How to Keep A Welding Table From Rusting

We sell a lot of welding tables, and the two most common questions are:

  1. How do I keep a welding table from rusting?
  2. What fixtures can I use on your welding tables?

Well, we’ll tackle number two later, so for now let’s talk about how to care for steel tables that are exposed to the elements. Both before and after they get attacked with rust.

WD-40 Is Your Best Friend

Although everyone knows WD-40 is useful for all sorts of random things, a lot of people don’t know “WD-40” is abbreviated from the term “Water Displacement, 40th formula”. The stuff was literally developed to keep missiles from rusting!

The best thing we’ve found, and the easiest to apply is WD-40, but not from the typical aerosol can most people have laying around! Instead, opt for the non-aerosol Trigger Pro spray bottle, and spray a fine mist across the entire surface, and on the sides and legs, of the welding table. Do not wipe it down after spraying. Just leave it and it will spread out and coat everything.

Cover the table with a fine mist.

Those trigger bottles cost about $9 each, and depending on how humid your environment is you might want to coat your table every 2-4 months. So if you’re going to do regular coatings we recommend getting the 1 Gallon Container of WD-40, along with the refillable spray bottles. In the end, it will work out to be MUCH cheaper.

Just $18 gets you a whole gallon of WD-40!

What If My Table is Already Rusted?

If you didn’t prevent the table from rusting, and now you need to deal with it, there are a couple of ways – depending on how much effort you’re willing to put into it.

Resurfacing a Rusted Table

First up, don’t be afraid to take a grinder to your welding table! Just not with those hard grinding discs… Instead, you can opt for a 4.5″ flap disc. $20 will get you a stack of 10 if you go with the economy versions, and it’ll only take one or two to shine up the table – after which you revert back to coating it generously with WD-40.

We don’t actually recommend the cheap flap discs though. Instead, we go for these 5″ Ceramic flap discs. They cost about 3-4 times as much, but they last like 10 times longer! Plus, they work better, and are even plant based. So better for the environment, we suppose.

Longer lasting flap discs, and better for the environment.

If you want to speed things up even more, you can purchase one of these cheap Metabo knock-off polishing machines for $99, and get an aggressive wheel to really go at it.

$99 Polishing Machine

Chemically Converting the Rust

If you don’t have time for all that labor, your next best option is to use a chemical spray to convert the rust on the table into something inert. What you do NOT want to do is paint the table! Because if you coat it with paint, you’ll never be able to ground to it again for welding purposes.

Instead, use Ospho, which is Orthophosphoric acid, and which transforms rust to iron phosphate, an inert substance.

Ospho neutralizes rust.

The good news is that it’s easy to apply. Just put Ospho in a spray bottle and lightly coat anything you have with rust on it. There are two potentially bad bits of news however:

  • It smells like rotting garbage! Yuck! Seriously, you have to take your welding table outdoors, because after you spray it you won’t want to be near it for hours.
  • It will turn rusted areas black. So if you’re hoping for a nice shiny, new looking surface that ain’t happening. However, not only will it neutralize the rust, but those parts won’t rust again for a very long time. These treatments will typically last a year or more.

So that’s it! If you have any questions, or tips for others, just drop a comment below.

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