In the process of getting my workshop cleaned out enough to use for my latest project, I discovered the degree to which my slovenliness had damaged my tools. The biggest problem was the corrosion on the cast iron tables of my band saw and table saw. Surface rust mostly, but a fair amount of pitting too. Shameful.
In a lame attempt at deflecting blame, a basement is a horrible place for a workshop. They’re generally unheated and tend to be damp, even with a dehumidifier running. Dust seems to compound the problem by pulling moisture out of the air. Dust from MDF is the worst – it seems particularly hygroscopic, as witnessed by how dry my face and lips feel after just a short exposure to it. If it accumulates on tools it can really wreak havoc after a couple of months.
Basement shops are also dreary places. I like natural light, and working below grade under fluorescent lamps is a drag. My dream is to build a small shop in an outbuilding, surrounded by wood – no stinking concrete, and no drywall. And wood floors – concrete floors kill my back, even with floor padding. I’d have a bench next to a window and maybe even skylights for plenty of natural light. And big barn doors to slide open in the summer. And a shop dog, and maybe a cat for rodent control. Sounds awesome – maybe in Idaho.
But for now, I’m stuck in the dungeon, and I needed to get my machines back into shape. Here’s a short video on what I did to restore the tables on my rusty machines:
Granted, it’s a quick and dirty job. The right thing to do is take the tables to a reputable machine shop and have them ground down a few thousandths to get below the pitting, and to get them dead flat. This will do for now, though, and it’s nice to know I have a method for touching them up if I ever renege on my resolution to keep the shop clean.