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Thread: Orbital sanding cast iron table?

  1. #1
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    Feb 2008
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    Orbital sanding cast iron table?

    Well throughout all this building of things (will post another project I just kinda finished), I've been using my grandpa's table saw in the basement. Of COURSE, now that I'm done working on stuff I want to clean and wax the table top Yeah should have done that before I started I know Anyway, I used one of those abrasive kitchen cleaning pads and wd-40 to scrub the rust off. Didn't work as great as I thought it would so I used the pad with Acetone after that. Didn't do much more. Now this thing was in pretty bad shape about 2 years ago because my grandpa left it in the shed one winter with no rust prevention actions taken. He cleaned it up write away, but I tried to clean it more, and although it did get a lot off, like I said not as much as I would have hoped. Is this thing just "as good as it gets" right now? Or would it be an absolutely crazy idea for me to take an orbital sander to it with a finer grit? It even sounds like a bad idea to me, but I didn't know if that was against the "rules" or anything? Or is there any other way to do this... with some super duper cleaning product? Thanks in advance for your ideas
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails IMG_2241 (600 x 450).jpg  

  2. #2
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    It doesn't look that bad to me, but if you want to clean it up more, you can take a sander to it as long as you don't get carried away and leave it running in one spot while you go get yourself a cup of coffee. If you work your way through the sandpaper grits -- maybe starting at 220 and going up to 600 or so -- you can bring out a nice shine. Unless you're really heavy-handed and sand unevenly, I don't think you'll do anything to hurt the top.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

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  3. #3
    Westley...

    I agree with Vaughn...it looks pretty good. But........something that worked for me one time was to take a handplane (jointer length is best, but whatever). Cut some sandpaper strips the size of the sole and use spray adhesive to adhere to the plane. When a strip is spent, take it off, wipe the sole with some lacquer thinner, and stick on another. This is somewhat tedious and labor intensive, but it does avoid the potential problem of uneven sanding. You might even get it flatter than it is now. If you really want to give it a polish run up through the grits to 1000 or so, although this is primarily to make it pretty and not to improve functionality. You'll probably be weary of the process long before that.

    Post another photo when you've finished.

    Cheers.

  4. #4
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    Orbital sanding cast iron table?

    Actually Westley,

    You were on the right track, just skipped an important step though. I have learned that to remove rust from a cast iron surface, use a single edge razor blade, at a low angle, and "cut" the oxidation off, just like planing wood. I recommend using a holder on the blade to make it easier to hang on to. Even one of those little plastic razor blade holders work well. I kind of push the blade at a skewed position and it slices the rust off good. I go over a small area at a time and do it a couple times. If you find any knicks on the table, cut them down with a flat file so you don't mess up your razor blade. You will be surprised just how much comes off.

    After that, do what you did with the Scotchbrite pad and WD-40, (or kerosene will work too). When you get the top looking good, (there might be some patina stains left, but that is not bad), wipe the surface down with lacquer thinner or DNA, dry it off, and apply a couple coats of Johnson's paste wax.. Apply the wax, let it flash off and buff it off with a rag and apply again. Don't forget to clean and wax down in the miter grooves too.

    Do this and repeat a couple times a year and you will keep a nice looking, and easy working table for a long time with no more rust. (Of course, avoid any cold, sweaty drink containers and such, always)

    As for sanding, an orbital sander will work if you keep it flat as you sand. 180 or 220 grit should work ok. Keep it flat at the edges too, so you don't start rounding it over.

    Let's see how yours turns out later. It does not look bad now though.

    Aloha, Tony
    Last edited by Tony Baideme; 02-03-2009 at 06:27 PM.
    "You got to learn from the mistakes of others. You won't live long enough to make them all yourself". (Author unknown)

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  5. #5
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    another vote for lookin go now, and to furhter it along do as tony suggested,,wax it good.. and when you go by and have nothing to do, giver another shot. as for the stains you might get them out, but they are just battle scars that tell the tale it was used and then agin taken care of...
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn McMillan View Post
    ...as long as you don't get carried away and leave it running in one spot while you go get yourself a cup of coffee. ... Unless you're really heavy-handed and sand unevenly, I don't think you'll do anything to hurt the top.
    Well I guess it's a good thing I'm not a coffee drinker then Cool, this was the answer I was hoping for. The finest I had was actually only 120, but it did a great job and looks good to me. I agree with all you guys that say it didn't look bad the way it was, I just wanted to be like this I'm pretty anal about that stuff I guess the way I looked at it is, hey if I'm going to do this once and then KEEP it in great shape, might as well go all the way

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Gerhard View Post
    Westley...

