What is the best way to remove rust from a table saw without harming the table top?
Andy Rae: Low-tech is the way to go. You’ll need some furniture paste wax, a green or gray nylon abrasive pad or 000 or 0000 steel wool, and lots and lots of elbow grease. Spread a generous amount of wax onto the surface with the pad, and work the entire surface with as much down pressure as you can muster. Placing the palm of one hand over the hand that holds the pad generates more pressure. If there are any really gnarly areas of rust, get a fresh pad, some more wax, and add more elbow grease. Work in small, circular motions to avoid streaking the surface, and be sure to rub the entire top, including the edges of the miter grooves. It should take a solid five minutes of rubbing on a standard table saw top, even if the rust is bad. When all the surface rust is gone, buff off the remaining wax and polish the top with a clean cloth. You’ll notice a couple of side benefits: The wax will protect the surface from further rust and oxidation, and the slick surface is superior for sliding your wood and sheet goods over the saw. Be sure to keep the surface in tip-top shape by re-waxing your saw on a continual basis. However, you can skip all the muscle work and simply rub on the wax with a cloth, then buff as before. It takes about 30 seconds.
Richard Jones: WD40 and 0000 wire wool (called steel wool in the US) removes light rust. Follow up with some paste wax or, probably better still, one of the proprietary spray-on rust inhibitors.