Lubricants & Waxes


Here's what I've picked up in 50 years of woodworking:

Beeswax ( BW ) is great for installing wood screws. BW is good for protecting cords from friction or moisture.

Candle Wax ( Paraffin, Canning Wax ) is a better lubricant than BW and is perfect on wood for lessening friction.

Johnson's Paste Wax is a very good finish on raw wood or over other finishes.

Carnuba is one of the hardest waxes, it's usually mixed with a softer wax.

Soap is to be avoided in my opinion, as it attracts and holds moisture, it can promote rust or swell wood parts.

Lubricating Oil will swell wood fibers and stain the wood.

Silicones I avoid on weaving tools as it can penetrate and stain wood. I use silicone spray on automobile parts and door locks, it's fine there.

Someone mentioned grease and I'd like to point out that "fishing reel grease" and "gun grease" are sold in small tubes in sporting goods outlets and they are a high quality grease, if you need any.

Bill Koepp
Note, in applications where staining the wood is not an issue, motor oils and axle grease may be the best choice. For example, on the Newcomb Weavers Delight Loom. Per Instruction/Owners manual:

"     Use plenty of good machine oil on rack "B", shaft of star wheel, stirrup "n" where trigger stick slides, the edge of cams where they work against harness grames: in fact, oil wherever ther is any wear.
      Also oil inside of shuttle boxes, the groove in which picker stick works...."

Rod, t.f.c.
As a woodworker/furniture builder, I have a love/hate relationship with silicone.  It would seem to be the perfect lubricant for saw blades, etc., but, if even a small amount transfers to the wood and survives the sanding process, it mars the the final finish with little rings and spots. Of course, it's absolutely invisible until the finish is applied... aarrgghh! I have not observed it staining existing finishes, as previously mentioned, but I have no trouble believing that it would.  Silicone tends to migrate from where it's applied, even if applied very carefully.   Personally, I no longer use silicone on or near any wood simply because it won't stay put and I know it will cause problems should I ever want to refinish the piece.

Paste Wax
Candle Wax