I know there has been discussion about this here before, but I can't
remember the advice:
I moved from Virginia to Alabama about three weeks ago, and after the movers
moved my precious table saw, jointer, and other devices out from their
climate controlled area to the humid external world, I literally watched the
rust form on the surface of the cast iron (even though I thought there was
still a coating of wax on the surface). I have soaked same with WD40 since
then while the tools are sitting in my humid garage waiting for their new
home in a workshop that's being refurbished.
Please --- any suggestions as to what to use to get rid of this thin coat of
rust would be highly appreciated. I don't want to scratch the surfaces, so
I'm reluctant to use steel wool or anything like that until I get some
suggestions from this excellent group.
Thanks in advance!
Geez Bob are you going to ever use the saw? If you are worried about steel
wool scratches I shutter to think what you do or will think about the marks
that wood makes while sliding over the surface. LOL
Personally I don't care what the surface of my saw looks like as long as it
is not rusted, is slick, and helps me make a living. I use 0000 steel wool
and WD-40 to remove the rust IF I get rust and use TopCote to keep the rust
off. I live in HUMID Houston.
Gee whiz Leon, how can you expect to build a show case of tools if you have
an attitude like that??????? Don't you know that using your tools is
terrible, how can you show them to your friends if they are used? I suppose
you don't dust them every night either???????
Radial Arm Saw Forum: http://forums.delphiforums.com/woodbutcher/start
I think you're being a bit overly concerned about steel-wool scratching the
iron surface. But if you were envisioning have to use some "0", or "00",
then yes, you would have some ugly surfaces. But using 3 or 4 ought steel
wool and WD40 should about suffice. If you're really concerned, go get some
Scotch Brite pads at the borg (fake steel wool) and use that.
Do a small section at a time, clean it down until when you wipe off the
WD40, no brown rust color shows up on the paper towels. As soon as you get
a section cleaned, put a rust inhibitor on it quick. Johnson's or Butcher's
wax will do or you can get the higher priced sprays that work nicely (at
$15/can they should) and get the surface coated as per directions before
moving on to the next section. A bite sized section would be the left wing
to the miter slot , then the center section between the miter slots, then
the right wing. Don't forget to clean and coat the miter slots too.
There probably was a coating of wax still left on the iron if you put it on
but I'm guessing the humidity and the salinity level of the air (salt spray
maybe too) has laid your wax coating to waste. We hear from others in the
group that wax doesn't work all that well for them where it's hot and humid
so you may have to get the high-priced spread.
Thanks Bob --- best answer I got so far. Incidentally, I'm not that
concerned about using steel wool, I just wanted to know if anyone knew of
anything better -- This is a group, after all, of highly knowledgeable
I found that a scotch-brite pad will adhere quite nicely to my hook & loop
ROS. I spray the top with WD-40, let it soak for a few minutes, then go at
it with the sander at low speed. Wear an apron, it can get a little messy.
I use the finer scotch-brite pads or 0000 steel wool depending on the amount
of rust. On very rare occasion a little naval get for spot cleanups (you
have to get all of it off).
For protection I have been using Slipit, available from Grizzly. In comes
in aerosol, gel or a spray-on liquid form. A Grizzly salesman recommended
the gel and it works fine. Depending on tool use I apply it 4-5 times a
year. At that rate of use the 1 quart can will probably outlast me.
Yeah, naval jelly works wonders on milling machine vises and the like.
On the other hand, might kill any wood it touches like it eats at the
rag you apply it with.
As to why my machine vise is rusty, that's what happens when you leave
it out in the rain in a shipping crate for 2+ weeks.
This goes back a few years but some of the guy's in the group got a very
nice sampling of Slipit products to try. The then sales manager was a real
hoot and hung out here giving some advice along with a helluva sense of
humor. Long story short - I did a test using an old 4" planer bed divided
up into 3 sections and two sections had a rust inhibitor applied - Johnson's
wax and Slipit After about 3 months, rust begin to appear on the Slipit
section while none appeared on the wax treated surface. After about 5 months
the Slipit section was totally wasted and the waxed section was starting to
show a very noticeable film of rust. I didn't have any Topcote at the time
or I would have tried it.
