Lubricating and Protecting Shaper and Moulder Beds

Product choices to reduce friction and rust in a moulder or planer. July 12, 2013

My shop goes through a case of Top Cote about every 2 weeks (used on 5 table saws, 4 shapers, and a couple planers). Are there cheaper alternatives (maybe something in bulk instead of a 10oz can)? We do buy Waxolit in 55 gal drums for our moulders. Would that be a good substitute?

Forum Responses
(Solid Wood Machining Forum)
From contributor M:
Johnson's paste wax. Never had any problems with contamination. Everything I have ever heard is that it is silicone free. I gave up on Top Cote years ago since it would wear off in a couple of days and my machine tops would rust from the slightest bit of humidity or moisture.

From contributor C:
The Top Cote used to be available in bulk one gallon containers, but that was discontinued years ago. I only have the 10 oz. aerosol Top Cotes available as well.

Some alternatives:
1. Top Saver from Empire Mfg. is available in bulk one gallon containers. It is a product very similar to Top Cote. In fact, it was developed by the same product engineer that created the Top Cote product and is a more environmentally safe product.

2. The Waxilit, or another moulder bed lubricant, should work fine as well, although these products are normally not geared towards rust prevention - mainly table lubrication.

From contributor A:
Why would you use that much Top Cote? I have used probably two cans of any spray product over 20 years and I think they were free demos. We use paste wax occasionally, and more regularly good old fashion paraffin stick wax and that's mostly on the planer. My guys were painting on moulder bed lube to the planer but it created such a mess that we quit doing that. We will wax wood templates and jigs or a fence and top if the wood is real sticky for whatever reason, but beyond that I really don't see the value of super slippery table saws or shapers.

From the original questioner:
I'm not sure why we use that much. I can tell you that each machine is used 40 hours a week.

From contributor D:
Just a side note - I give a shot of LPS dry Teflon spray to shaper cutters, sawblades, and wood shaper fences maybe once a week. You can definitely feel the difference - stock glides through a lot easier. Raised panel cutter gets a shot every day. One can lasts me a year or so.

From David Rankin, forum technical advisor:
Over the years I have used a couple of good options. The paste wax has always worked well. What I normally use on my smaller machines is a combination of paste wax and bed lube. I apply the paste wax about once a week or so and then use a spray bottle with a very fine mist to apply the bed lube about every 200-500 feet.

Waxalit is a little pricey to use for this application. I have replaced the Waxalit on my moulder with our bed lube. This has totally eliminated the buildup around the adjustable positions of my machine.

I have the manual pump on the moulder and have used 2 good options for misting units on the shaper. I use a pair of X-15 units that connect to a low pressure air line and then slide another intake into the bed lube container. I can control the flow with the valve. I have also used a Sureshot can for this application. This unit is filled with the fluid and then charged with air to a low pressure. The different nozzles that come with the unit allow you to adjust the amount of spray pretty well.

In general, paste wax with a good bed lube will provide a slick surface at a reasonable cost.

From contributor B:
We use Top Coat, not nearly in the quantity you do. I recently started buying from HDL Hardware Distributors limited for a better price than I found elsewhere.

From contributor J:
Your Waxilit in a cheap spray bottle sitting on your machine works great. A couple quick mist sprays and you're good to go.