What to do About Table Saw’s Protective Coating?

What to do About Table Saw’s Protective Coating?

Recently I was given a new Craftsman Evolv 15-amp table saw. It does the job well enough. However, the coating seems to prevent wood from sliding easily when making a cut, and it tends to leave blade marks in the wood. I’m hoping you can offer a solution to resolve this. I’m in the process of making a sled, but the miter gauge slots have the same protective coating, which also prevents a smooth, continuous movement. – Jonathan Marble

Chris Marshall: Sears’s description for this saw doesn’t point out what that coating is, specifically. It might a Teflon™-type material which, ironically, would be there in order to lower the friction and make wood easier to slide across it, not harder. But, it’s also possible that the coating is just thick lacquer paint, applied poorly.

Either way, what a nuisance! It’s also potentially a safety hazard if you can’t feed material through a cut without feeling like you’re shoving it along. The cutting action should be silky smooth. Your miter gauge should also slide in its slots without resistance. So, if the saw is still covered under Sears’s standard warranty, I’d take it back and get a replacement. If the next one also has too much coating on the tabletop, I’d get my money back and buy a different saw. Two strikes would seem more than fair.

If you have no choice at this point but to keep the saw you have, I’d try to remove the rough surface of the coating without damaging the metal underneath it. To do that, I’d wet-sand the surfaces gently with 400- or 600-grit automotive sandpaper and a flat sanding block. That might knock off enough of the roughness to lower the friction without even removing all of the surface coating. (Smoothness is the goal here, not appearance.) Then polish the tabletop and miter slots with paste wax to help make the surfaces as slippery smooth as possible. Eventually, the coating would begin to wear through anyway from normal use. You’re just speeding up time while making the saw more pleasant and safer to operate. Good luck!

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  • KenF

    Chris – I’d only do the wet sanding as a last resort. I’d try paint thinner or acetone first to see if that cleans up whatever might be on the service. And then if that didn’t do it 0000 steel wool, then 000 steel wool. It all else fails, then go to the wet sanding.

    • Chris Marshall

      Ken, I think steel wool would be a better call here to help smooth the surface than acetone. If this gray coating is lacquer-based—and it might well be—acetone will dissolve it (think finger nail polish and polish remover). That could lead to a big mess in a hurry. I’d also steer clear of lacquer thinner for the same reason. But steel wool might be just abrasive enough to help Jonathan improve the sliding action. Thanks for the suggestion!

  • Bill Sellers

    Change saws

    • KenF

      I held my tongue to keep from saying just that.

  • Doug

    The coating might just be a thick rust preventative. Remove with mineral spirits then alcohol and apply a paste wax.

  • EZgoing

    IF you are stuck with the surface, you may want to consider making your jigs bases out of UHMW plastic.. Miter guide bars, bases of sleds covered in it etc..

    You may also want to consider contacting Sears to find out just what the coating is…

    Just some thoughts on the subject, good luck!

  • TimBo266

    I use Glide Coat on all surfaces where wood is to slide across. It’s also a great rust preventive for machined cast iron platforms.

  • Sascha Herrle

    Apparently this issue is not unique either.
    Look at this video for example at about 3 minutes:

  • Bert Peal

    This is just an FYI. I know that today’s craftsman tools are not the same quality that the older ones are, but I have an old (25 + years) Craftsman tablesaw that used to have the same problem, but not any more. I took it for granted that my Dad had set the saw up by the manual when he got it; turns out he didn’t. I fretted and fumed and butchered many a piece of wood and very nearly pulled my hair out trying to figure out what the problem was to no avail. Finally, I decided to just go get the manual and start from scratch and set it up step for step following the instructions. That’s when I found out that this saw had been the floor model and when the delivery folks brought it, they just left it the same way it was setup on the sales floor. This made it cut out of square, leave kerf marks and burns no matter how you tried to stop it. I found out that the fence was not assembled correctly nor were the runners that the fence rides on. All of these things worked in concert to make a tablesaw that was not only frustrating to use but also expensive and dangerous to use and extremely tiring fro the extra effort required to feed the piece through. After I remedied the mistakes, what I thought of as a large piece of scrap iron after I pulled the motor off instantly transformed into a dream to use perfect cutting and most of all safe saw. The moral of this story is be sure before you ever use any power tool that the tool is setup correctly. It doesn’t take more than about 5-10 minutes to check everything out and make any needed adjustments, and what you spend in time you get back tenfold in ease of use and fewer screwed up pieces of wood.