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Rust? RUST?!? Aaaaiiiiiiieeeeeeeee!!

Last night, I had to crank out a dozen little 2x2” tabletop flag holders for my son’s Eagle Scout ceremony this weekend. Simple little things: just a square of ¾” thick oak-veneered MDF with a little chamfer around all four top edges and a hole in the middle for the little plastic flagpole. I’d promised my wife I’d do this last weekend, but never got around to it, so now, at 9:00 on Tuesday night, it was crunch time.

Now, this is a real transitional time of year, when my garage shop goes from being part garage/part shop to all-shop/all-the-time. Last weekend, I winterized the riding mower and put it in storage; the weekend before, a buddy and I winterized our campers and put them in storage; last Monday, the Christmas lights for the outside of the house came OUT of storage while I tried to take advantage of the one last blast of warm weather by getting them hung. (I failed—half the lights were burned out, so I spent the afternoon replacing them instead of hanging them, but I digress.) So, during this transitional time, stuff sometimes just gets set anywhere.

Including on my cabinet saw.

Now, I always keep a moving blanket on it whenever it’s not in use to protect it from scratches, humidity, etc. But when I pulled the blanket off last night, there was a big old splortch of rust right next to the throat plate on the tabletop. Someone—could have been me—must have set something wet on the moving blanket, thinking it wouldn’t get through to the tabletop.

It did. AAAAiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeee!!!!

Not panicking (okay, a little panicky, which is why I don’t have any photos) I grabbed my spray bottle of Top Saver and spritzed the rusty area. It wasn’t looking good at first. Don’t know how long the moisture had been sitting there, but the tabletop felt a little rough and pitted, so I worried that the damage was permanent. Scrubbing the rust with the synthetic abrasive pad that comes with the Top Saver kit helped, but I didn’t want to bear down too much for fear of leaving swirly scratches on my tabletop (I’ve done that before—hate it).

Then it occurred to me: That’s exactly why I have a random-orbit sander, for aggressive abrasion without scratching. I stuck the abrasive pad to the empty hook-and-loop pad on my 5” ROS, turned it on, and went over the rusted area. Within a few seconds, the stain had almost completely disappeared. I’ll bet this would work great on a tablesaw top or jointer bed with a lot of surface rust.

Despite the late start and the setback, I had the little flag holders cut, chamfered, and finished (dipped them in Golden Oak Watco) before the 10:00 news.


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