How to Clean a Table Saw Top

When you have a table saw, it becomes your go-to saw for every project, big or small. They are relatively easy to use and can be used for many different projects, from cutting big beams, to pieces of plywood, and even more detailed woodworking projects for those with enough experience.

Table saws can be kept for a long time if properly cared for and cleaned regularly to remove any and all rust. To keep the saw running smoothly, it’s important to make sure it is clean. But how do you clean a tabletop saw?

How to clean a table saw top

Using a scrub pad and mineral oil, you will scrub the surface of the table. With sandpaper, you will just need to scrub the surface of the table. Once you have removed all rust from the surface, it will need to be scrubbed with a paste to prevent continued rusting.

Although the process of removing rust and getting the tabletop saw as clean as possible does take some time, and some elbow grease, the end result will be worth it. And this is true whether you are using a scrub pad and mineral oil or sandpaper. The tabletop of the saw will hopefully look new or close to it, depending on how much rust there was. And using a paste to help prevent more rusting means that it hopefully won’t need to be scrubbed clean again for quite some time.

You can also try to prevent rusting from the get-go by not letting people put cold drinks on the table portion of the saw. For more information, keep reading the rest of the article below!


Preventing Rust

If you don’t want to have to worry about cleaning the tabletop saw at all, then you will have to do your best to keep it clean from the beginning. This means preventing the table saw from rusting the moment you get it and every time you use it after. A big way to prevent rust is by not leaving the saw out in the rain or any wet weather conditions.

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It’s nice to be able to use the saw outside because of how loud it is and because of all the wood chips, however, if outside in wet conditions, the saw will start to rust. You can put up tarps and sunshades to help deflect the rain, or move to a garage, basement, or inside the house. These may not be ideal, but they do help prevent the saw from rusting.

Another thing to think about is what you put on the table saw. Sometimes when people come to visit and see how the project is going, the most convenient seeming place to put their drinks is on the tabletop. With cold drinks, they often leave condensation marks on the surface that they were placed on, which would be the saw in this case. This will lead to rust which is why it is smart to ask people to move their drinks or not set them down on the tabletop at all.

Checking the Situation Out

Before starting the process of removing rust, it is important to check out the entirety of the project. This means seeing how much rust is on the table saw to determine how much work you will need to do. If there isn’t a lot of rust or there is only a slight amount of rust, it won’t take that much cleaning and scrubbing.

If there is a lot of rust, say if it was able to build up over a longer period of time, the saw may not be able to become what it once was even with a lot of cleaning and scrubbing. The table saw will still be able to work for large pieces of wood, but for projects that require more detail, the saw may not be a great option for that anymore. This is especially true for saws that are already older and that have been well used.

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Ultimately, you won’t know what the saw will be capable of until after the table saw it clean.

What About Sandpaper?

If you have been doing research on how to clean your table saw, I’m sure you’ve seen quite a few places that talk about using sandpaper. Yes, sandpaper can be used to get the rust off of a table saw. However, it’s not really the best option.

Sandpaper and power sanders will scratch up the surface of the table, they will be there even if you can’t visibly see them. This will cause more moisture to build up eventually leading to you dealing with more rust. The method for using sandpaper to clean a table saw is simple, you just scrub the table. No oil is needed.

This is also true for using a power sander. It is still recommended to use a paste afterward to try to prevent more rust. Yes, the process is more simple than the one below that uses a scrubber and mineral oil, and possibly faster. But if you want the table saw to be in the best condition possible afterward, sandpaper is not the best way to go.

If the table saw is old or not used that often, sandpaper would possibly be the option that you would want to go with.

Removing Rust

There is no set amount of time that this will take. It depends on how much rust is on the saw and how much effort you put into it. But the process itself is not that hard. Using a scrub pad and mineral oil, you will coat the table in the oil and scrub the table, alternating between circles and going back-and-forth. You will then need to wipe down the table to remove the oil until the table appears to be dry.

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Mineral oil does leave a layer of the oil on the table, which is good because it helps seal the metal and prevent more rust. If the is a large amount of rust on the table saw, you may need to use an orbital sander. This will help make sure that all of the rust is removed when there is a very large amount of it. Simply place the base of the sander on the scrubbing pad and then get started.

If you would like information on removing rust, check out this site for additional information.

Protecting Against Rust

If you don’t want to deal with rust in the future and want more long-term protection than what the mineral oil provides, there are other options available to you. There are actually many products you can buy to help protect against rust, which you should be able to find at your local hardware store, whether a local one or a bigger store.

Paste waxes are good for protecting the table saw and lubricating it to keep all the parts running smoothly. There are certain pastes made for this, so do not use the type of paste that you would use on a car. For paste waxes, you will apply them to the table, wait until mostly dry, then wipe the surface of the table down.

There are also different oils that you can purchase that will help protect against rust and help things keep working smoothly, one of which is Slipit. There are others, it really just depends on what you want. So many options!