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 In Tricks of the Trade

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With all the high-tech, expensive tools in my shop, I still find a dozen uses for a simple, inexpensive hunk of paraffin wax. I use it anywhere I need lubrication to slide material: the tops of my tablesaw, router table and jointer, the sides of my miter gauge, the bottom of my router base plates, and so on. I apply paraffin to drawer sides, too, and rub it on the bottom of a plane every ten strokes or so, which makes the plane much easier to push.

If you’re using an oil-based finish, you needn’t worry about contaminating parts for finishing, because paraffin is a petroleum-based product. Paraffin is easy to find–it’s sold as canning wax at grocery stores. You can get a supply that’ll last years for less than $5. –Cliff Thornton

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