Cast Iron comes on many tools. Some are superb quality and others are well... not. The one thing that can be agreed upon is cast iron will last an extremely long time if properly taken care of. Problem is I didn't take the necessary precautions to protect my cast iron surfaces on my bandsaw, drill press, and lathe during my move from Texas to South Carolina. Then I let the tools sit for a year in the shop without cleaning them up. Finally enough was enough and I decided to get them cleaned up and tuned up. Read on to see how I do that.
2. Depending on how bad your surface is rusted will depend on which grit you will start with. I would not start with anything lower than the equivalent of 320 for your heavy rust. Most applications you can start around the equivalent of 600. Sanding pads work good for this application but can get very expensive. I use the 3M Scotch-Brite pads because they will stick to your random orbital sander and they come in many grits. The break down of the color to grits is:
- Tan : 120-150
- Dark Grey : 180 - 220
- Brown : 280 - 320
- Maroon : 320 - 400
- Green : 600
- Light Grey : 600 - 800
- White : 1000
Place the pad on to the sander and start sanding away making sure you are passing evenly across the entire table surface.
4. Now that our cast iron surfaces are free of rust and heavy pitting it is time to take some preventative measures to ensure our surfaces remain rust free and glide freely. I use Renaissance Wax because it has never effected my material before. It is a little more expensive so you can use another paste was like Johnson or Bees Wax. Take a small amount and apply it to a shop towel and gently rub it into the surface. While you have the wax out it is a good idea to apply it to your fences, fixtures like table saw sleds, and fence rails. Once the wax slightly hazes over take a clean towel and buff the excess wax off.
Assemble and tune up your tools then ENJOY!
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