Introduction: Clean Your Cast Iron Tools Easily
Ok, put your hand up if you've ever used your table saw as a bench to work on or glue up on.
Yep nearly everyone huh.
I'm probably a bit worse, I use it when painting as well...
The cast iron was not looking in absolute tip top shape after a year of this abuse, so I decided it was time to spruce it up.
All you need is a can of WD-40, some sandpaper, and a spare hour of your time.
All the steps are in here, but I have some more photos and a little more info on my website www.thewoodfather.com as well.
Give it a go, you'll love the results.
Step 1: Prep the Surface
The first step is pretty simple, scrape the top down to a sort of smooth finish.
I used a metal paint scraper to get rid of the bulk, simply run it back and forth over the top until all glue blobs and dried on crud is flicked off.
Then I put a new 120grit sanding disc on my Random Orbital Sander and went to town with it. Make sure you go nice and slow and cover the entire top; the better job you do here the better the end result.
I then took that sanding disc and wrapped it around a plywood offcut to sand the mitre tracks.
Step 2: Drench It
Absolutely drench it in WD-40.
Then get yourself a new 120 grit disc and HAND sand the entire tabletop including the mitre tracks again.
This is the time consuming part. You can use a power sander here, but I don't think it is worth the mess; the WD-40 and iron dust creates a slurry that you don't really want flicked all around your shop.
Make sure you go over the entire top, then when you're happy with it use paper towel to clean it up.
Step 3: More Sanding? More Sanding.
Now that the top is cleaned up, we can move on to a higher grit. I fitted a 240grit disc to my sander and had at it.
You can see just how gunked up it gets, I used two new discs on this pass alone.
Step 4: Finish It Off
You should have a pretty nice looking cast iron bench top by now, to keep it that way you'll want to rub a finish in.
A specially formulated paste wax is the better way of finishing the iron, but in a pinch, you can use WD-40 here as well. I have no wax so it was WD-40 for me. Drench the top again, and buff it back with clean paper towel by hand.
It is amazing how much better it looks after all this.
My table saw top in particular looks better than when I bought it brand new.
So there you go, a nice easy project that can make a big difference to your tools.
Best of luck!