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“This’ll be a quick and easy post,” I thought. There I was out in the garage, preparing to cut a piece of angle iron. I put the metal-cutting blade in my reciprocating saw, clamped the angle iron in my trusty Workmate (the Deluxe Dual Height version, no less), grabbed my beat-up old tube of Johnson’s #140 Stik-Wax to lube the blade, and zipped right through. Then I paused and thought “I should write a post on #140 Stik-Wax.” Ah, how naive…

After more than a few minutes of web browsing, I discovered that SC Johnson sold their industrial division to British Petroleum’s Castrol division many years ago. Castrol is apparently packaging the same product in a similar, although different-colored, tube as shown above. If you can find a place to sell you a single tube rather than a whole case of 24, it’ll cost around $18.

While looking for #140 Stik-Wax information, I came across a few references to AnchorLube G-771, and people praising it for metalworking.

As a metalworking hack who does this kind of stuff infrequently, I think #140 Stik-Wax — or its equivalent — does a good job. For all you real metalworkers out there, what’s the insider’s solution to proper lubrication when amateurs are cutting, tapping, sawing, or drilling metal?

Castrol Stick Wax [National Supply]
Castrol Stick Wax [Anchor Chemical]

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8 Responses to Castrol Stick Wax

  1. PeterP says:

    I just picked up a horizontal bandsaw and was considering putting a cutting fluid system on it. I wonder if this would be a less messy solution?

  2. FredP says:

    PeterP,

    Stick wax may be less messy, but cutting fluid not only lubricates, but also cools the material being cut. A cutting fluid system isn’t really messy unless you’re dragging the bandsaw around to different parts of the shop, and risk spilling fluid along the way. The little bit of fluid that is on the end of the cut is pretty trivial.

  3. Jaxx says:

    This is the best stuff to use on a circular saw, as its not really easy to keep spraying the material with cutting fluid while you cut thin sheet steel or whatever. I would use stick wax for circs where you need both hands, and ambersil cutting fluid for everything where you have a hand free to spray it on.

  4. Cameron Watt says:

    On a horizontal bandsaw, a cutting fluid system is the way to go. Fire and forget.

    When cutting pipe or tubing I find that you get fluid entering through the partial cut. A pale under the low end can greatly reduce waste.

    It’s a good idea for the drillpress too. It doesn’t need to be fancy. Just apply it with an old soap bottle as you drill. If you want to be thrifty have a tray to collect the waste to use again.

    Whatever you do, keep a cool tool!

  5. JB says:

    I have an oil can of 30W I use for cold cutting steel. For drilling and threading I use tap magic cutting fluid. I always wondered what they sell that stick wax for, now I know and I’ll give it a try.

  6. Bill H. says:

    I wonder if this would help in those rare situations where you have to drill up into a piece of steel? Usually I drill it dry (yeah, try oiling over YOUR head!) and dip the bit in water to keep it cool.

  7. fred says:

    On big bandsaws – pumped coolant is the only way to go. Need to make sure that intake screens are kept clean and free of damage – and the coolant pump should last for many years – which is good (pumps run about $1000 for our old Armstrong-Blum Marvel)

  8. Morgan says:

    My current shop uses stick wax for all steel cutting purposes.

    I’ll take fluid any day of the week over it.

    Wax just doesn’t do as good a job at keeping both tool and material cool, though it does not cause oxidation as quickly as fluid if it’s not properly mixed.

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