Cast Iron Surfaces


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I just wanted to get some advice and make sure I was not doing anything too wrong. I use a paste wax on the surface of my cast iron tools ( band saw / table saw / etc) and reapply every few months. It is pretty humid here so every so often I will still get a little surface rust spot. Do I just hit those with some fine steel wool and then recoat with the paste wax?  Do you need anything special when removing the rust with the steel wool?  I know there are lots of different ways but just was trying to get a general idea I am heading in the correct direction. 

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I use green scotch brite pads but yeah the small bits of rust that show up are easily removed with some abrasive (steel wool scotchbrite etc.)

If you are continually getting rust spots it may be a good indication that you need to increase your waxing frequency. Also if you have higher humidity making sure to keep the sawdust off the surface will help. Wood grabs moisture from the air and holds on to it and if the saw dust is on the surface it's essentially holding moisture there that will increase the likely hood of rusting.

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Chestnut touches on a subject often overlooked.  I have covers for some of my machines.  When I posted them someone asked something like "why bother?".  Where I live the only trouble I have with rust (other than direct moisture contact; sweat, spills, etc.) is when dust sets on the machines overnight.  When the dew point hits . . . moisture collects and there's your rust. I don't cover them all the time but, I do during periods of non use.

 

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I live in Central Texas.  I have also found the CRC works great, but my biggest rust problems comes from working in my un-air conditioned shop and dripping sweat on the tables, which turn to rust in about 42 seconds.  I wear a hat and a sweat band, but it Texas and hotter than hell here.  On the rust spots, hit it with a little CRC spray and some 600 wet/dry paper and all gone.  Hopefully next year I can swing a mini-split for the Garage.  Am I the only one with sweat issues on machines?  

 

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Oh hell no! And I tend to watch the blade more than the drops and don’t notice them till a few days later. And dummy me, I bought a a/c , heater window unit 3 years ago and probably haven’t used the a/c 10 times since buying it. I guess I enjoy the fresh Houston air too much to use it;)

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I keep my cast iron tables covered with a layer of ...

... wait for it ....

... rust.

Kidding aside, a light film of oxide is darn good at inhibiting further rust, so I do NOT attempt to polish back to shiny iron. When the fine layer forms, I may smooth it out with abrasives, but just wax on top of it. My tablesaw looks like the barrel of an old-fashion "Brown Bess" musket, but no longer forms new surface rust. Even with the TN summer humidity, I only wax it once a year to keep the wood sliding freely.

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I use the 3.36 too, but also keep a layer of plywood on the tops.  I just lift the plywood off when I use it, which might be months between uses, and put it back on when I'm done.  I'm sure there are a couple of years between 3.36 applications, or maybe more.

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I should be coating my cast iron on a more frequent schedule.   I came across my can of J&J paste wax the other day and realized I'd forgotten I had it :D.  I have used CRC and Boeshield products, too.  

Be careful of rust removal products, e.g. Boeshield's.  A lot of these are fairly aggressive.  Use sparingly.  

Under the heading of be careful what you set on them, by far the worst corrosion I had was when I set a green turning blank down on a cast iron top and proceeded to forgot about it for a couple of days.  

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