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Where to Use Paraffin in the Workshop

Q:

I’ve been told that applying paraffin wax to the elevation screws on my planer will make it easier to raise and lower. What are some other situations where paraffin might be useful, and where can I find it?
—Tom Mullen, West Branch, Mich.

A:

In addition to the elevation screws on your planer, Tom, rub paraffin wax onto the threads of screws to make them easier to drive into wood. Applying an even coat on the infeed bed of your jointer, as shown at right, makes it easier to run your workpiece through at a constant rate. Rub some onto your wooden drawer slides to ease the action. Some woodworkers even use paraffin wax as part of a food-safe-finish recipe for wooden cutting boards, countertops, and utensils. Heat mineral oil in a double boiler and melt wax shavings into the oil.

You’ll find paraffin wax at your grocery store, where it’s sometimes labeled as “canning wax,” or your craft store, labeled as “candle wax.” Old, discarded candles work well, too.

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