Slipit was not advertised as a rust inhibitor at the time and probably still
isn't since it's waxed base and will absorb moisture over time as does paste
wax. Slipit does go on nicely and I used it until I ran out. Probably would
have purchased more had it been available locally but not seeing any real
big advantage to it other than a slightly easier application than paste wax,
I went back to using the wax.
When Woodworkers Warehouse were still in business, I would pick up a can of
Topcote or the other well known spray (that I can't remember the name of..)
and while a bit on the pricey side, they do work well from my experience.
On a hot humid day, if drops of sweat hits the tablesaw and it's only been
waxed - rust will start showing in about 30 min. If I used the high-priced
spread stuff - no rust.
With any of these products, including wax, proper application is key and two
coats is the minimum to get good protection. How long it lasts depends on
how much you use the tool but I'd say a monthly application for a hobbyist
user should do it.
As I recall, Tom Watson was going to do a test that involved coating his
cast iron with several coats of shellac but I never did read the results.
There are other products out there that are better than wax but again if
applied properly, it will provide temporary protection. You may have to
renew it weekly but it's not expensive to do so and only takes a few
IIRC, it didn't pan out too well, and I am not surprised seeing what the
occasional over spray does to my jointer outfeed table which is positioned a
little too close to the shop overhead door where I often spray shellac
outside on good days.
Tom reported that his test had failed. Rust appeared.
I've seen standard waxes work almost as well as TopCote and Boeshield
T9 (the one with the name you couldn't recall). I did an article on
making shop waxes, and in the course of making waxes, I must have put
more than a dozen coats of haaaaaaaard waxes on my table saw top, all
power buffed (cordless Turtle wax buffer, microfiber bonnet). Not all
of that buffed off. Wood floated on that surface as if it were not
actually touching the saw table. That lasted about 10 days. I also
managed to drip a fair amount of sweat on the waxed surface: it beaded
up, the beads broke up, and no rust appeared.
But it's a PITA to keep up, I must admit. To really keep that level of
shine and slickness and rust protection requires about once every three
day application and buffing out. I don't have the time, and probably
wouldn't take it if I did. I do the top about biweekly if I'm cutting a
lot of wood, about monthly otherwise. No rust. I try to sweat elsewhere
If you're reluctant to use steel wool, go to Wally World (or other dept.
store) and buy the coarsest, roughest terry cloth towel or rags you can
find. Soak them in WD40 or other light penetrating oil and scrub away. If
that doesn't remove the rust, use a *small* amount of Bon Ami cleanser (the
kind WITHOUT bleach). Use sparingly, on the oil soaked terry cloth and
scrub with that. These are the least abrasive methods I know of to remove
rust. Once you have scrubbed the rust off, go to the local gun store and
buy a small tub of RIG #2 (Rust Inhibiting Grease) and rub it in thoroughly
to the exposed surfaces (clean off and Bon Ami first if you used that).
You may have to clean the grease off before running wood through the tools,
to avoid the possibility of it staining them.
I use both fine and medium 'Sandflex' blocks on any flat cast iron surfaces
that get a hint of rust, overspray, or resin buildup. The 'fine' Sandflex
will polish to a bright, polished surface if you want to go that far ... on
my table saw and jointer, I rub gently enough to get a smooth-to-the-touch
surface and leave the patina, then follow up with TopCote.
Welcome to Alabama. :|
I have used steel wool, fine sandpaper, and a dremel tool with a cratex
polishing tip on various rusted surfaces in my shop. My shop is a small
detached garage, and I've installed a window AC and let it run pretty
much all summer to keep the humidity down so that tools don't rust
My dad occasionally uses a belt sander on his TS. It was directly under
a water leak that went unnoticed for a while, so the rust was pretty bad
and required some aggressive removal.
I guess you are going back to an air conditioned shop, otherwise you
are fighting a losing battle. I'm in Mississippi, no AC in my shop,
world class humidity.
Couple of times a year I use a RA sander with 30 micron then cover
with either topcote or paste wax (whatever I have). My machines look
seasoned. I like that. I use them a lot.
I also do not like them to be slick. What I want is a very uniform
amount of drag including across an insert when I'm feeding material.
I don't want slick spots or rough spots. To easy to get hurt.
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