more than surface rust, but neither are too bad.
    I come from a machine shop like d of background, and I hate the idea of doing anything that will compromise the flatness. I've been reading forums where such things are the main focus, and I have come away with these options (in evening order)

    Green scrubby pad with solvent. I'm not too worried about losing flatness with this, but it also won't remove much material.

    Abrasive stone. At least with this, and some finess you can remove material fairly evenly and maintain flatness.

    Loose abrasive and a sheet of glass. This is flat over the whole surface, maintain flatness and removing material evenly. This requires a bit more setup (and materials I don't have on hand)....if I were going to do a full restoration of a nice saw from the ground up, I would probably do this.

    I also noticed the cook at the local diner was cleaning the griddle at the end of the day with a giant brick shaped abrasive (a bit smaller than a shoe box)....I'm gonna ask to get a closer look at that.

    Im not excited about sandpaper (although i could imagine using it with a big block).
    I think fine steel wool is good for real surface rust.

    Ideally, one would have a surface grinder at ones disposal with a big enough table.


    Deknow

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    etowah,Alabama
    Posts
    458

    Default Re: Cleaning a rusty table saw top

    My 85 year old uncle has a saw like yours. Yours look new. Good job.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Gillmore View Post
    This involved hours of elbow grease, but I think it was worth it. The top is smooth as silk now.

    First I used PB Penetrating Fluid with 150 grit sandpaper to work out most of the rust, followed with PB and Scotch Brite Pads. After cleaning thoroughly with mineral spirits everything was coated with an aerosol dry lubricant, then buffed. Not bad for a 60 year old machine. Time to start making some more boxes.

    Before and after.

    Attachment 3670Attachment 3671Attachment 3669Attachment 3672
    BB's Honey
    www.bbshoney.com

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Manning, SC
    Posts
    2,230

    Default Re: Cleaning a rusty table saw top

    Hey MG,
    If I buy a rusty, old saw, will you clean it?

    Nice restore................
    http://OxaVap.com
    Your source for the Varrox Vaporizer, "One of the highest ranked" by R. Oliver

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Jackson, MO
    Posts
    591

    Default Re: Cleaning a rusty table saw top

    That shine will cause you some eyestrain after a while. Nice job.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
    Posts
    3,429

    Default Re: Cleaning a rusty table saw top

    Cut up about 20 boxes yesterday ... works like a dream. Thanks again to everyone.


    snl
    Hey MG,
    If I buy a rusty, old saw, will you clean it?
    Thanks for the offer ... but some things in life you try only once.



    jdmidwest
    That shine will cause you some eyestrain after a while.
    I'm ready ... I have shaded safety goggles.
    To everything there is a season....

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