I'm building a maple drafting table for a client. The table features two drawers along its length, one about 5" wide, the other about 30", and both about 21" deep. Both made of maple. The design calls for wooden runners on the drawers (they wanted minimal hardware on the piece). Not a problem with me - I've already built them and fit them and they slide pretty well unfinished (even the wide one - no bind ups!). I do plan on using wax on the runners. Do you just use wax on the bare wood, or finish with an oil or varnish, then polish with wax?
From contributor C:
Definitely wax on the bare wood. Varnishes and such are sticky. The surface wax won't last long anyway, but the wax embedded in the wood fibers will give years of smooth running. Same on the drawer bottoms... bare wood to bare wood with wax embedded into both. If you spray the drawers, sand the finish back on the runners and wax.
We always used paraffin that comes in a box and is in blocks that are about 5/8" thick. You can buy it in the canning section at the grocery store. Wax up the guides and drawer bottoms or sides that contact the guides very well, then move the drawers in and out to make them work nice and smoothly.