WORKSHOP TIPS

Protecting Equipment Surfaces

By: Steve Hooper

Somewhere in my dim past I remember someone once saying  "if you don't remember to put paste wax on my saw I'll ground you".  As with most of the direction I received at that time, I forgot it.

Years later in 0% humidity Colorado, someone told me to use spray-on floor wax to make my saw slicker.  That seemed to get into places it was not needed and gum things up.   So I soon discontinued its use.

Years later I found myself in North Carolina.  Within a month all my tools had a fine coating of rust.  Out came the spray floor wax.  Well, that didn't really work.   Next came a variety of oils including Camellia oil from a Japanese tool catalog.   This last works fairly well, I still use it for special places.

Next I tried a concoction of Beeswax dissolved in mineral spirits.  This works, but requires a great amount of buffing.

By then I retired and went to work in a cabinet shop.  They use "Top Coat".   This is a man made lubricate suspended in an organic solvent.  I soon had purchased a can for my shop.  This stuff may be purchased in a spray can or in larger quantities to user in a spray bottle.  It goes on quickly, then buffs off.   It'll soon fill the steel pores and provide excellent protection.  The downside is twofold: The cost is high & I'm afraid of the organic solvent.  Both on my skin and in my lungs.  I discontinued it too.  Next I read about talc in my saw manual.  Talc provides the slickest surface.  It's easy to apply and buff, and seems to provide good protection.  The downside was the smell (all I had was baby powder) and it tends to be visible around the shop. I never detected any in a finish.  The familiar smell finally got me.

Lastly I remembered paste wax.  I keep a can with an applicator rag inside and a buffing rag around it and use it regularly.  It goes on quickly.  Buffs as well as the previous two, and is almost as slick as the top coat.