In defense of Wax……

My friends' son, Canaan (A.K.A… Shibo) wants to build stuff. His mother, Noa, thought that woodworking would be a great medium for him to explore. Shibo is only four years and eleven month old, but he is smart as hell and tremendously motivated. Last week, during our first meeting, we fixed his butterfly net. Yesterday we embarked on a wooden boat project. We drew the outline of a boat on a piece of 3/4" pine, and then I gave him a coping saw to cut the boat's contour. This was not an easy task for him! I ended up "joining hands" with him on the saw, and practically moving the tool back and forth for him.


Then I had an idea: what if I give him a Jewelers saw instead? Jewelers saws have a thinner blade and I thought it would be easier on him: less resistance on the blade = less force that needs to be deployed. However, we had only partial success here too, and I had to help him out still. My last resort was the obvious actually…. how didn't I think of it earlier??  What we needed was some good old wax on the saw blade to enable Shibo to saw like a true cabinetmaker. I showed him how to put some old boots' wax on the blade and, lo and behold,  the kid sawed off the pine as if it was butter.  He liked the waxing technique so much that he kept rubbing it on the saw blade at least three times. We made some parts and then we glued them together. Next time we will make a mast & sail and maybe a chimney too.





American Woodworker Blog
Yoav Liberman

About Yoav Liberman

Yoav S. Liberman is a woodworker and a teacher. His pieces have been featured in several woodworking books, most recently in Robin Wood’s CORES Recycled. Yoav teaches woodworking at the Rudolf Steiner School in Manhattan, and also frequently guest teaches in craft schools across the country.  Between 2003 and 2011 Yoav  headed the woodworking program at Harvard University's Eliot House. Yoav’s articles have appeared in American Woodworker and Woodwork Magazine. He frequently contributes woodworking web content to a number of digital publications   Yoav has a degree in architecture and later held two competitive residency programs: at The Worcester Center for Crafts in Massachusetts, and the Windgate Foundation Fellowship at Purchase College, New York. He lives in Chestnut Ridge NY.