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Can I smooth a cast iron surface?

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Forum topic by Purrmaster posted 03-28-2014 02:42 AM 843 views 0 times favorited 25 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Purrmaster

842 posts in 847 days


03-28-2014 02:42 AM

I was looking at the cast iron base on my Delta benchtop mortiser (the 14-651 to be precise) and noticing the machining marks on it. They’re quite visible and you can even feel them a little.

I checked the surface with a straight edge and it appears to be flat. So there’s no problem with usability. But the marks annoy me.

What would be involved in smoothing the top and getting rid of the machining marks? Probably with something simple like sandpaper or steel wool.

Additionally, I don’t want to screw up the flatness of the surface simply to make it shiny.

As I said, it’s basically an aesthetic issue so I’m not going to put much in the way of resources into it.


25 replies so far

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Paul

586 posts in 319 days


#1 posted 03-28-2014 02:51 AM

You can glue various grits of good quality sandpaper (it will wear out fast) to flat boards and sand away. It will take a while. Ending with what ever 200+ grit you OK with the appearance and smoothness.

That said if it’s only cosmetic I wouldn’t bother.

Paul

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Grandpa

3212 posts in 1430 days


#2 posted 03-28-2014 03:00 AM

I wrote a comment and it didn’t post so I will say that I agree with PLK. you can change it but you will run the risk of messing it up worse. Think about that

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MrUnix

670 posts in 953 days


#3 posted 03-28-2014 03:36 AM

I agree with the previous comments.. not only do you risk making it worse by uneven sanding, but the machine marks actually help reduce friction. As long as it’s flat, wax it up and be happy.

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

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Jerry

612 posts in 402 days


#4 posted 03-28-2014 03:57 AM

If you have a granite reference slab you can use spray adhesive and glue sandpaper to it and clean it up that way, but to be honest, you are not going to ruin the flatness of the surface if you just use a cat and mouse or orbital sander and have at it. Just keep the sander moving in a pattern that covers the whole surface.

-- I have always wished that my computer would be as easy to use as my telephone. My wish has come true. I no longer know how to use my telephone.

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Paul

586 posts in 319 days


#5 posted 03-28-2014 04:01 AM

A random orbital sander “round” will definitely ruin a square surface. Don’t do this.

Paul

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buildingmonkey

194 posts in 302 days


#6 posted 03-28-2014 04:04 AM

If Powermatic machines are not refined enough for you, try the Hammer, or Felder. I just got my new K3 Winner tablesaw last week, the finish on the table is awesome. Now if I can keep it that way.

-- Jim from Kansas

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Paul

586 posts in 319 days


#7 posted 03-28-2014 04:08 AM

“If Powermatic machines are not refined enough for you, try the Hammer, or Felder. I just got my new K3 Winner tablesaw last week, the finish on the table is awesome. Now if I can keep it that way.”

are you in the wrong topic?

Paul

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Purrmaster

842 posts in 847 days


#8 posted 03-28-2014 05:07 AM

The “method” I was thinking of using was a hard rubber sanding block. Probably starting with 220 grit and working through to 2,000. Using 3 in 1 oil or WD40 as a lubricant. Or possibly going after it with #1 steel wool and working up to 0000 steel wool.

It sounds as if the consensus is “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”

I guess I’ve gotten used to polishing the back of my chisels and plane blades. Plus I’m sure the cast iron wings on my SawStop have spoiled me.

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Paul

586 posts in 319 days


#9 posted 03-28-2014 05:10 AM

Sounds like you had your answer even before posting.

Paul

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Purrmaster

842 posts in 847 days


#10 posted 03-28-2014 09:01 AM

No, not really. Those are just ideas. I haven’t a clue whether those methods would work. Or make things worse. That’s why I asked the question.

View crank49's profile

crank49

3524 posts in 1725 days


#11 posted 03-28-2014 01:04 PM

Starting with 220 grit and working to 2000 sounds like a good way to take a 15 minute job and turn it into a 15 hour job.

-- Michael :-{| “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” ― A H

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swoper

59 posts in 1979 days


#12 posted 03-28-2014 01:10 PM

You could contract a machine shop to grind down the top, put a smooth finish and maintain the correct flatness.

-- Harry, Jackson Mi

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bowedcurly

501 posts in 483 days


#13 posted 03-28-2014 01:22 PM

take it off get some floor sanding sheets 12×18 put the sheets on your tablesaw and work it back and forth that should get it flat and smooth if your tblesaw is cast and large enough, I think that’s how I would do it but I have a surface plate 48×36x6 got it at work with some luck, grade A but it has some dings on it but is still true and flat. Start with 80 go to 120 grit and that will be plenty smooth

-- Staining killed the wood<<<<<>>>>>Dyeing gave it life

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Lukas

30 posts in 921 days


#14 posted 03-28-2014 06:34 PM

I bought an old craftsman table saw and the table needed some reconditioning. If I remember right I spray glued sandpaper to a flat (checked it) granite tile and started sanding. I didn’t go down to 2000 grit, maybe 400 or 600. By that time it got so boring that I stopped. The table is flat and very smooth now. It definitely helps the work piece slide over the table with less friction.

-- www.lukasmueller.com

View Jeff Heath's profile

Jeff Heath

54 posts in 1823 days


#15 posted 03-28-2014 07:47 PM

Do not take a random orbital sander to it. I can guarantee you that you will introduce low spots in the surface. You can sand it, as described, over granite to keep things flat, or have it ground at a machine shop. More than likely, if it’s flat enough, it’s best to leave it alone.

-- Jeff Heath Heath Toolworks planes

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