How to Maintain Cast Iron Table Tool Surfaces





Introduction: How to Maintain Cast Iron Table Tool Surfaces

Regular maintenance of your machine tops will save you much scrubbing in the long run. Doing this right the first time and it will drastically reduce the amount of further scrubbing in the future. Step one, using a scotch bright pad and some rubbing compound (very important), remove all oil and rust. Do this by scrubbing back and forth in multiple directions. You may need to wipe clean with a towel and repeat to get all that crud off. Step too, once the surface is looking clear, (see pic 3) with a new pad or clean towel apply some Johnson's Past Wax in a circular motion. Let the wax sit for a few minutes then wipe it off. Wax on wax off. If you have done this correctly, the only regular maintenance that will be required will be to apply more wax every so often. Keep an eye out for dulling and don't leave anything with moisture on these surfaces, like a coffee cup or even hands will begin to rust it out again. If left neglected you will have to bust out the rubbing compound and scrub the crud off again. This will help preserve the functionality of your equipment as well as keeping your shop looking fresh.



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    Just don't do it on a metal surface plate! It won't be calibrated afterwards.

    I use auto wax with good results.

    How did you remove the polishing compound before you waxed? I compounded a car once and it took me days to get the compound off of it. I used soap and water, which really isn't the best option on cast iron.

    When I cleaned up a table saw I bought at a garage sale I used a concoction I brewed up out of oil, rust penetrant, and solvent. Although thinking about it now tossing some polishing compound down in that mess might have helped me out some. When I was done scrubbing I cleaned up the residue with some more solvent. I used Acetone.

    I'm satisfied with the results I achieved. Here are some pictures:

    2 replies

    I simply wipe of the compound with a clean rag before waxing. Seems like whatever you did worked well.

    What you did worked for you too. You still left a lot more polishing compound on your table than you could have possibly wiped off with just a dry rag. I mean a lot more. Now whether it really matters is another thing entirely. Unless you manged to lift it all up when you waxed. Maybe.


    I've just cleaned up a Craftsman 10" table saw. It was quite rusted from setting in an unheated shop for several years.
    My first step was a couple light passes with 150 grit paper on a vibratory sander then up to 400 grit for a few more passes & finally 600 grit.
    After that I sprayed the surface with silicone, let it dry overnight & a thorough wipe down the next day.
    Now I keep a chunk of Luann panel on the top when not in use to keep it clean & dry.
    An occasional spraying of the silicone keeps the surface & fence almost frictionless. So far I've had no issues with the silicone getting on anything I had to finish coat.
    I DO like the paste wax idea... had some too.. just didn't think of it!!