Lubricating a Jointer or Planer Bed

      Wax or a specialty lubricant can improve the performance of a jointer or planer. July 11, 2013

Has anyone ever used UHMW adhesive strips to cover a whole jointer bed or planer bed? We have a 16" w jointer and a 12" planer that need it. The goal is to reduce friction while jointing and planing. Planer especially gets stuff stuck and bogs the machine down. I see that McMaster Carr has 6" wide adhesive rolls. Do you think this will work? McMaster has several thicknesses - which would be best? The main thing, of course, is I don't want this stuff peeling up all over.

Forum Responses
(Solid Wood Machining Forum)
From contributor P:
Wax the tables. This is the preferred industry practice. UHMW is very soft and the loose thickness tolerances will screw up the precision of the machine. Eventually you will see gouges and bubbles in the UHMW.

From contributor J:
No on the plastic skin. Spray Lami Lube and wipe down. Better than wax.

From contributor U:
Just a quick FYI: Lami Lube is silicone based - potential liability for wood finishes downstream. We use Top Cote.

From contributor J:
Why is silicone not listed on the ingredients on the label? Been using it for over 5 years in a shop with a finish shop and also supplying products to other shops to finish and never had a single complaint or problem.

From contributor U:
Because silicone is not "hazardous" - only ingredients with health effects need to be listed. I read a product description for Lami Lube and it was referred to as being silicone based. Maybe the risks of using silicone in the woodshop are overblown? Just thought I would mention it.

From contributor R:
Bad idea using UHMW. We have a sled that we can mount on the planer for doing thinner stock and HDPE plastic works better than UHMW and is cheaper. You can buy it in sheets the size you want as well as UHMW.

Waxing the beds is the way to go. I spent many years servicing machines on the road. 50% of feed problems were because they didn't wax the beds.

We use Sprayway Drylube SW925 which can be used on beds and bearings. One prima donna here will only use TopKote. Sprayway is $7 a can, Topkote is $11 to $14 a can. Slip it as another favorite. As I understand it, Lami Lube has some silicon in it but isn't silicone based. There is a lot of nonsense about silicone out there. True it can cause fisheyes, but in my experience it's from airborne silicone.

I've been using auto paste wax with silicone in it for years on machine beds and never had any issues. A well-known and respected company that sells all kinds of moulder tooling and such sells a silicone based moulder bed lube - no problems there. Guess folks just get paranoid without knowing all the facts.

If you really want a nice floating table, I've always thought the air hockey table is the way to go and I've known about Glasgow Products for 20 years and just might try it. I've seen the technology on panel saw tables so can't see why it wouldn't work on other tables.

From contributor U:
Do you have any info on where to buy the Sprayway? I could not find any 925 on their web site. Not sure who is the prima donna, but I would pay $3 less per can in a heartbeat.

From contributor R:
You won't find it on the Sprayway website very easily. It's in the black label line and doesn't show on the website. I get it from Fastenal and #0602402 is their number for it. I buy it by the case and I have one on order now and it's $7.33 a can.

From contributor E:
So how do the sprays compare to paste in terms of longevity? I just finished up a can of butcher's paste wax and need to replace, but am a little apprehensive about something that sprays on versus a good ole' rub in.

From contributor J:
Okay, this is weird. Looked at MSDS - no silicone mentioned. I had my secretary email Lami Lube and ask. I had my other secretary call and ask if it contains silicone. The answer was a little bit. End of call. I called a sales rep and over the phone he had his secretary call Lami Lube. This time the answer was no, it does not contain silicone. Still waiting on the email. For a woodworking related product that maybe contains silicone, I sure would think they would print it on the label! I would like to know the truth on the silicone but it does make a hell of a bed lube!

From contributor U:
When I looked into it a little this morning with my coffee, this is what prompted me to post. Canned description from multiple online sellers:

"Product Information: One of the more popular lubricants, this highly concentrated silicon spray was specifically designed for use with plastic laminates. Lami-Lube helps prevent burns and scratches sometimes caused by self piloting router bits. Also great for table saw tops. 16oz. spray can eliminates rags and brushes for application. This manufacturer is now producing this product with a lighter propellant. The can is now 10.5oz but it has the same product volume of the 16oz can."

It will be interesting to see if someone (like a chemist or tech person, not an order entry person simply reading their MSDS) at Lami Lube can confirm or authoritatively refute this.

From the original questioner:
Could also look at it as "if it works - who cares if there are trace amounts of silicon(e) or not?" Bottom line is, if shops are using it and not having finish problems, then it really doesn't matter. It seems to be quite time-tested in the industry. Also, I don't know of anyone who puts a finish directly on something right out of the planer without sanding it first - if they do, they deserve problems! Sanding should remove any residue anyway.

From contributor R:
I actually talked to... I think it was the owner of Lamilube, and there is silicone in it. I was also talking to one of the techs at Woodtech Tooling in regard to their MBL40 moulder bed lube and it's a silicone suspended in a water based vehicle. It's used on moulder beds and in half an hour it dries and will accept finish with no problem - $40 a gallon! I've been using auto paste wax with silicone for years with no finishing problems. It's the silicone sprayed in an aerosol which causes the problems. We would look for the densest auto wax as opposed to the softer type turtle wax in the can. The denser stuff would go on thin, dry quick. Wipe it on and wipe it off and you can run your wood. A can lasts forever as well.

From contributor J:
We received an email reply from LamiLube and they said it does contain some silicone. I always assumed it did not. It's my favorite for the jointer and planer beds. Never had a problem. I have about five cans I need to use up, then I have three cans of paste wax I need to use up.

From David Rankin, forum technical advisor:
For safety, do not use a temporary slide surface. I have installed permanent slides on many machines. I use paste wax and bed lube to make the surface slick. Most bed lubes contain a micro-silicon that does not cause finish problems. Check with the supplier to get assurance on this. The bed lube that I use on my machines has never caused a problem. I have been using this for more than 20 years.

From the original questioner:
If you've always used it and had no problems, as well as others in the industry, I'd say that is proof enough. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. I wouldn't be put off by there being a little silicone in it.

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