Volunteer Opportunity - Machine Maintenance - 5 Minute Task

Hi All,

We are experiencing an unusual amount of rust and staining on the machine decks due to warmer temperatures and higher humidity in the shop so I’m asking all members to help out with a light sanding and oiling of the machine decks when working in the shop.

Thanks to @bbchops for making me aware of the problem and working on the machines this past weekend!

I’ll set up a container with sanding blocks, fine grit paper, and lubricant tomorrow.

Process would be to use the a small (less is better - Just enough to glide the abrasive) amount of oil and a sanding block (600 grit or finer) to remove corrosion over the entire deck. Light pressure and a circular motion work best. After - remove all excess thoroughly with a paper towel.

I’ll be in Wednesday noon to early evening, and again Saturday morning if anyone would like a quick bit of instruction.

Thanks all!


I’m at work all day and then I’ve got the meet the candidates meeting tonight, but I’m off all day tomorrow, I can help all day.

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Thank you. Honestly, it’s a quick task per machine at this point. Just wanted to raise the awareness that is a issue and get some of the shop users taking a machine for a few minutes while they are in for a project.


It’s looking like I won’t be in until Saturday, but I’d love for you to show me exactly what you mean when I’m there. I’ll certainly make sure to do my part whenever I’m in the shop!

Great! I’ll be there by nine Saturday for class at ten until 3 or so.Thanks a bunch!

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Fantastic, I’ll be there around 9:15-9:30 and can stick around after class if need be :slight_smile:

I used to use paste wax but switched to CRC 3-36 about 15 years ago. Buff with purple scotchbright pad about 2000 rpm, sometimes i also buff with a finer gray pad, wipe down with a solvent, spray with CRC 3-36. Wipe off excess. I do this every 1-2 years or when my wife sets a wet glass on one of my machines. 1-2 times a year I also rub the surface with the flat side of a soapstone, this came from an old powermatic manual. Need to wait until the crc is dry before using soapstone. I haven’t had any surface rust like shown in the above photos.

I could come in late Saturday morning, anytime Saturday if it rains. I usually go for a bike ride on dry Saturday mornings.

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I start with this 3M bristle brush when restoring an old machine with heavy surface rust.

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Hey Paul, I’m not a big fan of using sand paper or steel wool on the cast iron. I prefer using scotch brite pads. It gets the job done and can’t scratch the metal surface. I noticed yesterday there were several green scotch brite pads distributed around the shop. Those work perfectly.

Are you sure it is just high humidity that’s getting to the cast iron surfaces? Several of those surfaces I cleaned and waxed had rust on them 2 days later. I’ve never seen that happen before. Could it be caused by running really green wood through the machines?

I really like @rlisbona’s technique. I looks like a great update to my old method. I’ve ordered a bottle of the CRC that’s supposed to arrive on Friday. I’ll try to meet you guys on Saturday.


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It was unusually hot and humid in the workshop in 104 this last weekend. I’ve never seen rust like this on equipment since we’ve been at this location. What has changed? If the AC is off to save money then perhaps we should get some big dehumidifiers.

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The A/C in that area is broken and is being replaced as soon as the contractor can get a new one out here. The landlord is paying approximately 15/16th’s of the cost.


It would be interesting to test wax vs CRC vs soapstone, maybe apply different methods to sections of a tablesaw top.


Do you think the cause might be people using spray or moistened wipes to disinfect machinery after each use?




Using sand paper eventually leads to someone using too aggressive of a grit, which eventually leads to the next person using too aggressive of a grit and using too much elbow-grease, which eventually leads to unintended but actual stock removal and a non-flat surface over time.

I have plenty of 320 grit scotch-brite pads if they are wanted/needed for this activity.


You know, I hadn’t thought of moistened wipes being the source of the rust, but it makes sense. We need to get an exception to the wipe down rule if that is the case. That or switch to a pure alcohol spray. We also need to make sure the members are NOT spraying disinfectant onto/into the on/off switches. Spraying a rag and using the rag to wipe them down is the way to go.

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Thats going to be tough on the machines if we are wiping the machine surfaces with water or solvents. I was picturing wiping handles and start/stop switches. Would you wipe down a sanding table or cnc router or plasma table?

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I hope that no-one is using a disinfectant wipe or other water based product!

@mblatz - I’m not sure I agree that using fine grit media and a sanding block cause either surface irregularities or lead to the use of coarser grit media… It’s not like it’s a gateway drug :slight_smile:.

@rlisbona do you think the high duty cycles at the space would impact the effectiveness of the CRC? I know you’ve mentioned how good it is in the past.

That’s what they always say, then next thing you know the cops pull you over and find a roll of 80 grit in your trunk. :wink:


I’ve got some 3-1/2 grit stashed away… I gave a few of the wood turners a piece and I haven’t seen them pick up a chisel since!


If rust is caused by wipes there might be swirl marks with some areas of heavier rust.

I also don’t think sand paper is a good idea. Someone could easily have good intentions but the wrong grit sandpaper handy.

I could bring my supplies to polish the jointer, planer, and tablesaws if needed from 3-4ish saturday. It takes 10-15 minutes per machine so there would be several opportunities for people who wanted to learn or observe. Or pick another time