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Correct method for cleaning up cast iron tables on equipment

  • 22 Mar 2022 2:57 PM
    Reply # 12676816 on 12236187

    Before you try to remove the rust give the surface a good clean to make sure you don’t have any organic residue on it.  This would mask any chemical removal of the rust.  Simple Green, Scotchbrite pads and lots of elbow grease   

    Rust removers can be dangerous to use as they sometimes contain hydroflouric acid in dilute amounts.  This is the secret sauce that dissolves rust without attacking the base metal.  HF is very dangerous to work with.

    In theory phosphoric acid converts iron rust to a water soluable salt.  In practice it’s not that effective so “Naval Jelly” type products drop the pH and put some corrosion inhibitors to counter act the lower pH to help the Phosphoric acid work better.

    What ever you use to go after the rust make sure you do a good job of rinsing the surface and nooks and crannies with water and then dry the surface carefully.  


    Mike Jolley

  • 06 Jan 2022 10:17 AM
    Reply # 12244790 on 12236187

    Hi Becky,

    Speaking as someone who knows more about metal than wood ;)  yes Minwax paste is commonly used to protect metal finishes.   It acts as a moisture barrier (and possibly something of an oxygen barrier, but I can't find a citation for that).   First Google search turned up this https://blog.minwax.com/02/18/wax-prevents-rust/  and I'm sure there's a ton more info out there.  Good luck!


  • 04 Jan 2022 10:19 PM
    Reply # 12239169 on 12236187

    Thank you CJ and Mark. 

    The rust is just small light spots on the jointer table caused by me spilling some water but the bandsaw table has a very light rust coating all over the table (I just bought the bandsaw and the table is the only part that still needs refurbished).

    I keep reading to use automobile wax as last step. Minwax appears to be for wood.  CJ - Am I understanding this correctly that I put wood wax on the cast iron table as last step?  Thanks for clarity. 

  • 04 Jan 2022 9:12 AM
    Reply # 12237407 on 12236187

    I like CJ's suggestion. I saw a youtube video on cleaning rust from a plane and this woodworker dismantled a hand plane and put all of the components into a bucket of EvapoRust.The parts came out looking new minus what ever pitting you may have.

    It may be worth a bit of research.

  • 04 Jan 2022 7:41 AM
    Reply # 12237246 on 12236187

    Hi Becky!

    A friend of mine showed me how he maintained those types of surfaces and now that's how I do it as well. I don't have a recommendation for heavily rusted surfaces... maybe navel jelly?

    For light rust spots and general maintenance, I use green scotch-brite pads with Autosol metal polish: https://www.amazon.com/Autosol-Polish-Alumium-Polishing-Clothes/dp/B0783BDHJ4/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=autosol+metal+polish+liquid&qid=1641310862&sprefix=autosol%2Caps%2C112&sr=8-1

    Once I'm done with that, I wipe it clean with paper towels then use some Minwax Paste Wax: https://www.amazon.com/Minwax-785004444-Finishing-1-Pound-Natural/dp/B000LNOZAW

    If you're out in the Scappoose area feel free to swing by and I could show you as well.


  • 03 Jan 2022 8:40 PM
    Message # 12236187

    Looking for advice or directions for correct methods for removing rust and cleaning up the cast iron tables on things like band saw, jointer, table saw, etc. 
    Also, how to maintain the table surface for future. 
    Product names, grits, specifics, etc would be appreciated. 

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