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You can always make the table saw top smoother by applying some wax. Unless the surface is rusty or has deep scratches. But even so, you should finish the surface with a coat of table saw wax after sanding it down.
Waxing the table saw surface is an important routine maintenance practice for table saws. It keeps the surface slick to ensure that the workpieces glide across the tool with ease. This as a result helps prevent quality and safety problems that arise from working with a table saw that has a rough top.
In this article, we explore some of the best table saw wax compounds that you can apply to a table saw top to enhance its smoothness and slickness. But first, what is table saw wax?
Table of Contents
What is Table Saw Wax?
Table saw wax is a type of wax for polishing and finishing furniture that can also be applied to the surface of a table saw to reduce friction and make it slicker so that materials can glide more smoothly.
The wax is also called paste wax or woodworking wax. It is typically made from a mixture of natural waxes, such as beeswax or carnauba wax, and petroleum distillates.
In addition to making the table saw top smoother, paste wax also protects the surface from rust and other forms of corrosion. It is one of the best protective lubricants for tools such as table saws, planers, jointers, horizontal panel saws, and band saws that have metallic surfaces.
Table saw wax is an essential compound to keep in the garage if you reside in humid regions such as the Gulf Coast or Southern Florida. You can apply it to your tools to prevent moisture build-up, especially in the summer. Waxing your tools should be a routine in the summer especially if your garage is unheated and uninsulated.
Why Wax The Table Saw Surface?
As I have mentioned, waxing the table saw has numerous benefits. Not only does it create a smooth and slick surface but also prevents oxidation of the iron and/or aluminum surfaces. This ultimately extends the lifespan of your table saw.
When a table saw top has a mirror-smooth finish, it enables you to maintain a consistent feed rate of stock to the blade. This results in more accurate cuts and minimizes the risk of burning wood on the table saw or tear outs.
Paste wax also works great on sleds and jigs. You can apply it to the bottom of cross-cut and miter sleds of your table saw to make them slide more smoothly.
3 Best Waxes For Table Saw Top
1. Minwax Paste Finishing Wax – Best Value for Money
Minwax paste wax is arguably the best wax for table saw tops and other cast iron woodworking machine surfaces. It is fairly priced and easy to apply. The wax holds up well to protect the surface for a long time.
A customer on Amazon had this to say,
“My table saw has been sitting in my damp basement shop (stone foundation walls) for almost a full year and still looks like the day I polished it. I have since upgraded the saw and used the product again on my new one. I am impressed at the impact it has and how long it has held up. Great product!”Amazon Customer
Minwax has a natural color that leaves a natural finish on surfaces. It also offers good protection from rust and creates a smoother surface for workpieces to glide across when cutting them on a table saw.
It pays off to keep a can of Minwax paste wax in your garage for maintaining your woodworking tools and jigs. This paste also does an excellent job finishing wood products. It works better than liquid wax when you are trying to maintain the same color of a finish.
2. SC Johnson Paste Wax – Most Popular
SC Johnson paste is perhaps the most popular waxing compound among woodworkers. It comes in a signature yellow can and is easy to apply. The wax keeps the top of power tools as clean as new and smooth as a mirror.
Johnson wax is fairly clear and does not stick to your workpieces. This allows you to stain and paint your wood without additional cleanup. The wax also does not attract sawdust and debris if you let it dry and buff it out properly.
You can use it to condition and seal cast iron working surfaces of your machinery to keep them from rusting.
Unfortunately, Johnson’s paste wax is quite costly, almost 3x the price of Minwax. It also has a strong gasoline smell that you might not like. This is probably because the wax contains deodorized naphtha, carnauba wax, microcrystalline wax, and paraffin. So, even though the awful smell does not last long, it is good to apply the wax in a well-ventilated area.
That being said, this paste wax does an excellent job of keeping moisture at bay on your metallic tools and wood surfaces. It also leaves a nice-looking finish on your tools and wood projects.
3. Howard’s Citrus Shield Paste Wax – Best Smelling
If you dont like the smell of SC Johnson or Minwax paste waxes, then Howard wax finish may be a good choice for you. It has a sweet citrus smell that will leave your garage smelling like oranges.
This wax leaves a great shine and a good protective neutral coat on your workpieces. Not to mention it makes your table saw top smoother and newer. And above all, it is manufactured in the U.S.
The only thing I don’t like about the Howard paste wax is the quantity. You get slightly below 1lb of wax for nearly the same price as Minwax.
How To Apply Table Saw Wax
Applying wax to a table saw is just as easy as waxing a car. You just need to prepare the surface properly, slather the wax all over the table, and buff it out to remove the excess. These are the simple steps I follow:
You will need:
- Shop towels
- Paste wax
- Steel wool
- Microfiber cloth
Step 1: Clean the surface thoroughly.
If the surface of your table saw has rust or scratches, start by spraying WD-40 generously and let it sit for 10 minutes. Then rub the surface lightly will scotch-brite pad or steel wool before wiping it off with a towel.
If the scratches are deep, you might have to sand down the surface with a sander or high-grit sandpaper.
Otherwise, just apply WD-40 or mild soapy water and wipe clean with a shop towel.
Step 2. Apply paste wax
Use a shop cloth to slather wax on the table saw top. Start from one corner, and wipe it on in a circular pattern until you get to the opposite diagonal corner. Add more wax to the cloth until the entire top has a nice even coat of wax.
Step 3. Let the paste wax dry off
It takes about 10 minutes for the wax to dry off on a warm day. But on a cooler day such as during winter, it might take 30 minutes. Don’t let the wax stay for long because it can gunk up and make the surface sticky.
Step 4. Buff off excess wax
Use a clean dry shop cloth to buff off the surface. Start wiping it from the original corner to the opposite corner. Then finish with a microfiber cloth to make the surface mirror smooth.
Now your table saw surface is slicker and the stock can slide more smoothly. It is also well protected from rust and corrosion.
Repeat the same steps on the surfaces of your other woodworking tools including the planer bed, band saw table, router, and the base plate of circular saw or track saw. You can also apply the wax to the bottom of jigs and sleds to make them slide more easily without holding up.
There you have it! Waxing is not only a good maintenance practice for furniture but also tables saws and other tools in the workshop.
To recap, you have learned that waxing the table saw surface protects it from rust and makes the stock slide smoothly and effortlessly. But the wax must not contain silicon because silicon paste wax can contaminate wood and affect the finish. It is also hard to remove silicon wax from wood.
You have also learned that any tool in the workshop can be waxed to keep it in good shape.
And how often should you wax tools? You dont need to coat your tools with wax so often. Just do it once a month and make sure you buff the wax nicely so that it will not attract debris/dust and gunk up. Also, always clean up the surface thoroughly before applying wax.