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In case you don’t follow (also known as Travis Knapp) on Instagram, I share with you this cool (and inexpensive) tool lube solution he’s now offering: mutton tallow in a tube.

For just $5, you get the convenience of keeping your hands clean while swiping greasy tallow (greasy is good!) on your plane, sawplate…whatever you have that needs to get slickery for better work. Tallow doesn’t interfere with glue adhesion or finishes, is slicker than parrafin, and doesn’t wear off the blade as quickly as parrafin or beeswax.

The “100% Pure Organic Tallow Tool Lube” is, well, 100 percent organic, from grass-fed sheep (but no, I’m afraid the tallow was not obtained by liposuction). And Travis says there’s no odor.

I keep a tube of Blistex Complete Moisture in my tool chest (for my lips, not for my tools). Luckily, the packaging is a different color. But if I get them mixed up, a little tallow wouldn’t kill me (needs mint jelly).

To order, look for it in his eBay store soon (or, if you must have tallow forthwith, send $5 via paypal to, and he’ll ship a tube your way).

— Megan Fitzpatrick

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Showing 12 comments
  • tim@C

    I use beef tallow, because it’s easier to get in the local supermarket. Just get a chunk of suet, put it in a pot with a little water, and cook the tallow out. I keep mine in a Twining’s tea tin so old it no longer advertises the product.

  • Sawdust

    Nice packaging trick, but you can get a full ounce at Lee Valley for less:

    McQueen’s Mutton Tallow, 1 oz
    53Z30.05 $3.20

  • artpence

    Dixie Gunworks has mutton tallow in a tub, 1 pound for $5.75 plus shipping. Muzzle loader shooters use it to make up custom lube for patched round balls

  • johnmoran

    I have two wooden pots of tallow that are well over 30 years old and still pure white. A relative was a pattern-maker and carved them from two blocks of teak and incorporated integral pivoting lids to keep the contents reasonably airtight. I also inherited his 1lb tin of tallow to refill them, but I haven’t done that yet.

    I just use them to dip the end of a wood-screw in before driving it home – they go in as smooth as anything.

    It’s a magical material, and no, it doesn’t go rancid – or at least it takes longer than 30 years.

    Kind regards – John

  • robshively

    Jim Tolpin recently had a note somewhere that he keeps a tallow-impregnated piece of carpet handy in the shop. When he picks up a plane or other tool he just passes it across the carpet occasionally as he works. So the timing of this is perfect!

  • Jennie Alexander

    Tallow is nifty. Well rendered, and I am sure this is, it will last indefinitely. I have kept mine in a plastic cup with a top for 30 years. It is good for wooden plane bottoms. Also when threading wood slabber it all over the dowel. I have never had to clean up the cutter. The tallow has had no effect on the metal. Once again the tallow must be well rendered. Boil it in water.. Throw in some alum. While water is still hot, strain it thru cotton. Let it cool. It has floated to the top. Scrape all the remaining gristle etc. off the top. And do it all over again. I do it 3 times and it ends up a soft snowy white. You don’- have to clean you hands~just rub it in.

  • Tom64

    Is this the same stuff that Jim Kingshott used in his video on Bench Planes?

  • matthew-s

    Does it get rancid? I’d expect to get pretty nasty pretty quick, no?

  • Travis Knapp

    Thank you to all that have ordered. First orders will ship out this Friday.

  • J. Pierce

    I hear great things about tallow compared to parrafin, but I wonder if there’s anything comparable for the veggie amongst us?

  • cagenuts

    Thanks for the tip and I promptly ordered a tube of lube.

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