It’s a fact that many craftsmen could stand treat their equipment with a little more care and respect. Sometimes we perceive our tools as invincible or somehow beyond requiring the assistance of us as their operators. It is also a fact though, that our equipment does need our help to stay in top form. They need a simple tune-up or wipe-down to remain their tough and buxom selves. Take our table saws for example, the kings of the woodshop for unrivaled strength and ability, but if left alone, that strength and ability will suffer. A table top will rust and stick and your results will suffer in turn. Ensure your results stay beautiful by simply exercising a little up-keep with your saw top.
Although it does require a bit of elbow grease to keep that table saw top clean and rust-free, it’s also a very simple and worthwhile process. Requiring not but a little time, effort, WD-40, and some good old-fashioned paste wax, keeping that saw top in top form is as easy as a few rudimentary steps. Start by simply dusting off the saw top with either some compressed air or a clean, dry shop rag. It is important to never apply water to your saw top as this will contribute to rust damage. After any debris has been removed from the table top use a white Scotch-Brite pad (or something similar) to slather the saw top with WD-40 (you may also use CRC which is a little less greasy, or any standard cutting oil).
Using circular motions, thoroughly rub the WD-40 over the entire saw top focusing on rusty or otherwise sullied areas.
Next, using what will likely turn into more than several clean and dry shop rags, completely remove the WD-40 from the saw top.
After it has been thoroughly cleaned, apply a few coats of wax or TopCote to keep the surface of your saw top smooth and protected. Again, using circular motions to ensure the fullest coverage, apply a liberal amount of paste wax (i.e. SC Johnson paste wax) or butcher’s wax (which may usually be found at the grocery, hardware, or home-improvement store), or thoroughly spray a liberal amount of TopCote over the entire saw top. Both wax and spray options behave in generally the same way and yield the same general results. The TopCote may last a bit longer but it is also quite a bit more expensive, ultimately, the method best for you whittles down to personal preference. Either way though, this will protect your saw top from rust while also making your panels far more manageable.