How to Clean Rust From the Top of a Table Saw

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Removing rust the from the top of a table saw not only will increase the cutting performance, but also will make the saw safer to operate. Rust on the table surface can impede the flow of a board into the rotating saw blade, which can bind the board in the blade and cause it to push violently back toward the operator. Keeping the surface clean with a slick finish allows the wood surface to move into the blade smoothly and safely.

Things You'll Need

  • Penetrating machine oil
  • Rubber gloves (optional)
  • Fine steel wool (0000 size)
  • Clean rags
  • High quality car wax
  • Remove all electrical power to the table saw. Lower the blade to well below the table's surface. Remove the cutting fence from the saw table.

  • Apply a generous amount of the penetrating oil to the heavily rusted areas on the table surface. The oil should stand in puddles over the most severely rusted areas.

  • Place the steel wool into the palm of your gloved hand. Apply heavy pressure to the tabletop surface, rotating the steel wool in small circular motions over the tabletop to work the oil into the rust areas. Work over the tabletop area twice with the steel wool and oil. Replace the steel wool pad as necessary.

  • Wipe the entire surface with a clean rag. Repeat Steps 2 and 3 until the rust has been removed from the tabletop. In a heavy rust situation, this may take a few applications of oil and steel wool. Use a fresh steel wool pad with very new oil application. The goal is to remove all signs of rust from the metal surface.

  • Apply a thin coating of the oil to the surface of the tabletop. Wipe any excess oil using a clean rag. Leave no standing oil on the metal table. Allow the surface of the table to dry thoroughly.

  • Apply a heavy coating of car wax to the metal surface. Follow the directions on the side of the car wax container for drying times. Buff the dried wax using a clean rag. Apply a generous second coat of wax and buff the surface when dry.

Tips & Warnings

  • In high humidity areas and climates, you may have to apply a car wax coating on a monthly basis to keep the surface rust at bay.
  • Never use a metal scraper on the surface of a saw table. The harsh scraper can cut groves into the tabletop.
  • Use extreme caution with chemical cleaners. Use of these cleaners is not recommended, as the chemicals can damage the table saw's bearings and electrical components.

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