Waxing Equipment Surfaces

Using butcher's wax to make wood move easily across machine tables. April 18, 2004

I have always thought that a light coat of butcher's wax, wiped on and off my table saw table, shaper tables, cut off saw tables, etc., is a great way to keep materials moving easily across the machine. My guys think we risk getting wax on the wood and causing a problem with any finish we will use.

Have you had problems with this? I don't put a lot on, and it is dry before I run material on it.

Forum Responses
(Furniture Making Forum)
I've been using butcher's wax for almost 20 years for the same reasons you mentioned, with no side effects. If you use it lightly and you sand your product, I don't think there should be any problems.

You should buff your wax after applying it. It heats up the wax and makes it harder and smoother. Make sure you keep moving the buffer around, so as not to burn the pad (causing the pad particles to melt into the table finish). I have always used it and no problems should arise from doing it as mentioned.

25+ years using it on all machine surfaces and never a problem.

From the original questioner:
I will go with that, and tell the guys we are golden according to forum advice.

Butcher's wax is fine. I've always preferred using a hard car wax, no silicone. The amount of wax is so small there is no risk to the wood. Been doing it 30 years.

Here’s a quick tip on applying butcher's wax. Take an old cotton sock and cut it in half, keeping about six inches of it from the toe, up. Scoop up a bunch of wax and put it inside the sock. Kneed it for a bit and you’ll find the wax works its way through the fabric. Instant applicator!

Try using baby powder on your tablesaw top.

I just replaced my old jointer with a Powermatic jointer and they recommend talcum powder. However, I've been heating up my metal surfaces using a high intensity lamp, then applying butcher's wax. Once it dries, I buff it off. My tablesaw and planer are about 10 years old and not a spot of rust yet.

When I was in school, we used bowling alley wax. My understanding is that just about any kind of paste wax will work as long as it doesn't have silicone in it.

I use good ole car paste wax. Have not had any problems because I buff it off.

The comments below were added after this Forum discussion was archived as a Knowledge Base article (add your comment).

Comment from contributor A:
I've never tried the butchers wax, but we use a spray-on dry lube. It sprays on wet, and dries within a couple of seconds. You can pick it up in any hardware store. For machines used every day (like our shop) I'll usually spray down each machine at the beginning of the week. They run great if I do that.