Shop Tip: Wax On, Wax On Again


waxtoolsA few years ago I discovered through a tip in a woodworking magazine that waxing the surface of your table saw was a good thing to do.

Not being the wiser, I grabbed the nearest wax on hand, which happened to be a name brand car wax.

I lathered the table top with the stuff and buffed the daylights out of it and came up with a very nice slippery table. I was so impressed that I gave my thickness planer and jointer beds the same treatment. Little did I know that this would cause me some grief in the very near future.

What I had failed to read in that tip was the fact that a paste floor wax was to be used, not car wax that contained of all things, silicone. You see, silicone, wonderful stuff that it is does nothing for wood that has to be finished. The fact about silicone is that when not cured it will stick to anything. When cured absolutely nothing will stick to it. So stains and other finishes could not penetrate to the wood, leaving blotches and streaks where there should be none.

For the longest time, and I mean a long time I used nothing on my surfaces. It was getting to the point of being dangerous because I had to push so hard to get the wood across the table. It was time to smarten up and do the right thing.

That was a couple of weeks ago, since then I have not found a can of good old SC Johnson® paste floor wax in any of the local hardware, general or grocery stores within a hundred mile radius of home. I had to resort to calling around the neighborhood and bumming a part can from a friend. I went to work immediately on first the table saw top, then the thickness planer, the jointer, scroll saw and two band saws.

The procedure is quite simple. First, make sure the top is free of any rust, nicks, glue and pitch. Spread a fine film (it needs only a very thin layer) of wax on the surface with a soft cloth and let dry for five to ten minutes.

With light elbow grease buff to a very even hard shine. The difference will amaze you; sawdust and debris will blow off easily. Wood will glide through your blade with little effort, making it much safer and with greater accuracy.

Depending on how often you use your tools, the waxing may have to happen on a regular basis. For the ten to fifteen minutes it takes to do this little thing, the payoff is more than worth it just in safe use alone.

If you cannot find any SC Johnson® Paste Floor Wax in your area, try asking some neighbors. Some will have a part can they don’t need, left over from the old floor polishing days. Another choice would be Trewax® Paste Floor Wax. Just remember, no wax with silicone should be used.

As always, please follow all tool and shop safety rules, especially the wearing of safety glasses.

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