grizzly cabinet saw

Why Use Paste Wax For Cast Iron Table Saw Top

Will Paste Wax Protect Cast Iron Tops On Woodworking Tools?

I have seen people use different products on their cast iron tops. The table saw, planer, bandsaw, or a drill press being the most common.

The best option that you can use for this purpose is paste wax for wood furniture. Never use paste wax for cars. I will go into this more soon.

To the point of protecting your table top, there are few products that can compare. Preventing rust from forming is critical on our tools.

Aside from paste wax protecting your table saw top, there are other advantages it offers.

What Is The Key Purpose Of Paste Wax?

The purpose behind this serves two key points. First it does offer protection from rust due to higher humidity.

The next purpose is that it helps to slick up the surface of the cast iron. This enables the wood to move more freely with less friction as you are making a cut on the table saw.

Where you really begin to see this pay off is when making fine crosscuts with your table saw.

Allow me to say that there is quite a noticeable difference in friction with and without the paste wax. It definitely helps.

You will discover a smooth push into the blade and resistance is minimized. In turn this allows you to better control the pressure and feed rate while making the cut.

What Is The Problem With Paste Wax For Cars?

Paste wax for cars contains silicon. If you notice, aerosol sprays also contain silicon. This is why you should never use furniture polish.

I know what you are thinking. Silicon does not harm a cast iron top. Nevertheless it will cause problems with wood when it comes into contact with it.

The silicon will prevent the finish of the wood from accepting stains or other sealers and cause blemishes. It is for this reason that any paste wax or spray that contains silicon should never be used.

How To Apply Paste Wax To The Cast Iron Table Top

How you apply the paste wax to a cast iron table top is much like how you would apply it to any other surface. Nevertheless there are a few notable differences.

You will want to apply the paste wax in a thin layer. Heavy buildup will create problems that you will have to sand out of wood later.

table saw

Like other applications, you allow the wax to sit for the products recommended time and then buff it out.

I prefer to use shop rags to buff out the wax by hand. You will notice the rag turning black once you have buffed a portion of the table out.

Move to a clean portion of the rag then simply keep going. The goal is to remove any buildup of wax and leave a clean slick surface.

This is a rather simple process that does not require great detail. Yet there is one tricky area.

I always focus on my miter slots with the table saw as I use them so often. This is a narrow gullet that can be a pain to wax and buff.

If you use paste wax on the miter slot you will notice how it likes to find corners to collect in and hide. To remedy this I have a piece of wood that I have cut to the width of the miter slot.

Simply take the wood and run it through the miter slot mimicking tool use. It will help clear out any buildup so that you can buff this area down as you need.

What Brand Of Past Wax To Use On Wood Shop Cast Iron Tops

The brand you choose is less important than the contents of the paste wax itself. Nevertheless I use Johnson paste wax.

This brand is likely the most common that you will find in many wood shops. The key is to ensure that the wax contains no silicon and is designed for use on wood.

It will protect your table top while at the same time not cause any harm to your wood projects.

Caution About Using Your Table Saw After Waxing

It is best to take a flat piece of wood scrap and run it across the table top when the waxing and buffing is completed. Why is this important?

If it is your first time doing this then you might notice a slight build up of wax on the bottom side of the wood scrap. If any wax remains on the surface of the table you will see it in the wood.

Running some scrap wood across the top helps to remove any last remaining buildup that could be in the path of a cut.

How Often Do You Need To Apply Paste Wax To Your Table Saw Top?

The answer to how often you need to apply paste wax to your table saw top really comes down to how much you use it. If you are an active shop you may need to apply wax weekly.

Most people who use their table saw daily, but is not in constant use, can apply wax bi weekly or monthly. There are ways to notice when it is time to reapply.

The moment you begin to feel that resistance in the cut from friction then it is time to reapply the wax. It can be easy to miss, except when you are making those fine cuts.

General carpenters or cabinet makers would likely never notice this change or difference. Wood artists will.

If you are not worried about the friction from the surface then a monthly application should be fine. Simply take a clean rag and wipe down the top after you have removed the wood dust and begin again.

What About Non Cast Iron Tool Tops?

Personally I never use any kind of wax on any tool top that is not cast iron. There are not many tools that this would apply too.

Most tools that will fall into this category will be things like benchtop planers or joiners. A wax application here can likely do more harm than good.

The surfaces of these tools are typically of some kind of aluminum or other alloy. These tops do not necessarily need protection and the surface does not always offer a way to gain a slick smooth finish.

Take notice of the material used to make the top. If it is aluminum and slick then you should be fine. If it has a texture where wax will fill small pits then it is best to not use any paste wax.

Paste Wax On Other Surfaces Like A Woodworking Table

If you have a woodworking table could you use paste wax? Absolutely yes. Will this benefit you?

I always look for ways to prevent moisture from getting to my equipment. As the wax will protect the table and not cause harm to any wood project, it is a win.

I prefer this method over using any kind of polishing product. The issue here goes back to so many products having silicon within its makeup.

When using this wax on your woodworking table it only needs to be enough to seal the surface. A very thin layer buffed into the grain will certainly suffice.