The Ultimate Guide for Waxing Your Table Saw
While it would be almost impossible to confuse a table saw for a surfboard, it turns out that waxing both of these is incredibly important if you want them to work correctly, last forever, and maintain their look and luster.
Sure, it sounds a little bit crazy at first – why should I wax my table saw at all? – but by the time we finish up with this detailed guide, you’ll know exactly how beneficial a bit of wax can be for this important power tool, how to go about waxing your table saw, and how to find the right wax for the job, too.
Ready to get started?
Why Should I Wax My Table Saw?
No, this isn’t a joke – you really should find the best wax for table saw applications and start rubbing it into your saw ASAP (and probably to a handful of your other tools as well).
Truth be told, waxing power tools like a table saw used to be a lot more popular with “old-timers” – folks that made their living with their tools knew exactly how to take care of them, and always made sure that they kept their tools in perfect working order simply because they had to.
Replacing tools (especially tools as valuable as a table saw) even just 50 years ago was no small thing.
Now that we can pop down to any home improvement store and grab a table saw off-the-shelf without a lot of headaches and without a lot of hassle (though we usually have to pony up a fair chunk of change to do so) people have started to look at these tools not like they are disposable, per se – but pretty close.
Here are some of the biggest reasons you’ll want to start waxing your saw right away!
Protects the Finish
You can tell a lot about the skills and seriousness of a craftsperson by the way that they take care of their tools.
When you see an older table saw that looks like it could have rolled off of the assembly line yesterday – even if it is a little dented and a little dinged up, but with a picture-perfect finish – you know that you are in the workshop of someone dedicated to their craft.
There’s also just something almost magical about working on a clean table saw. You’re able to focus, you’re able to put more pride in your work, and you’re able to enjoy the fruits of your labor a bit more, too.
Makes Clean-Up Really Easy
At first blush you might think that waxing your table saw makes it more difficult to clean up, at least I know I did!
After all, won’t a waxy material added to the surface of a saw attract more sawdust – causing it to gum up on the surface and making it nearly impossible to get rid of later down the line?
Well, believe it or not, it turns out that the opposite is true!
Waxing your table saw (with purpose-made wax for table saw applications) creates a super slick surface just like if you had waxed your vehicle.
Sawdust is able to slip right off of the surface, keeping your workspace nice and clean and free of dust and debris. That’s going to have a big impact on your final results, too.
All But Eliminates Oxidation
Even just a little bit of excess humidity can cause your table saw to start to oxidize and then (if left unaddressed for a little while) your tools can actually start to rust.
Rust is obviously not a good thing when you’re talking about a table saw. This is the last tool that you want to go down when you’re working on a project, and it’s definitely still one of the more expensive tools to replace in your workshop if it starts to rust away.
By applying wax for table saw applications on a regular basis you’re going to be able to fight back against that oxidation process.
No, you might not be able to slam the brakes on rust permanently (particularly if you live in a really humid area) but you are going to be able to slow things down big time.
Cuts Down on Friction
Last, but certainly not least, the perfect coating of wax on your saw will allow the material that you are cutting to sort of “float” across the surface of your saw with nearly no friction and resistance at all.
This is hugely important, especially when you consider just how fibrous, how porous, and how pitchy wood can be.
The odds are pretty good that you’ve been working on material you thought was perfectly flat, perfectly level, and perfectly smooth with your table saw only to discover that it catches and tears – or releases a lot of pitch and tar on the surface – and sort of comes up the process.
Well, with that slick coating of wax that becomes a problem of the past.
You’ll be able to better maneuver through your table saw, you’ll find that your table saw runs smoother, and you might even find that your cuts are a little cleaner and more accurate since you have reduced friction so much.
What Kind of Wax Should I Use on My Table Saw?>
Of course, not every kind of wax should be dumped on your table saw and then worked into the surface of the tool.
You need to make sure that you are investing in a quality wax specifically designed with tool application in mind, a wax that you can work into the surface of your tools so that it will stay there (almost as a permanent fixture between waxings) but won’t get in the way of the functionality of the tool at the same time.
There are plenty of options available on the market today, but paste wax choices made to be used on tools like table saws are where you’ll want to focus your attention. Those are the waxes that produce the best possible results, leave behind the least amount of residue, and are the easiest to apply (and reapply).
What Parts of the Saw Should Get Waxed?
It’s also important that you aren’t just slathering wax everywhere and anywhere on your table saw (at least if you don’t want to spend a small fortune on wax that can get pretty expensive, anyway).
Instead what you’ll want to do is laser target your wax approach. Start with any surface area that’s going to come in contact with materials that you are cutting.
We are talking about the tabletop itself, all of your fences, the rails that your fences slide across, and anything you’ll be putting material on.
After that has been taken care of, it’s time to start waxing the body and legs of your table saw (at least on the surface that you can reach). You don’t have to wax the insides of your table saw unless you are really, really dedicated to the cause!
If you have wax left over it’s not a bad idea to get to work on your bandsaw, your miter saw, your hand planes, and anything else that is going to get a lot of action in your workshop. Target the metal components that come into contact with material first and foremost before protecting the rest of the body of those tools.
How Do I Wax My Table Saw?
Before applying any wax to your table saw it’s important to make sure that the surface is completely clean, or at least as clean as possible.
Start this off by yanking the power cable on your saw out of the wall or out of the electrical extension cord. The last thing you need to worry about is your saw kicking on when you’re in the process of working on it.
Next, you’ll want to vacuum up as much dust and as much debris from the surface of your saw as you can clear away.
Fire up the vacuum, attach the scrubby brush to the end of the hose, and go to work.
After that has been taken care of it’s a good idea to send away any imperfections and any of the residue that might be sitting on the surface of your table saw. Like we mentioned earlier, wooden construction materials like to “bleed” tar and pitch – and those sticky substances like to coagulate together and turn into little blobs on your table saw that can kick things out of the square.
Knock off those edges with a bit of sandpaper or a putty knife to return your table back to a perfectly smooth condition.
Now is the time to give your table saw a quick rubdown with mineral spirits (or something similar), a quick evaporating cleaner that’s going to leave behind no residue but remove all the little bits of dirt, dust, and debris that would have been left behind.
Scrub your table saw down with a clean shop rag and get to work with the paste bucket!
Really push the wax down into the surface of your saw, scrubbing it into the tabletop, your rip fences, the fence rails, the miter gauge, and any other surface you want to protect.
Now you’re good to go for at least a month or so (depending on how often you use your shop). When you start to notice the wax wearing off all you have to do is rinse and repeat the process highlighted above to restore the finish back to better than brand-new condition.
You may never have imagined yourself waxing your table saw before, but hopefully, now you know just how important this piece of regular maintenance can be for keeping such an important tool in perfect working order.
A little bit of waxing (and some elbow grease) will not only keep your table saw looking brand-new for years to come, but also makes it easier to clean, prevents rust and oxidation, and cuts down on friction significantly – improving the cuts you make all the time.
Wax your saw on a regular basis. You won’t regret it!