Can You Wax the Table Saw Top To Make It Smooth?

Disclosure: We may earn commissions at no cost to you from qualifying purchases made via the product links in this article.

You can apply wax on a table saw surface to make the stock glide more easily. However, you should know why the surface is rough in the first place because wax will not fix all the table saw roughness.

In this article, I will share some of the reasons why a workpiece might not glide smoothly on a table saw and how to fix it.

Workpiece Not Sliding Smoothly On The Table Saw? Why?

A table saw can burn a workpiece (especially wood) when it doesn’t slide smoothly and consistently into the blade. This may occur as a result of the blade spinning more at one place on the wood kerf, causing it to heat up and burn the wood grain.

A workpiece can fail to glide easily on the table saw top either because the surface is rough or because you feed it too slowly into the blade. When it is the latter, you can correct it easily by increasing the feed rate.

But you should not push the stock too fast as it would strain the blade and cause it to cut ineffectively. Sometimes pushing the stock too hard can cause the blade to overheat and burn the workpiece.

On the other hand, you cannot fix a rough table saw top by changing the feed rate. You need to work on the rough surface to improve it. But you cannot make the table saw top smooth again if you don’t know why it is rough.

What Makes a Table Saw Top Rough?

There are several factors that can make a table saw top rough but these four are the most common:

1. The buildup of residue from sawdust and wood shavings

The accumulation of wood dust and debris on the table saw surface can cause it to become rough. The sticky sap from wet wood can make the debris stick on the surface even harder. Don’t be surprised if the table saw top gets nearly as murky as the blade if you don’t clean it regularly.

2. Rust or corrosion

rusty table saw top
Rusty table saw

Exposure of a table saw to moisture and humidity can cause rust to form on the metallic surface.

Additionally, pouring chemicals or substances such as sawdust, oil, and other liquids on the table saw top can accelerate corrosion and rust.

The surface of a table saw may also become rough if don’t clean the surface properly after use. Pitch and resin from wood may stick and form dirt patches that are hard to remove over time.

3. Scratches and dings

A table saw surface can sustain scratches and dings from improper handling or movement of the saw or materials being cut.

Furthermore, dropping heavy tools and objects onto the surface or dragging abrasive materials on the table saw can leave irreversible marks and dents.

4. Wear and tear from long-term use

Lastly, a table saw top can become rough from wear and tear over time from normal use. This is usually a sign that a table saw is due for replacement.

How To Fix Rough Table Saw Top

So, how do you make a table saw top smooth? You can restore the smoothness of a table saw top to make workpieces slide more smoothly by undertaking the following measures:

1. Clean the table saw top regularly

Clean the surface thoroughly to remove any debris or substances that are making the surface rough. This is the easiest solution and should be part of the table saw maintenance routine. Water and soap and a soft sponge are all you would need. But if the gunk is hard to come off, you may try any of these methods of cleaning a dirty saw blade.

Always clean the surface of the table saw after a day’s job to prevent the buildup of dust particles and debris. You can also apply a lubricant such as WD40 to keep away moisture.

2. Wax the surface to restore smoothness

Another great way to restore the smoothness of a metallic table saw top is by waxing. Wax is the perfect protective coat for steel or cast iron tops on saws and planers. It is also the best finish for a sanded table saw surface and plastic tops.

Waxing the table saw top makes workpieces glide easier. It also protects metal surfaces from rust by forming a protective layer that inhibits oxidation caused by moisture in the air.

Just apply a thin coat of wax and spread it evenly. The wax will also protect the surface from further damage.

My favorite table saw wax is Johnson paste wax. It is my go-to fix for steel or cast iron tops on saws and planers. I also use it as the last protective coat on steel tops after cleaning them with WD-40.

Check out other alternative paste waxes for table saws in this article.

Johnson paste wax for table saw

You can make it a routine to wax the top of your table saw every once in a while because the wax stays on the surface for some time before wearing off.

3. Sand the surface to remove scratches

The third solution is to sand the surface. This is important if the surface of a table saw became rough due to rust and corrosion. Simply sand the surface with progressively finer grit sandpaper until it is smooth again. After sanding, apply a protective layer of paste wax as I have advised above.

Alternatively, use WD-40 and steel wool to clean off rust. Then slather on some wax to seal off moisture and to make the things slide a lot smoother.

4. Replace the table saw top

Lastly, if the damage on the table saw top is severe, you may have to replace it or get another table saw altogether. Damages such as dings or holes are hard to fix.

But most importantly, follow manufacturer recommendations and safety guidelines when working with table saws and performing repairs. And avoid using your table saw top as a shelf. It is the most sacred part of a table saw. If it is not mirror-smooth, you will definitely struggle to get good quality cuts even with the best blade.


Hey there! I am an field electrical engineer by day, a blogger by night, and DIYer on weekends. Throughout my career, I have used many tools and learned that getting the right tool for the job is the first step to getting the job done right. This is why I write about tools and tests/reviews them on this blog.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *