Protecting my jigs

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Forum topic by christherookie posted 02-07-2017 04:05 PM 644 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View christherookie's profile


144 posts in 3930 days

02-07-2017 04:05 PM

Topic tags/keywords: jig

I finally have the time and money to get my little garage workshop going. I’ve created a beautiful cross-cut sled for my table saw and I’m working on an equally pretty router bench-top table (all parts have been cut) – I love finding baltic birch and oak plywood with colored grain patterns.

Which leads me to my question. Should I add some sort of protection for these? I have paste wax on the bottom of the sled and that works great so it slides smooth. Other than that, should I do anything. I figure stain is just stain, not a means of protection. And lacquer seems like overkill…errr…obviously, I have no idea and I need help!


Oh, I should add my work area shares space with my wife’s car, it’s insulated, and it contains the AC/Heating unit so it stays above 45-50 in the winter.

6 replies so far

View Ripper70's profile


1378 posts in 1792 days

#1 posted 02-07-2017 04:16 PM

Johnson’s paste wax is my go to. Keeps everything nice and slick and offers a decent amount of protection. I have a birch ply table extension that’s covered in the stuff and it’s holding up just fine. Maybe spray some shellac on it if you’re concerned that the paste wax isn’t enough but I think it’ll be fine with the wax alone.

-- "You know, I'm such a great driver, it's incomprehensible that they took my license away." --Vince Ricardo

View pintodeluxe's profile


6210 posts in 3697 days

#2 posted 02-07-2017 04:36 PM

Wipe some clear shellac on them. A couple coats and you will be protected for the life of the jigs.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View OggieOglethorpe's profile


1276 posts in 2994 days

#3 posted 02-07-2017 04:43 PM

I don’t put anything on my jigs unless a part needs protection from glue or help sliding. For glue protection, I prefer shellac, for slide lubrication, paste wax or a wax substitute like Slip-it or Topcote.

My jigs are usually built on the fly, when needed, from MDF or birch ply, both very stable materials. I prefer nothing on places like sled floors and fences, as the raw surface provides a bit of traction to help keep the material in place during use.

Add a little dust to a smooth and shiny surface and you’ve got a nice bar bowling machine surface, but a terrible surface for a tapering or crosscut sled. ;^)

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

7016 posts in 4078 days

#4 posted 02-07-2017 04:49 PM

On all my jigs and fixtures, plus all my shop furniture, I use tung oil….A 4 to 1 ratio, and usually 2 coats will do….One part tung oil to 4 parts mineral spirits…..It’s just personal preference as to how you want to do it…..

-- " There's a better way.....find it"...... Thomas Edison.

View DirtyMike's profile


637 posts in 1785 days

#5 posted 02-07-2017 05:00 PM

I just trust my jigs use their best judgment when that special time comes.

View OSU55's profile


2658 posts in 2873 days

#6 posted 02-07-2017 05:01 PM

IMO all jigs need protection from absorbing liquids – you never know when liquid of some kind, spilled drink, dropped bucket, overspray from something, etc., and paste wax will wear away. All of mine get a coat or 2 of shellac, waxed or dewaxed. Many time liquid of some sort found its way onto a jig, and i was able to just wipe it off. If you think wax on bare wood is slick, try wax on shellac lightly sanded with 600. Its too cheap and easy to wipe, brush, or spray it on, and dries very quickly.

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