Best way to clean rust from table saw top?

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Forum topic by KeithH posted 08-10-2009 03:36 AM 51467 views 4 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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11 posts in 3346 days

08-10-2009 03:36 AM

Topic tags/keywords: table saw rust clean rigid

I acquired a Rigid 2424 table saw today. Overall, this is a great saw with the wheeled lift system and a really solid fence – a good craigslist find. The only problem is the slight rust layer that has developed on the cast iron top. None looks deep, no pitting, but I want to clean it down to a shiny silver surface again. Before I start in with mineral spirits and sand paper, I was hoping someone had a suggestion on how to get the surface back to factory finish (especially down in the miter slots).

20 replies so far

View John 's profile


253 posts in 3523 days

#1 posted 08-10-2009 03:48 AM

If it’s only surface rust, I would just use 0000 Steel Wool with paint thinner, then use a good paste wax.


-- John

View a1Jim's profile


117204 posts in 3698 days

#2 posted 08-10-2009 05:05 AM

I use a Scott brite pad and my Radium orbital sander and rubbing compound and clean and the floor wax.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View KeithH's profile


11 posts in 3346 days

#3 posted 08-13-2009 04:04 AM

I tried all of the above. The Boasheild left a weird residue that was difficult to remove when I left it on overnight. I eventually used a brass coated crimped steel wire cup brush on my 4-1/2” angle grinder. I took off the fence rails and guard before spending 2 hours grinding with the cup brush (not that there is much left of the brush at this point). There were 3 small (silver dollar sized) areas of light pitting; nothing that wood will catch on. Still, a great saw for $150 and some elbow grease. Also came with two free outfeed Roller Stands. Now I get to make new kitchen cabinets.

View GFYS's profile


711 posts in 3592 days

#4 posted 08-13-2009 08:30 AM

grinder and wire wheel…oh you already did that…dude..yer pychic!

View sIKE's profile


1271 posts in 3875 days

#5 posted 08-13-2009 02:55 PM

old worn out 120 Grit disks from your ROS and WD40. After that a good coating of wax.

-- //FC - Round Rock, TX - "Experience is what you get just after you need it"

View mtnwild's profile


3474 posts in 3648 days

#6 posted 08-13-2009 03:22 PM

I use a product called “Top Saver”. It works great! I keep all my table surfaces clean plus use it on old rusty tools and knife blades. Will not stain wood or affect other materials. Easy to use, light scrubbing with a scouring pad, no scratching, Highly recommended by me….................

-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

View akdale's profile


54 posts in 3329 days

#7 posted 08-16-2009 12:24 AM

I avoid using petroluem products like wd40 on my table top. A dry cleaning should get everything off. If not just remember any solvent can and does get into the metal (ask a welder). I used a scratch pad or wire wheel and finished up with various grits of sandpaper and wet sanded, wiped down with alcohol, then finished with a paste wax. This gave me an almost mirror finish and once the top is waxed my lumber glides across. Allot of work but worth it.

-- Phil 4:13------Our family motto

View davidroberts's profile


1027 posts in 3607 days

#8 posted 08-16-2009 01:03 AM

i just stopped by HF this afternoon and picked up a $10 ROS to clean my TS top. A already have some 320 paper and 400 grit automotive paper and a bunch of WD40, oh yeah, and a 16 year old ROW operator. I have one word for wax…carnuba, baby

-- Better woodworking through old hand tools.

View 45acpbuilder's profile


49 posts in 3334 days

#9 posted 08-16-2009 07:10 PM

I use “Corrosion x” exclusively. Clean the table top with the Corrosion X and Scotch Brite then wipe it VERY clean with a fresh shop towel. A light rub-down with another shop towel damp with Corrosion X and you’ll be amazed at how slick the top is. No oils, no waxes, MIL-SPEC approved for aviation corrosion protection and 1/2 the cost of Top Saver!

-- M1911BLDR

View mtnwild's profile


3474 posts in 3648 days

#10 posted 08-16-2009 07:16 PM

Cool, I’ll check that one out.

-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

View drbob's profile


31 posts in 3537 days

#11 posted 08-26-2009 11:59 PM

For a detailed discussion check out the following article on my woodworking tips site

-- drbob at

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 3995 days

#12 posted 08-27-2009 01:57 AM

We clean up old tablesaws all the time at work. If its just very light surface oxidation you can get away with steel wool. Otherwise the best thing to use is a random orbit sander with 220 or 320 grit sandpaper. Use very light pressure and slow, even strokes.

And that fresh steel will rust VERY fast. So coat it in clear paste wax (with no silicon) right away. Just rub on the wax, wait about 10 minutes, and rub it off with a clean rag.

-- Happy woodworking!

View Tyler Moseley's profile

Tyler Moseley

57 posts in 2906 days

#13 posted 10-11-2010 02:04 AM

I bought the exact same saw but I think it was left outside a few times and had a pretty substantial rust buildup. I spent the better part of a Saturday taking it apart, using brass wire cup and disc with a 4” angle grinder to remove rust. After putting a coat of Rustoleum on the exposed molded cast iron, Minwax furniture wax on the surfaces, and a trip to the after hours clinic to remove metal spec from my cornea it looks great. The previous owner welded the saw to the stand, so aside from cutting the welds and re-bolting the saw to it temporarily I’m not going to waste my time with it and just build a cabinet for it.

-- Measure Twice, cut two, three times, plane, join, sand, coat, sand, coat, sand, coat, buff, wax, polish, brag. It's a process.

View newwoodbutcher's profile


757 posts in 2971 days

#14 posted 10-13-2010 06:06 AM

I live in a dry climate in inland Southern California so I don’t have the challenges with rusting tools that some of you have. Yet, no matter how diligent I am I still get rusty fingerprint marks and rust smudges on my cast iron tools and table tops. I usually use a scotch bright type scrubber and mineral oil or top coat to rub them out, sometimes a scrubber on my ROS. Well I’ve discovered a much easier and effective way! The product (found on another ww blog) is AUTOSOL Metal Polish. This stuff is amazing! I just got it from Amazon today and tried it out on my LN low angle jack plane. It had some prints and smudges of rust growing. Well I just wiped it down with this stuff on a paper towel, lightly. No hard scrubbing and just with a shop paper towel. WOW! That plane looks like new. It even removed a kind of ghost stain I couldn’t get out on a previous cleaning. I’m not sure how it would perform with deep and serious rust, I think not so well but for light rust and stains this stuff is the bee’s knees. I only bought a small tube (3.33 oz) and I think it was about $9. When I run out I’m buying the large economy size and will use it on my TS, jointer and other cast iron tables. This is a new must have product in my shop. I am just a woodworker and have no affiliation or interest in this company. Just thought you would like to know.

-- Ken

View Jesse 's profile


105 posts in 2983 days

#15 posted 10-17-2010 08:19 AM

Almost everything in my shop I bought rusty and used off craigslist. If it’s just surface rust, I offer a lot of praise for Rust Away ( available at woodcraft) It has yet to let me down and is pretty much a spray and wipe off operation. Followed up w/ boeshield or floor wax.

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