Gazette Archive 8/7/98
SlipIt - a tool review continued...
Slipit vs. Wax - Test II
I guess what I'm saying, this next test might not apply to you but it means a lot to me considering the way I work a planer. This time I prepared four oak boards about the same size and weight, jointed them flat on one face and rough planed them to slightly less than an inch - the point where they were mostly clean on both sides. I then split my planer's auxiliary bed down the middle with a felt marker, applying wax to one side and Slipit to the other. The plan was to feed two boards over and over, one down each side and see which side started to grab first. Every fifth pass through the planer, 1/64th would be removed, the boards flipped over and fed through another five times.
After about 35 passes through the planer, neither board had begun to grab and I was almost prepared to call the contest a draw. I really didn't want to plane the boards past 3/4" and I was getting tired.This was hard work!
Around pass number 42, the Slipit side started to hang. (Photo at left) By pass number 45, even with a fresh application of Slipit, it wouldn't go through the planer without assistance. You know, pushing...tugging.
Perhaps the feed rollers didn't have the same traction on the Slipit side, maybe I hadn't backed off the pressure bar far enough? Maybe, maybe, maybe...:( In all fairness to Slipit, the only recourse was to exchange sides - put the wax where the Slipit had been and apply Slipit to the wax side of the board and repeat the test. Groan...
While cleaning the melamine for planer
test part II, I noticed the Slipit side had several shallow grooves
pressed into the surface. In a couple of the grooves were little
deposits of accumulated sawdust I call 'sleeks'. We've all seen
them; they're the little nubs of sealer that start to collect
on sandpaper when we're trying to smooth lacquer. Sometimes glue
starts them on our hardblocks. In any case, soon after the sandpaper
is doomed to collect more and will shortly be clogged beyond
usefulness. Somehow, in the mindless repetition of feeding board
after board into the planer, I missed something.
The final test in the Slipit evaluation was the easiest to perform and the most revealing - not so much about Slipit, but about paste wax. It opened my eyes.
Most of us have been there, our shop
is in the garage or outbuilding, or maybe even in the basement.
Our machines are cool and because of dust or fumes, we open the
windows and doors to get some fresh air. When it's warmer and
more humid outside, the differential between the temperature
of the tools and the 'fresh' air is so great 'dew' starts to
form on our precious cast iron. Moments later our tools begin
Within 1/2 hour the rust started to appear. 1 1/2 hours later the tablesaw wing was dry.
Slipit might have some uses to some people, but try as I might I couldn't find one for my shop. Even if I could get around the blotchiness caused by Slipit absorbed into wood parts, it just didn't match up to wax as a shop lubricant or rust preventer. To be fair, it does smell better than wax. Those of you who are sensitive to the petroleum distillates in wax might consider Slipit as an alternative.
I guess what surprised me the most was the effectiveness of wax as long-term rust inhibitor when tools are put in storage or are infrequently used in a garage-type workshop. Given the severity of the 'dew' test, it would seem paste wax is a viable alternative to a heavy Cosmoline treatment with non of the inherent problems in getting the tool ready for use.
For those of you finicky about protecting your precious cast iron, simply apply the wax after your day in the shop and skip the buffing stage. It will be shiny new and ready for buffing when you return, cold soda cans and monsoons notwithstanding...:)
If you have any questions or comments about this article, please feel free to email me directly.