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How to Clean Rust Off a Table Saw

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Learn some helpful tips on how to clean rust off a table saw. If your table saw has a cast iron top even the slightest amount of moisture contacting it can leave water marks and eventually rust spots. George Vondriska shows you how to remove and avoid rust spots by using rust remover, fine grit sand paper and tool sealer.

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17 Responses to “How to Clean Rust Off a Table Saw”
  1. LeeWalkow

    Thanks for the tip on getting rid of cast iron rust stains. Now let’s back up a bit. WHY???

    When my shop was in a garage all the cast iron developed a nice tan patina that never seemed to change or leave any kind of marks on the wood.

    Now that I have an indoor shop, the cast iron stays more of a metallic hue but any moisture does leave a stain. Again I say, so what? Eventually the whole table will be the same familiar tan patina that never seems to get worse or present any kind of a problem.

    One in a great while I do take some paint thinner that I’ve used to clean brushes and let it set a month or so. All the pigments drop to the bottom and I use the clear liquid on top to apply with a rag to my cast iron tables. I don’t think it stops the rust but it makes me feel better. I am still using 40 and 50 year old tools and have never had any problems.

    • George Vondriska

      I’m OK with a patina. My cast iron tools have also changed color. I’m not OK with rust. I don’t think I’m OCD but it does drive me nuts when someone sets a drink on one of my tools and leaves a ring.


  2. Earl

    What if you live in Hawaii like I do; rust is inevitable from the moisture in the air. A can of soda is a petty issue.

    • WWGOA Team

      Rust does come from sources other than sweaty pop cans. I suggest in the video using a tool specific lubricant to help seal the cast iron and prevent rust. Here’s one designed specifically to prevent rust. It’s available at most woodworking stores and Amazon:
      Boeshield G2870 T-9, 4 oz. Aerosol Can

      Give it a try and let me know what you think!

  3. John Brazie

    I was always told to put a coat of wax on the cast iron.I have been using Johnsons paste wax,should I clean that off and use a product like Boeshield?

    • WWGOA Team

      George says: “Wax is fine as long as it’s silicone free. The carnauba-based waxes are great. I like the aerosol products better because they’re easier to apply.”

  4. Steve Matthews

    Does this technique also work for corroded aluminium. I have a bandsaw with an aluminium table that was left outside by someone that I lent it to…. I won’t be doing that again!

    • WWGOA Team

      Hi Steve-yes, this should work on an aluminum table, too. Don’t forget to leave a final coat of sealer on the table after it’s clean to help prevent it from getting icky again. And check over you list of who you’re willing to loan tools to. 🙂

  5. Rodney Hytonen

    Please be sure to make full text transcripts available as a option for all your videos. Many of us have computers that will not run them successfully. Others (like myself) read VERY fast, and do NOT have time for unnecessary videos. This video is the very definition of “unnecessary.” Naming the two products would have been plenty.

    • WWGOA Team

      We appreciate your feedback and it has been forwarded to the proper department. Your comments are important to us and help with the development of new videos. We will continue to listen and work hard for your complete satisfaction.

  6. Jim

    I found this video an absolute waste of time. Really? Cleaning off an almost invisible rust mark with sandpaper? For such a minor blemish, any metal polish, or even a quick wipe with some Scotchbrite would’ve removed it in seconds. As for protection, the Bostik product works, but is very expensive when compared to a simple coat of wax – which also protects better than the spray stuff. BTW, the top of my 18 year old cabinet saw still looks like new. I use Johnson’s wax on it. Tried the spray (once) and didn’t see where it did any good at all. I still have nearly a full, unused, can of it sitting on a shelf. A $15.00 waste.

    • WWGOA Team

      Thanks for sending us your thoughts on this. The video was not as much about cleaning up this one minor blemish that probably wouldn’t disrupt the serenity of most woodworkers, but rather the video was more of a general overview of how to remove and prevent rust build-up. Here’s a video that shows removal of a more severe rust condition:
      If you’re fortunate enough to have a shop that doesn’t have high humidity, then rusty cast iron is probably not a problem that you need to deal with. Many of our members send us questions on this topic, so we talk about it periodically. I’ve used both wax and TopCote, and in a previous shop where humidity was a severe problem, I found TopCote to work better at preventing rust. Wax was a great lubricant (even a quick scrubbing with wax paper makes a noticeable difference), but I’d see rust accumulating more quickly during humid seasons if just wax was used. Neither was foolproof, and if I ended up not being in the shop for an extended period I would put a cover on my table saw, which worked the best. I moved into a shop with better humidity control about 10 years ago and I haven’t seen any new rust appear on any of my cast iron tools since that time. If I based my perspective on my current situation I would likely share your view on this, but because I have dealt first hand with what George is addressing in this video, I very much buy into the benefits of what he is proposing.

  7. Tim Moore

    I am also vary particular about drinks around my saws and other equipment, so when I viewed your video on cleaning the table top with 500 grit sand paper my lower half puckered up the second you started sanding in a circle. Please go with the grain of the metal so you don’t end up with swirls in your table top.

  8. Alec

    I used my dado blade for the first time today and didn’t notice that there’s a tiny bit of rust near the tip of one of the chippers and one of the blades where the nut goes to hold it in its case until I put it away what can I do?


    • Customer Service

      Hi Alec. I would use WD40 and 0000 steel wool to remove this.  Should come off pretty easily.


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