August 2004


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This 'n That



This 'n That

Cleaning & Maintaining Cast Iron Tables

Table saw surfaces develop buildups of sap, pitch and other residues from the wood. If not removed regularly, these buildups can make it difficult to slide wood across the surface. This not only affects accuracy, but can also be a safety issue. If a sticky surface causes a piece of wood to cock, kickout can result.

To remove surface contamination use steel wool and low-abrasion nylon pads like Green Scotch Brite pads with Product 409 or WD-40. Don't use a sander since it would also remove metal. Clean the miter slots also. The rails of jigs and miter gauges can compress sawdust and other debris into the corners of the slots. The resulting buildup will hamper the smooth operation of whatever slides through them. When the surface is free of residue, spray the entire surface down with the 409 cleaner and then wipe clean with paper towels. Repeat this last step one more time to be sure all of the oil and cleaning debris has been removed.

Apply a non-silicone wax such as Johnson's paste floor wax. Silicone gets onto wood, it is very difficult to get off, and almost impossible to apply finish over. Sanding often spreads the silicone rather than removing it. Apply the wax in thin coats to the entire surface and let dry. Buff the surface with a clean piece of old towel or cheesecloth. Wax as soon as you clean or corrosion may set in. Clean and wax once a month. More if there is heavy use. You can clean and wax aluminum and wood used in jigs and fixtures. Alternatives to Product 409 and wax are Boeshield T-9 and the Rust-Free solution. Also, there are other products on the market.

Mark Rand