Just like any other tools in the workshop, tablsaws need proper care and maintenance to work correctly and safely as rust can develop over time or when not in use.
Rust is a common problem for table saws as it can form on the top, on the blade and on other components. It can be caused by many factors, one of the common issues is high humidity.
If you don’t take care of your machine, you run the risk that it will break down and in injury may happen. There are a few things that you can do to keep your table saw top from rusting in that kind of environment which include the following:
#1 Keep It Stored Inside, or Put a Dehumidifier in the Space It's Stored
I'll add, once I got my humidity under control (don't waste time with anything you can't auto-pump out, everyone forgets to change the bucket-style), not only did it keep my table saw from rusting, but it completely dried out the little bits of stuck-on pine sawdust/sap that were starting to gum up my machine. They just came off by themselves, I was super impressed.
#2 Rub in Some Talc Powder with a Chalk Eraser
Keep it simple. If top isn't clean, then clean it first. Rub in some talc powder with a chalk eraser. The talc works its way into the pores to repel moisture and leaves a smooth surface.
Dry wipe off excess. Then, and this is the most important part - after use, lower blade and put a piece of plywood or MDF (don't use plastic as plastic will condensate) over top of the cast iron part. That's all you have to do.
Once you have cleaned a rusted surface, put talc and cover it. You will see, you will never have rust issues. If you’re living in a very humid area this process will definitely work.
It worked well with me, as a matter of fact, it’s been two years since I last applied any talc. All my cast iron tops are still 100% rust free.
#3 Use Johnson Paste Wax for Better Protection
Many years ago on I have read a DIY article on some woodworking site. It was suggested to use Flood Penetrol on the table for rust control. After use then apply Johnson paste wax. The author of the article has been using that combo for quite some time on his 1980 Craftsman 10" tablesaw and he has no regrets.
You might now be thinking: how do you need to re-wax? That depends on how often you use the saw but on an average every two months. You will take a rag and throw it on the table if it slides off no need for wax. Also you will need to pay attention to how easy the sled slides.
Just a good reminder, don't use oil, because it will find its way on to the wood you cut. This will ruin the color finish of the wood.
#4 Lay a Piece of Plywood or Cardboad Over It Right After Waxing
Cardboard and MDF will hold moisture and therefore a good cover to prevent the tablesaw from rusting when not in use.
Here how I do it.
After every use, spray the entire top down with WD40 then wipe it down. After that, put a big piece of cardboard and lay it on top.
I have an extended table top, I have a piece of MDF I put on top of that which gives me a much needed extra work top, or flat surface. My other saws had a rust issue but since doing this I haven’t had an issue.
#5 Use Plastic to Cover It
If have an expensive cabinet saw, then it needs much better protection from rust. Some people I know use 6-millimiter plastic to cover it when not in use.
You will also need to wax it regularly, and keep the internals clean. This works great if you’re near the ocean and in area with high humidity just like here in Richmond, VA.
#6 Air Condition the Workshop
Air conditioning can be a great way to prevent rust. This is because the cooling process of air conditioning reduces the humidity in the air, which is a leading cause of rust. When you have high humidity levels, there will be more moisture in the air and this will make it more difficult for the rust to form on the tablesaw top.
This option may not be a feasible way, but if you have the capacity air condition the workshop, it will prevent corrosion and rusting.
#7 Use the Tool Regularly
It's important to keep your equipment clean so you don't have any rusting happening on it. One of the ways to do this is by regularly using it, which will help prevent rust from forming. You should also make sure you are doing routine maintenance on your equipment, which will help keep it in good condition for longer.
Just keep tablesaw running. It will act like a fan and therefore no humidity.
If the Table Saw Top Gets Rusty, Use WD40 and Vinegar
If it's rusty use WD40 and fine steel wool, emery cloth, or even some 220 wet sandpaper. Wax it when clean. I keep my saw top protected with a scrap 1/2 sheet of 1/2" plywood (24"x 34") that has 1/4 round on the outside bottom edges to locate and secure it from sliding as I use it a lot as an extra work area when it's not in use. It's about 3-4 inches larger than the saw surface and is light enough for off and on use. No paint, no gouges, no raised surfaces, and it stays like new. Been doing this for over 20 years. Works for me.
Use can also use vinegar to get rust off, wax to protect. Rust can cause considerable damage to the metal, but it can be removed using vinegar. Vinegar is an acid that will dissolve rust when applied to the surface with a cloth or sponge. .There are many different types of vinegar, each with its own acidity. Use the type that has medium acidity for easier rust removal and to prevent damaging the metal. White vinegar is a popular choice for removing rust because of its moderate acidity.
To Summarize Everything
Table saws are heavy machines that need proper care and maintenance to work correctly and safely. If you don’t take care of your machine, you run the risk that it will rust or break down over time.
Use ordinary items that can be bought from the nearest hardware store are helpful; these items include WD40, some wax, MDF and even plastic cover will do the trick.
It is important to keep the table saw top from rusting for ease of use and to lengthen its lifespan. We hope, with this short guide, enlighten you on how to do proper maintenance on your tablesaw to prevent it from rusting in high humidity.
(The image use in this article is not ours, we would like to give credit to the owner)