How to remove light surface rust from steel/iron tables?

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Forum topic by KenBry posted 12-01-2011 10:06 PM 1527 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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468 posts in 1864 days

12-01-2011 10:06 PM

I bought a Powermatic Model 54 jointer used a while back the steel wings have dark spots and some rust. I would like to try to get the surface to look like my other tools in my shop. I used steel wool and some oil to get the brown rust off but I would love to get it to look like new brushed steel.

I know I could get the surfaces reground but that’s not practical. Hoping there are other ideas or options that you guys have used.

Brass wire wheel?

I wax the surface of my other tables so they are all in great looking shape.

-- Ken, USAF MSgt, Ret.

5 replies so far

View ShaneA's profile


6415 posts in 2015 days

#1 posted 12-01-2011 10:21 PM

I have had good luck with naval jelly and a fine grit sandpaper.

View Loren's profile (online now)


8157 posts in 3065 days

#2 posted 12-01-2011 10:36 PM

If you don’t care preserving the brownish patina of aging iron,
you can take a steel wire cup brush to it on an angle grinder.
This may scratch the grind a bit, but it’s the fast way to go.
I don’t recommend sanding with a random orbital sander unless
you like the look of the scratches.

If you want to go carefully, use brass brushes. You can also
use a rubber emery bar sold as the Wonderbar Rust Eraser
by Garret Wade and other tool sellers. The Wonderbars
are very gentle.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4403 posts in 3378 days

#3 posted 12-01-2011 10:41 PM

I use the non woven pads. I don’t get really caught up in the “looks like chrome is best” scheme of things. Just bring ‘em up to a nice smooth and waxed surface that will accomodate quality woodworking. I have a sign on my TS that says:
It amazes me how often folks think my cast iron is a great place to put the coffee cup/soft drink bottle/dirty hands.
I don’t hesidate to ask ‘em to respect the surfaces. It is my shop-my tools-my maintainance.
Does this make me obsessive? If so, TOUGH!!!!!!


View chrisstef's profile (online now)


15455 posts in 2423 days

#4 posted 12-01-2011 10:57 PM

There is no good way to do it unless you send the jointer to my house. PM for my address .. ;)

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View Don W's profile

Don W

17870 posts in 1985 days

#5 posted 12-01-2011 11:03 PM

woven pads with rust remover. Last job I used 3m, not the best but it did the job.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

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