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Grime-stoppers, rid your tablesaw of dust

Man at dusty tablesaw

It's ironic: Tablesaws create dust with every cut, but that same debris can restrict the saw's ability to tilt, elevate, and make more cuts. Even with effective dust collection in place, gunk tends to build up on the gears, trunnions, bearings, and motor. Here's how you can beat the dust gremlins.

Make a clean sweep
Begin your cleanup by sucking out as much debris as possible from inside the saw cabinet with a shop vacuum, preferably with a narrow nozzle. Be sure to wear eye and breathing protection. Next, close the access door and remove the blade from the arbor. With your dust collector running, blow compressed air into the throat opening to clear as much dust as possible, directing it toward the dust port.

After you've blown off all the dust you can through the blade throat, open or remove all the access doors and panels. Now blow out as much dust as possible by shooting compressed air through all the openings. You'll likely have to do this several times from above and below to completely evacuate the dust.

Next, use a steel or brass wire brush, below, to dislodge grime from your saw's gears, threaded rods, trunnions, and bevel stops. For tough grease-and-gunk deposits, dip the brush in mineral spirits and scrub. Just keep any such solvents well away from bearings to avoid damaging them.

Dusty gears
You don't need to remove dust from all the cast-iron elements. Instead, focus on cleaning the moving parts, such as these gears.

Spraying gear parts
While spraying the cleaned parts with a lubricant, turn the handwheels through a full range of motion to distribute the coating.

Apply lube—but do it right

Once you've blown and brushed clean all the internal components, lubricating them with more grease will only attract gunk-building dust again. Instead, coat them (above photo) with a penetrating, self-drying lubricant such as ProGold's PG2000. (See Source below.) This product soaks into the pores of the steel and cast iron to provide the much-needed lubrication without attracting dust. Squirt some onto the cleaned parts, and then turn the handwheels to spread the lube evenly. Have a rag handy to wipe up any excess lubricant. Wait for the PG2000 to dry before cutting wood again. Make sawdust while it's wet and you'll just create the problem again. You might need two or three applications for best results.

ProGold PG2000: product #147403, 16 oz., Woodcraft Supply, 800-225-1153 or

Man at dusty tablesaw
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