Applying Wax to the Vise Handles

Well, it has been a month since I last posted.  With a busy work schedule, the Christmas holidays, and a two-week overseas trip, I haven’t been able to find the time to write anything here.  I took quite a few images of my progress on the Ambidextrous Grizz-ubo Workbench build and uploaded them to my site before I left.  I had good intentions to use these to write a couple of blog posts on my iPad while I was away, but it just didn’t happen.  I was too busy sightseeing and spending time with family to get anything else done.  So, this post and the next one or two will be showing what I did last month.

In my last two posts, I had been experimenting with cooking up finishes in a crockpot double boiler.  In the more recent of the two, I melted a 50/50 mix of beeswax and mineral spirits and used it to coat the inside of the holes in my vise chops.  This mixture quickly re-solidifies as it cools and needs to be quite hot to say in liquid form.  At room temperature, it resembles something close to the consistency of Minwax Paste Wax. Perhaps my mixture is a little more solid, but it’s close.  I decided to try using it as a paste wax and see what results I got.

The vise handles that I am using on the bench are maple and purchased from Lee Valley. I wrote previously about re-sizing them and coating them with red mahogany danish oil. Once the danish oil had fully cured, I decided to coat them with wax.  I figured that the best way to do this would be to re-mount the vise handles in the lathe and apply the wax while the handle was turning.

I mounted the vise handles in the lathe to more easily apply the wax.

I mounted the vise handles in the lathe to more easily apply the wax.

I scraped some of the wax mixture from the jar and used paper towel to apply it to the handle.

A 50/50 mix of beeswax and mineral spirits made a thick paste.

A 50/50 mix of beeswax and mineral spirits made a thick paste.

I turned the lathe up to its fastest speed and applied the wax.  I kept the paper towel and wax pressed against the wood and held it there.  I only moved sideways slowly.  The friction created enough heat to melt the wax and evenly coat the handle.

I applied the wax while the lathe was spinning at a high speed.

I applied the wax while the lathe was spinning at a high speed.

Once the handle was evenly coated, I used a clean cotton rag to give the handle a quick buff.  This was simple to do and came out looking great.

This was easy!

This was easy!

The danish oil on the handle end caps had cured and I wanted to finish these with wax just like the handles.  I mounted them in the lathe and applied the wax in the same manner as the handles.

I remounted the end caps in the lathe to wax these as well.

I remounted the end caps in the lathe to wax these as well.

It took a little while to do all eight, but I was very happy with the results.

These also took on a nice sheen.

These also took on a nice sheen.

I installed the end caps and a rubber O-ring on one end of each handle.  The other ends will be added during final assembly.

I put on the end caps and rubber O-rings.

I put on the end caps and rubber O-rings.

These are done and I'll set them aside for later.

These are done and I’ll set them aside for later.

This all came out quite well and the beeswax gives a nice sheen.

I’ll put these away until I finish assembly of the bench.

More soon.

 

– Jonathan White

 

About Jonathan

I am a woodworker and hand tool restorer / collector. I buy too many tools and don't build enough - I need help!
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