Gettin' fixina tune up my Unisaw #9: Saving the top

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Blog entry by Bothus posted 09-26-2009 02:25 AM 2543 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 8: Take the good with the bad Part 9 of Gettin' fixina tune up my Unisaw series Part 10: You gotta do whatcha gotta do »

First let me say I’m not very impressed with I couldn’t order online because of a technical problem on their website so I called the Service Center in Anaheim, CA. They were great on the phone, very nice and polite, took the order and told me I should have it in 5-7 business days.

That was only 4 days ago so I didn’t expect it yet but I called this morning just get a tracking number in case it was on the truck for delivery and I wasn’t going to be here. They were still very nice but after putting me on hold they came back and said it just shipped from the warehouse yesterday. I asked for a tracking number and they didn’t have one… which makes me think maybe it didn’t ship yesterday but they are gonna get it out today so…

The other thing about them is I called them two days ago about ordering a can of paint to match my saw. They said no problem took the info and then put me on hold. They came back and said someone would be calling me back that day… I’m still waiting.

Thirdly, we use them here at the shop too and the shop manager warned me about them.

So that is three strikes in my book. I will use them again only as a last, last, last resort.

But now on to happier things. I got to work on my Unisaw project today. Fun stuff. Check out the videos below.


Where da hail did you get those glasses? You look like yo Aint Bea in Shreveport.

Scrubbing away.

Top Saver first pass

Top Saver 3


Top Saver summary

-- Jerry Boshear, Professional Kitchen Designer, amature woodworker.

9 comments so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3818 days

#1 posted 09-26-2009 03:29 AM

The top of the saw is looking pretty good. I think you chose the right route to go on this clean-up. Electrolysis would have been less labor intensive but you would have had a hard time finding a container big enough in which to submerse the top. And, for that volume of rust, it would have taken awhile to complete the rust removal.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View doyoulikegumwood's profile


384 posts in 3988 days

#2 posted 09-26-2009 03:34 AM

if you want to get it a little cleaner i used navel jelly on mine and it worked wonders for the dinge areas i think electrolysis would be a bit over bored for what you have there.

-- I buy tools so i can make more money,so ican buy more tools so I can work more, to make more money, so I can buy more tool, so I can work more

View MedicKen's profile


1615 posts in 3458 days

#3 posted 09-26-2009 03:42 AM

I agree with Scott , the top is looking great. Electrolysis is a lot less labor intensive but its also very slow. You dont stike me as a very patient person… Make sure you get some kind of a protectant on that nice clean metal before it flash rusts on you again!! Johnsons paste wax is really good.

I would stay away from naval jelly…..I dont like the stuff. WD40 and a scothbrite pad works well also.

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their

View davidroberts's profile


1027 posts in 3482 days

#4 posted 09-26-2009 04:57 AM

I use an cheap 1/4 sheet sander or ROS I bought from Harbor Freight just for the intended purpose of removing rust from cast iron. You can use automotive sandpaper or a scotch brite pad. Just keep the sander moving. I use WD40 and brake cleaning fluid. Cast iron is porous and afte rust removal, the fluid draws out the grunge. You have to wipe the cast iron down until the fluid runs clean. You can scrub your arms off. But a sander will bring that table to a shiny smooth even luster.

-- Better woodworking through old hand tools.

View Julian's profile


880 posts in 3521 days

#5 posted 09-26-2009 05:38 PM

A sander will also remove metal, which is what you don’t want to do.

-- Julian, Park Forest, IL

View davidroberts's profile


1027 posts in 3482 days

#6 posted 09-27-2009 05:52 AM

Julian, I’m not suggesting 80 grit abrasive. Brite pads are commonly used all the time, so is automotive sandpaper, 400 to 600 grit. It would take a mighty effort to shave 0.005” off cast iron using an electic pad sander and an extra fine Brite pad. After the initial rust removal, it will be shiny by 0.002”. See the Brite pad grit equivalent table below, swiped from

But, hey if someone doesn’t feel comfortable using this technique, then by all means, don’t use it.

Fine Light Gray or Green 150 – 180 Aluminum Oxide
Very Fine Maroon 220 – 280 Aluminum Oxide
Extra Fine Gray 320 – 400 Silicon Carbide
Ultra Fine White 600 – 800 Talc

-- Better woodworking through old hand tools.

View sidestepmcgee's profile


158 posts in 3721 days

#7 posted 09-28-2009 04:38 AM

sanded my 1965 unisaw top with sandpaper,too much rust and went for easy and effective.used 220 to 300,sanded for a while and no difference in metal loss.But as stated if your not comfortable then don’t do it.I also had a handful of burrs that was taken care of in the process too.But she sure is pretty after all the work is done.I used just the brite pads to take off any rust of the body,worked great then repainted with sher-kim ind. enamel paint with factory color.

-- eric post, tallahassee FL

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3154 days

#8 posted 10-18-2009 06:02 PM

Just got a 1993 Unisaw myself for $500. Coincidence? I think so, yep. LOL.

My top had very little surface rust on it, but there are a ton of dings and various other surface imperfections. IMHO, you have to sand those down…even the pitted areas. When something “pits,” it pushes up the sides, like a lunar crater. Even if you could take away a lot of surface metal in the sanding process, leaving the unevenness in those imperfections is worse. I don’t think sanding is a concern at all…better than using Scotchbrite pads (too much work) while still leaving raised pits in the top.

I’ve been using WD-40 with 220 grit paper on my ROS and it works wonderfully…and I haven’t spent a whole lot of time on it yet. I will progress through the grits until I’m satisfied, though I’m confident I could leave it as is and it’ll be scores better than what it was. While I’ll still have some pits in the surface, it’ll be better with them smoothed down.

My $.02.

BTW, I’m enjoying the videos so far, Bothus!

-- jay,

View a1Jim's profile


117090 posts in 3573 days

#9 posted 10-19-2009 06:26 AM

good progress

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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