    I agree with Vaughn...it looks pretty good. But........something that worked for me one time was to take a handplane (jointer length is best, but whatever). Cut some sandpaper strips the size of the sole and use spray adhesive to adhere to the plane. When a strip is spent, take it off, wipe the sole with some lacquer thinner, and stick on another. This is somewhat tedious and labor intensive, but it does avoid the potential problem of uneven sanding. You might even get it flatter than it is now. If you really want to give it a polish run up through the grits to 1000 or so, although this is primarily to make it pretty and not to improve functionality. You'll probably be weary of the process long before that.

    Post another photo when you've finished.

    Cheers.
    Ed you betcha I'll post a pic! Also what you explained is a good way to try it sometime. You're right that would help out with keeping it even, or even just a big hunk of wood with sandpaper Thanks for the tip!

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Baideme View Post
    Actually Westley,

    You were on the right track, just skipped an important step though. I have learned that to remove rust from a cast iron surface, use a single edge razor blade, at a low angle, and "cut" the oxidation off, just like planing wood. I recommend using a holder on the blade to make it easier to hang on to. Even one of those little plastic razor blade holders work well. I kind of push the blade at a skewed position and it slices the rust off good. I go over a small area at a time and do it a couple times. If you find any knicks on the table, cut them down with a flat file so you don't mess up your razor blade. You will be surprised just how much comes off.

    After that, do what you did with the Scotchbrite pad and WD-40, (or kerosene will work too). When you get the top looking good, (there might be some patina stains left, but that is not bad), wipe the surface down with lacquer thinner or DNA, dry it off, and apply a couple coats of Johnson's paste wax.. Apply the wax, let it flash off and buff it off with a rag and apply again. Don't forget to clean and wax down in the miter grooves too.

    Do this and repeat a couple times a year and you will keep a nice looking, and easy working table for a long time with no more rust. (Of course, avoid any cold, sweaty drink containers and such, always)

    As for sanding, an orbital sander will work if you keep it flat as you sand. 180 or 220 grit should work ok. Keep it flat at the edges too, so you don't start rounding it over.

    Let's see how yours turns out later. It does not look bad now though.

    Aloha, Tony
    That is interesting as well. Next time I come across some old rusty thing that needs cleaning I will give that a whirl. Thanks for the info! Of course I will never put drinks on the cast tables

    Quote Originally Posted by larry merlau View Post
    another vote for lookin go now, and to furhter it along do as tony suggested,,wax it good.. and when you go by and have nothing to do, giver another shot. as for the stains you might get them out, but they are just battle scars that tell the tale it was used and then agin taken care of...
    I hear ya Larry. Gotta show off that it's been used once or twice hey I will definitely keep up the wax jobs on this thing.

    Here's a pic all redone and waxed up!

    Thanks for the replies guys!

    Oh forgot to mention, I did do the miter slots and the fence, no worries
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails IMG_2251 (600 x 450).jpg  

  7. #7
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    yu dun good westly i can still see the machining marks so you shouldnt have set in one place to long.it looks like new now
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  8. #8
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    Beautiful job.
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  9. #9
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    Orbital sanding cast iron table?

    Excellent job Westley. Even better than one I did. ( I guess I gotta practice what I preach more.)

    Keep it that way and you can be proud. Plus, it will be easier to cut wood on that table now too.

    Aloha, Tony
    "You got to learn from the mistakes of others. You won't live long enough to make them all yourself". (Author unknown)

    "Time flies like..... an arrow,,,Fruit flies like..... a banana." Groucho Marx

    Ah,,,to live in Paradise!

    Registered voting member

    Fighting for all I am worth, and praying every day.

  10. #10
    Looks great Westley. Right off the factory floor. Tony's suggestion about the wax is a good one...protects it, and stock slides better. It will require occasional recoating.

    Cheers.

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