Frequency of Waxing Cast Iron Tools

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Forum topic by ardbeg posted 03-31-2010 03:00 AM 2840 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View ardbeg's profile


102 posts in 3197 days

03-31-2010 03:00 AM

I am wondering how often those of you who have garage-based shops wax your table saws, jointers and other cast iron tools. I have been waxing mine every couple of days since I got mine and should really be buying stock in S.C. Johnson for how much wax I have been going through.

-- You may delay, but time will not. --Ben Franklin

23 replies so far

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3343 days

#1 posted 03-31-2010 03:09 AM

My most sincere answer would be … just enough to keep rust from forming.

I doubt that you can apply too much wax for cast-iron tops, but … I also don’t think you’d do yourself any favors by having too much build up.

So … maybe once a season … I might use a Scotchbrite pad with some odorless mineral solvents (even Simple Green or WD-40 would work), and give the tops a good scrubbing … down to the metal … and then re-apply.

I have a basement shop. Humidity down there tends to run between about 40 and 45%. I’m not having a rust issue, but probably wax the tops monthly or so … for pure protection … and … to keep the wood moving around fairly effortlessly.

A lot of people seem to think that a somewhat regular coating of something like WD-40 or Boeshield T-9 … with something like a Scotchbrite pad … or 0000 steel wool … will do the job as well as wax … without any potential for excess accumulation (“build up”) over time.

Haven’t tried it … but I DO switch to WD-40 as a winter chain lube on my mountain bike (bicycle), and—despite miles and miles of salty, slushy, snowy, icy conditions—don’t have any trouble with rust. During the winter, I tend to use the WD-40 after EVERY ride. It’s not a long-lasting lubricant, but … it’s not expensive either, so … I’m pretty liberal with it.

Good luck!!

-- -- Neil

View bigike's profile


4054 posts in 3458 days

#2 posted 03-31-2010 03:14 AM

for me i do it once every week ever since i got my new unisaw a year ago all my other tools my jointer i had for about four years now and only once same with my drill press. they have never rusted ever since i got them, well my drill press did cuz i drilled some acrylic and to keep it from melting you have to wet the bit if it’s not a plastic drill bit.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

View Roper's profile


1389 posts in 3883 days

#3 posted 03-31-2010 03:23 AM

i live at7800ft so i don’t have much of a problem with moisture. i wax about once a month just to keep the wood moving , i will wax more if i am using alot of green wood.

-- Roper - Master of sawdust-

View Michael Murphy's profile

Michael Murphy

453 posts in 3175 days

#4 posted 03-31-2010 03:25 AM

The wax should not build up. You are replacing the old coat with a new one. Put it on let it dry and buff with a soft cloth. Once you have a good coat, unless you have an active drip from a leaking roof, in which case fix the roof or buy a tarp, you should be good for a while. I redo mine every couple of months or if I notice the stock isn’t moving as easily.

-- Michael Murphy, Woodland, CA.

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3343 days

#5 posted 03-31-2010 03:32 AM

Michael Murphy:

I was having doubts about that … even as I typed it.

Thanks for clarifying!!

-- -- Neil

View cstrang's profile


1832 posts in 3338 days

#6 posted 03-31-2010 03:51 AM

I usually wax mine once a month or if it’s a slow day in the shop I will wax it even if it doesn’t really “need” it.

-- A hammer dangling from a wall will bang and sound like work when the wind blows the right way.

View Ger21's profile


1075 posts in 3301 days

#7 posted 03-31-2010 04:03 AM

I use Top Coat, and only need to re apply it about twice a year. I really only put more on when I want it to be more slippery. I use it on all my cast iron tables, and none of them rust. I didn’t use my Bandsaw for about 8 or 9 years, and it didn’t have any rust on it at all when I recently got it running again.

-- Gerry,

View ardbeg's profile


102 posts in 3197 days

#8 posted 03-31-2010 04:07 AM

Thanks for the input guys—got to love LJ. Like Mr. Murphy said, I am not getting buildup due to buffing it. I am fascinated by this Top Coat. I tried Googling it and came up with a half dozen possbilities. Can you give me a link to it?

-- You may delay, but time will not. --Ben Franklin

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3238 days

#9 posted 03-31-2010 04:26 AM

It’s all about the humidity in your shop. Here in the Bay Area of CA, it isn’t much of an issue and I get by with 2-3 cleanings and waxings a year with automotive paste wax. Your mileage may vary. – lol

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View Steven H's profile

Steven H

1117 posts in 3230 days

#10 posted 03-31-2010 04:39 AM

I wax all hand tools and machinery twice a week.

View TungOilTim's profile


83 posts in 3386 days

#11 posted 03-31-2010 06:01 AM

Having my equipment in a garage in Florida, it’s sometimes difficult to keep my cast iron not to rust. Since I am not as home as often as I’d like, I use some steel wool on the surface, then BoeShield T-9, then an automotive paste wax. Helps me since I can’t do it as often.

-- Tim, Plant City FL

View JimmyNate's profile


124 posts in 3520 days

#12 posted 03-31-2010 07:13 PM

For work surfaces, I think it’s a matter of personal preference. I put Boeshield T-9 on all the cast parts inside the table saw because it is a dry lubricant as well as a rust inhibitor. The advantage of the dry lubrication is you don’t have sawdust stuck in the lube and making a mess of everything. This means you don’t have to clean it out and reapply as often. I”m coming up on 1 year since the first application and will probably clean everything up and recoat it soon.

-- "We are what we repeatedly do; excellence then is not an act but a habit." ---Aristotle

View Bryan_M's profile


46 posts in 3213 days

#13 posted 03-31-2010 09:37 PM

Here in So. Cal. things don’t really rust so I just wax my stuff to keep them slippery. When stuff stops sliding around smoothly, thats when I wax.

View Padre's profile


930 posts in 3658 days

#14 posted 03-31-2010 10:35 PM

I wax once a month but make sure there is no buildup by using the same method as Neil

-- Chip ----------- 6:8

View D1st's profile


291 posts in 3209 days

#15 posted 03-31-2010 11:17 PM

Sounds like a womans club in here. lol all this waxing going on. I waxed my head once when i shaved it on a regular basis. What a nitemare. lol What are some recommended waxes for the tables?


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