Cleaning a Rusty Table

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George Vondriska demonstrates the best way to remove rust from a cast-iron tool table. A WoodWorkers Guild of America (WWGOA) original video.

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18 Responses to “Cleaning a Rusty Table”
  1. Jimmie

    Good program, but you know there are power solutions using abrasive pads. Car restorers use them all the time. Would do it a bit quicker and just as well (I have done it)

  2. Rustaholic

    I met a master saw filer back in 1990 that was 92 and still sharpening saws and cutting his own firewood by hand. I stopped by one day when he was cutting up a tree and he told me that was his 250th one for that year. He had a large pole barn full of wood because he did not know how long he would be able to do this. 8>))
    The day I first met him he was cleaning up a rusty D8 Henry Disston with that Liquid Wrench and fine steel wool.

  3. Hicry Smoke

    Theres a product made by Boeing Co. Yes the airplane folks , called BOESHIELD T-9 that works great for keeping rust off cast iron tops and other tools , and if you have rust really bad they make a product called RUST FREE. that u can use to remove rust , it really works just follow instructions like it tells on bottle , because if u just apply it an leave it it can spot cast iron , but its never happened with me , for years i battled rust on my tablesaw because the concrete floor in my little shop turns into a river everytime humidity gets up ,, i used to use a good floor wax and kept it waxed good to , but still it would rust. I havent had that problem since i learned about the T-9 !

  4. Cy Galley

    DuPont Metal prep which converts rust back to Iron is another liquid to “wet sand” your rusty iron or steel. Auto body people use it to prevent rust from forming under new paint.

  5. Kenneth

    just simple emery cloth with wd-40 or like product, would have cleaned this up, using sand paper on cast iron is not a good idea, i don’t know who told you sand paper was a good idea.

  6. Gayland

    I bought a old Delta Band Saw had a 15″ opening. But the table was a mess. I use a product called MOTOR KOTE . It is used in engines. But this stuff is good foe a number of things like this because it goes into the metal and protects it. Go to and this comes in quart size but think they have a smaller size now.
    I used this with my sander and good as new. The ol delta I bought for $20.00 uses a 96″ blade.
    Also put this on your saw blades and they will cut better and smother.

  7. joey

    I went through the many sanding techniques on rusty ground surfaces.They all left the surface scratchy, dull,not the nicely ground look. I picked up a 20″ DO ALL that was left outside. Very rusty surface. I used a razor blade in a holder that makes it work like a putty knife, when pushed to scrape the surface of the table. The rust just peels off without any marking to the surface. This technique WILL remove ALL surface rust quickly and easily with little effort. Only slight tuning needed on deep pitting.Lightly oil the surface for a uniform look. I came across this by chance luck. 100% guaranteed to work on any rusty surface.

  8. Ray bertelsen

    That table top is clearly pitted, from the first cleaning tto the second one. I could not get through the the second cleaning/sanding, without you were trying to sell a product that doesn’t work!!!!!!

  9. Bob Essner

    I’ve used white vinegar and baking soda mixed together like a paste to rub over the surface and soak for a while and most of it rubbed right off.

  10. 4suremann

    I would use a known to be flat sanding block if hand sanding, also 3M produces mandrels for product known as rolock discs, available coarse to fine. Spun in a die grinder these remove surface rust, paint, remains of adhesives, pieces of old gaskets, etc. The fine discs will not dig into a metal surface, merely shine it up. Also way useful for shaping/carving wood.

  11. James L Hess

    If you use a razor blade window scraper, the kind used for stickers and go over it first ,It will remove most of surface rust into a powder form

  12. Dave Sullivan

    Hi George: I was wondering if you could tell me what the table top sealer is. I am going to be building a new work shop and I don’t want to have to fight rust in a few years if I can avoid it. Thanks

    • Customer Service

      Hi Dave. George uses Bostik GlideCote on his cast iron tools:
      This product does provide some rust protection, but if your shop is in a high humidity environment, you also might want to cover the tools with a breathable tarp when not in use.

  13. Benjamn Nawrath

    Great video! I have an old/cheap 1/4 sheet palm sander and a standard sheet of scotch brite happens to fit perfectly in it. I pretty much only use it for this purpose. Saves a lot of elbow grease, but isn’t as aggressive as some other power options, and it’s relatively flat (someone else suggested a sanding block). I’ve also been following up with a dupont made teflon dry lube to seal the top and it’s lasting a LOT longer than wax!

    • Customer Service

      Hi David. If it’s just light surface rust with it having no pitting I use a green Scotchguard pad and set my palm sander on top of it and slowly move it around the surface with the palm sander running. For deeper rust that has some pitting I spray with WD40 and get after it with steel wool.

  14. Brian

    Cleaning up cast iron tops all you need is a ROS or any sanding block with 220 grit.You do not need to use anything extra…..
    Once cleaned up with sandpaper (emery cloth to be more specific) clean off the top with mineral spirits,or acetone,etc.then for the last step all you need to protect it is woodworking paste wax.Not car was (most contain silicone),nor do you need to waste money on anything extra….
    K.I.S.S. still rules,Keep It Simple Stupid.
    Many today don’t want to take a extra minute or two to do something and always looking for the easy way out.Depending on how much you use your machines you may want to reapply a coat of paste wax up to once maybe twice a week.Takes only a minute to apply a coat,leave the shop,go home,to bed,or what ever.Then come back the next day or when ever and buff it out….only another few seconds to minutes to accomplish.
    Aerosol sprays when sprayed add their contents to the air which floats around all over the shop.This can and often does contaminate projects,other wood,machines,etc. that can also end up messing up finishes.If you don’t think it’s messing up your finish,you more than likely don’t know what you’re even looking at.


Tags: cast iron, Free Videos, George Vondriska, woodworking essentials