Best way to quickly knock down heavy rust?

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Forum topic by Vrtigo1 posted 06-11-2010 10:21 PM 1121 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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434 posts in 2412 days

06-11-2010 10:21 PM

A friend of mine inherited an old cabinet saw that’s in good condition, except it looks like the previous owner hasn’t done any table maintenance in years. The table is almost black from a combination of rust and being generally dirty. I’ve tried scrubbing with a normal dish sponge, but at that rate I think it’d take me 10 hours. What’s the best thing to use to get it cleaned up to a manageable level? I know they make hard scrubber pads that you can chuck in a drill, but I’m not sure if that would damage the table. The kind I’ve seen at HD seem like they’re significantly harder than a sponge material. Is there something else I should look for?

9 replies so far

View PurpLev's profile


8523 posts in 3069 days

#1 posted 06-11-2010 10:27 PM

1. there are some chemical products out there that you could wipe/spray on, let it do it’s thing, and wipe off with the rust.

2. you could slap on a green scotchbrite to a hook-n-loop type sander and use that to speed things up – make sure you have good DC going on cause it’s gonna be metal-dusty.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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5590 posts in 2652 days

#2 posted 06-11-2010 10:34 PM

If it’s not pitted, try “Evaporust”. Harbor Freight among others sells the stuff.

WD-40 and a green scotch brite pad CAN work okay…

-- My workshop blog can be found at

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115176 posts in 2997 days

#3 posted 06-11-2010 11:37 PM

I use a method similar to #2 of Sharon’s post with rubbing compound

-- Custom furniture

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 2343 days

#4 posted 06-11-2010 11:46 PM

What kind of top does it have? Steel or cast iron?
The sander and scotch pad works really good. Keep some WD40 or light oil on the top and sand away. After you are done give it a good coat of wax(I use Johnsons Floor Wax)
IF you use Evaporust or something similiar make sure you clean it off before it drys.

-- Life is good.

View flowchart_jockey's profile


37 posts in 2497 days

#5 posted 06-12-2010 12:01 AM

I used a wire wheel chucked into my hand drill to take off a healthy coat of rust on my TS when I first got it. Worked like a charm. I also swear by a product called PB Blaster for removing rust from bolts. It cleans really well, but does leave a thin film.

-- Why make it easy when you can make it difficult?

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2107 posts in 2392 days

#6 posted 06-12-2010 12:29 AM

Iif the rust is also mixed with crud and dust and old oil gum, use a razor blade scraper. Wet the top with wd40 or mineral spirits and then scrape from one side to the other. I use this method on old hand saws and it gets removes a lot of the rust flakes and other crap… then spray it again with WD40 or mineral spirits and scrape again. Repeat as long as there is still crud coming up with the scraper. Then use evaporust, then follow with wed dry sand paper on a flat block.

-- Galootish log blog,

View Ger21's profile


1047 posts in 2551 days

#7 posted 06-12-2010 04:01 AM

220 grit sandpaper on a random orbit sander.

-- Gerry,

View djwong's profile


167 posts in 2640 days

#8 posted 06-12-2010 04:32 AM

When I rehabilitated a rusty jointer table, I found using a razor blade to scrape off the rust was effective. This allowed the chemicals to work more quickly. When using razor blades, be careful not to dig the corners into the table. I generally used the razor blade pulling towards me for better control.

-- David W. Cupertino, CA

View Kelly's profile


1048 posts in 2364 days

#9 posted 06-13-2010 01:35 AM

Check out the following post for some other ideas on rust removal:

I’ve used RustFree and a few other products over the years. For the farm, we buy the rust neutralizer by the gallon. The rustier the surface, the more reaction I get with the rust neutralizing acid, black being the result when the amount of rust in significant. Unlike farm equipment, looks are half the game with woodworking equipment. Accordingly, I try to remove all the rust and, if practical, any pitting. For a protective coat, I, currently, am staying with Corrosion X (not the heavy duty stuff, which is remains sticky).

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