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How To Clean Up A Table Saw?


Our workshops and tools get dirtier with each project we complete. In order to get the most out of our shop and tools for the long term it is important to maintain and clean them.  Here is a complete guide on how to clean and maintain your table saw.

How To Clean Up A Table Saw?

  • Unplug your table saw.
  • Remove your blade guard, riving knife, throat plate insert then lower your blade.
  • Spray WD-40 or apply mineral oil on your tabletop.
  • Run a Quarter Sheet Sander with ideally a Scotchbrite pad or if necessary 400 grit or higher sandpaper over your table to remove rust and stains.
  • Wipe the table down with naphtha to clean it off.
  • Apply a rust protection spray. Allow this to dry fully before using a cloth to wipe off.
  • Apply a layer of paste wax then let it dry for 5-10 minute before wiping with a cloth.

To learn all the ins and outs about the ways to clean your table saw keep reading below.

How To Clean Up A Table Saw?

Here is quick and easy way to get the grime and rust off your table top.  First start by unplugging your table saw for safety.  Remove your blade guard, riving knife, and throat plate insert from the saw.  Lower your blade all the way down to get it out of your way.

Use a quarter sheet sander and attach a Scotchbrite pad or a 400 grit wet/dry sandpaper to it then spray the table top with WD-40. You want to be careful not to over scratch the table by using too low of a level grit sandpaper. Run your sander evenly over each area and wipe it down after with a shop wipe or cloth; you could even wipe it down with some naphtha for a cleaner surface. 

Apply a rust & corrosion protection/inhibitor and waterproof lubrication like Boeshield T-9.  Spray this on and allow it to dry fully, it could take over night to fully dry. Once completely dry you will want to wipe with a cloth because it can be sticky. Now move on to the next step.

Once you have your table top clean give it a light coating with some paste wax (Johnson’s Paste Wax is the most popular) then wait for it to dry for 5-10 minutes then buff it off with a cloth.  Depending on how often you use your table saw the next time you clean it just use some naphtha to remove the previous layer of wax and then reapply another layer of wax.  This wax will help your boards smoothly slide across the table when ripping and help prevent oxidation from moisture on the table.

Don’t put any cans or coffee mugs on your table saw.  They can quickly cause rings and rust spots. A quick way to remove the ring or rust spot is to spray some WD-40 and use some high grit 400 plus with a flat surface to rub the water marks off the table saw.  Then seal it with some paste wax or with a tool specific sealer like GlideCote.

A final tip to help keep your table saw clean is to create a cover out of plywood.  Cut a plywood sheet to the size of your table saw and when your not using it lower the blade and remove all the accessories so you can put the cover on.  This will protect it from any other debris created in the shop from other tools and reduce any moisture from sitting on the table that could lead to rust. This is great especially in humid locations.

How Do You Polish A Table Saw Top?

You can use WD-40, Mineral Oil, Evapo-Rust remover or Naval Jelly Rust Dissolver on your table saw then sand it down. Start with a Scotchbrite pad and increase to 400 grit sandpaper or lower as needed.  Wipe off the rust and liquid residue then rub it down with Naphtha to finish cleaning the surface. Finish the process by polishing on a layer of Johnson’s paste wax then wipe it down with a cloth once dry.

What To Put On Table Saw To Keep From Rusting?

Most table saw use cast iron for their table surface because they are very stable and vibration-free.  Unfortunately, they are susceptible to rust which over time can affect your woodworking by leaving rust residue on your boards.  Your table saw is layered with grease to prevent it from rusting during the shipping and warehousing process before arriving in your shop.  This layer of grease should be cleaned off before using.

Apply a rust & corrosion protection/inhibitor and waterproof lubrication like Boeshield T-9.  Spray this on and allow it to dry fully, it could take over night to fully dry. Once completely dry you will want to wipe with a cloth because it can be sticky. Now move on to the next step.

Use a Carnauba-based paste wax like Johnson’s paste wax to coat your table saw.  This wax will sit in the tiny pores and crevasses to prevent moisture from sitting in there and causing the cast iron to rust.

It is important to routinely apply a coat of this paste wax. Depending on how often you use your saw will determine the frequency you will need to apply.  Monthly is a good frequency to start with unless it is getting heavy usage then you can start applying it weekly. It also depends on the humidity in the area your shop is because high humidity can lead to rust.

Apply a layer of the paste then let it dry for 5-10 minute before wiping with a cloth for a smooth clear coat.

What’s The Best Rust Remover For My Table Saw?

You can use WD-40, Mineral Oil, Evapo-Rust remover or Naval Jelly Rust Dissolver.

What Kind Of Wax Should I Use On My Table Saw?

Use a Carnauba-based paste wax like Johnson’s paste wax to coat your table saw. It will protect your table saw from rusting by filling in the pores in the metal to prevent moisture from sitting in there and it will also help your wood pieces slide along the table when ripping cuts.  Use a cloth to rub on a thin layer, let it dry 5-10 min then use a clean cloth to wipe it off. 

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Kevin Nelson

I will always have a special place in my heart for woodworking. I have such fond memories working on projects with my parents on the weekends in the garage growing up. We built tables, shelves, a backyard shed, 10' base for a water slide into the pool, 2 story fort playhouse with a fire pole, and so much more. This woodworking blog allows me to write helpful articles so others can enjoy woodworking as much as we have.

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