Table Saw Top Maintenance

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Pros share tips for cleaning and waxing the working surface. June 17, 2005

What is the best stuff to use for table saw tops? Is there anything I can use that will take off finger prints? Someone told me that regular car wax is good to protect and for friction resistance. Also, is WD-40 safe to use to degrease? I don't want anything that will effect the wood when I finish it. Any help on table saw/fence maintenance is greatly appreciated.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
Empire offers a very good product that I use called Top Saver. It is a rust remover, lubricant, surface sealant, and conditioner for metal surfaces. It will never stain wood or interfere with glues or finishes.

As far as a maintenance schedule, Top Saver will reduce surface hang-ups and last for weeks or months depending upon usage.

If you want to clean the top, use (gasp!) Titebond II. Pour it on a small area and wait a minute or so and then wipe it off with a damp rag. Do this to the entire top and then thoroughly dry it off and apply butcher's wax. You can get the butcher's wax at the grocery or hardware store for about $8 and the can will last you for years. You may have to apply it more than the stuff sold for this in a spray can, but at $15 a can and 15-20 uses, it is quite expensive when you compare them.

We use SC Johnson Paste Wax, usually twice a month unless we're cutting very heavily. It protects the top from rust, makes the panels easier to handle, and we've never noticed any sort of transference from the tabletop to wood.

I use WD-40 to clean the top. Every now and then I will load the top up with WD and use a green Scotchbrite pad and 1/4 sheet sander to clean. I use plenty of rags to get the WD off after cleaning, and then I use Johnson's paste wax for a couple coats of wax. Takes some time and plenty of elbow grease, but makes for a clean/slick surface to work on. I have found the wax at Lowe's, in the cleaning supplies isle.

Instead of WD40, use CRC. Much less oily. Then scotchbrite, paper towels and spray Topcoate (couple coats) and you're good to go for a month or two.

CRC used to be CRC56. You can find it in an auto parts store. It is in the same category as WD40, but it leaves much less oily residue. Great moisture displacer, bit better solvent base to get under those damn coffee cup stains. I use the 3M finishing pads instead of the rough greenies for pots.