So I went and got some wood today and picked up a scrap piece of Desert
Eucalyptus that is covered in wax. I asked the guy what it's for and he
said to keep the wood from drying out.
What I forgot to ask was whether I should clean it all off before
tooling (and the best method) or just leave it on. I imagine that the
wax would likely gum up my tools fairly quickly so I hesitate to work
with it on there.
Anyone have any comments they'd like to share about this?
Depends how you're going to work it. A hand scraper will take it off
if you wish, but for turning the roughing gouge just won't care. If
you're going to sand it immediately, then definitely take it off. For
bandsaw resawing, it's somewhere in-between - a thick layer might gum
up the guides with now-sticky sawdust, but it's not usually a problem.
Another issue is that of drying. Your timber is still somewhat green
when it's waxed. Some timbers are waxed because they're more prone to
checking during this final drying. Once turned to a thinner section
then they'll survive it more easily, but may have some shrinkage.
If I'm making boxes with decorative panels, I buy timbers like thuya
burr from a turning supplier. I scrape the wax off and resaw them
roughly, but I let them air dry (stickered, on a shelf) for some weeks
before planing the surfaces.
Common way to slow the moisture loss from endgrain so that end checks won't
develop. Wax should only be on the endgrain, though, or the piece had
better be a few years old.
Turners do this sometimes when they rough out a piece of green wood into a
turning with thicker than final walls. Water emulsion waxes like Anchorseal
are applied to the outside (some, inexplicably, even coat the inside) of the
bowl to slow loss and checking, and the bowl is allowed to seek equilibrium
with its surroundings at leisure.
Doubt it will hurt your tools, unless it's collected some gunk along the
way - see beeswax as lube thread - but I'd remove it because the heat of
machining could drive it into the wood you're not removing, forcing you to
adjust your finishes to accommodate it. Scrape well, follow by a wipe with
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