I was just given a 30 year old craftsman radial arm saw, and the
stamped sheet metal base (which supports the table) is very rusty in
places. In certain areas, the rust is 'blistering'.
Whats the best way of getting the rust off of this thing so that I can
paint it/protect it?
| Whats the best way of getting the rust off of this thing so
| that I can paint it/protect it?
You might consider having a metal shop replace it. In thin sheets of metal,
rust compromises the material's strength rather quickly. You'll want that
support structure to be as rigid and strong as you can get it if you plan on
this tool being useful.
If you believe it's salvageable, I find that a combination of abrasion and
chemistry is best.
With full ventilation and while wearing a respirator and eye protection, use
a wire wheel on your favorite high-power rotary tool to clean down to bare,
shiny metal. You may need a grinder wheel if the rust is as bad as you say.
Once you're down to bare metal, assess the thickness of the remaining steel
and see whether this is really worth your time.
When you have brushed it well, apply naval jelly (phosphoric acid in a gel
emulsion, available from any hardware store) according to the label
directions. This will remove most of the lingering rust and chemically
convert the microscopic remainder into a non-infectious form.
Immediately prime the metal with a primer specially formulated for steel and
let it dry well. Then you can apply enamel or whatever you want as a final
For removing rust I would reccomend an angle grinder with a wire
wheel. My harbor freight $20 special with a $10 twisted wire wheel
has done an great job on miles of rust. Make sure to get the twisted
wire wheels the straight wire wheels loose their wire bristles very
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