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View Full Version : Beeswax and threading



1smalljohnson
08-23-2010, 11:25 AM
Well, there I go again, being a cheap bastard. Had a need to do some threading on 416 stainless, in order to make a vise handle. I'd been using some heavier weight oils for lubrication while threading, but was still getting unacceptable tearing. The tool was a sharp insert, and the speed was slow.

I figured I'd try some things, and knowing that beeswax is a great high pressure lubricant (like for cast lead bullets!), well....

The beeswax I've got is raw, unadulterated, and pure. Not cut with any solvents, etc. I merely rubbed it on the work and went to cutting. Wow! The stuff was like magic compared to oils. When the work gets hot, the beeswax does melt, but even when the work is cool, the localized work area gets hot, and the beeswax does it's job.

No tearing, no screaming, no nothing except B-E-A-utiful threads.

I've also used it with my parting tool, and have been thorougly impressed.

Anyone else have similar experience?

I'm sure some Brit or Aussie is going to chime in with comments about Mutton Tallow, but I don't have any of that handy....

Oh, and by the way, the warm beeswax DOES come off quite nicely from the work when rubbed with used toilet paper (from my TP filter).

1smalljohnson

garyphansen
08-23-2010, 11:42 AM
I have a commercially made stick of lube that is made for that. Likely your bees wax works better. Gary P. Hansen

aostling
08-23-2010, 11:48 AM
The beeswax I've got is raw, unadulterated, and pure.

I can't find the round cake of beeswax I used to use for stitching leather, and now I can't find a local supplier. Where did you buy beeswax?

TGTool
08-23-2010, 11:54 AM
This may or may not help at your location, but the local farmers market here has a beekeeper who also sells beesways in lumps from thimble size to bricks.

Herm Williams
08-23-2010, 11:58 AM
I purchased my bees wax off ebay, cost about $5 a pound iirc. doo-all sells the rolls but it has some other products mixed in.
re

Ron of Va
08-23-2010, 12:25 PM
I believe toilet bowl wax rings are made from beeswax.

Your Old Dog
08-23-2010, 12:31 PM
.............................................
Oh, and by the way, the warm beeswax DOES come off quite nicely from the work when rubbed with used toilet paper (from my TP filter).

1smalljohnson

I can't believe this thread made it this far and no one thanked SmallJohnson for clarifying the used toilet paper use. :D

BWS
08-23-2010, 12:55 PM
I find we're going more twds Beeswax (Dadant Bee supply)for the mess aspect.We shoot the chips off taps/dies with airblast during and after use.......oil vs waxy bits from an air quality standpoint really leans twd the wax.BW

Dale Lusby
08-23-2010, 01:16 PM
I can't believe this thread made it this far and no one thanked SmallJohnson for clarifying the used toilet paper use. :D

I second that. Let's just say my imagination started running a muck when I first read this. Please clarify.

beanbag
08-23-2010, 02:13 PM
I buy beeswax in candle form from my local organic/hippie food market.

oldbikerdude37
08-23-2010, 04:31 PM
I believe toilet bowl wax rings are made from beeswax.

I think you are right, you get a good size chunk for a buck or two.

DanGunit
08-23-2010, 06:10 PM
Hey Guys,

I have been using Beeswax as a cutting lube for about 15 years now, both raw, and with other oils added, on everything on the lathe, mill, bandsaw, and hand drill...it really works like a charm, handles heavy cuts with ease, stays put at the cutting location, and smells nice when it heats up.

The best trick I have found for using it is to melt it down in a dedicated Pyrex bowl (If you value your life then Don't take one of the wifes!) in the microwave in 20 second bursts until it melts as you stir it with a chopstick, then you can doctor it for different cutting jobs by adding more or less coconut oil, olive oil, or grapeseed oil to the mix to make it thin and spread better for light application (for milling larger surfaces and the like), then you can cast it into bars, or as I like to do, pour it into empty plastic deodorant sticks.

This works especially well since it keeps the wax covered and clean, keeps your fingers away from the cutter or blade when applying it, and you just turn the dial at the bottom to dispense more as needed. I made up a whole batch of them and just keep one at each of the machines. When they run out you can just cast some more wax into the same sticks or make new ones cheap if the old ones see hard use.

Cheers,
Daniel

oldbikerdude37
08-23-2010, 06:14 PM
Hey Guys,

I have been using Beeswax as a cutting lube for about 15 years now, both raw, and with other oils added, on everything on the lathe, mill, bandsaw, and hand drill...it really works like a charm, handles heavy cuts with ease, stays put at the cutting location, and smells nice when it heats up.

The best trick I have found for using it is to melt it down in a dedicated Pyrex bowl (If you value your life then Don't take one of the wifes!) in the microwave in 20 second bursts until it melts as you stir it with a chopstick, then you can doctor it for different cutting jobs by adding more or less coconut oil, olive oil, or grapeseed oil to the mix to make it thin and spread better for light application (for milling larger surfaces and the like), then you can cast it into bars, or as I like to do, pour it into empty plastic deodorant sticks.

This works especially well since it keeps the wax covered and clean, keeps your fingers away from the cutter or blade when applying it, and you just turn the dial at the bottom to dispense more as needed. I made up a whole batch of them and just keep one at each of the machines. When they run out you can just cast some more wax into the same sticks or make new ones cheap if the old ones see hard use.

Cheers,
Daniel

cool deal, you have it down.

davidh
08-23-2010, 09:39 PM
I believe toilet bowl wax rings are made from beeswax.


is this a fact ? ? ? ? ?

TGTool
08-23-2010, 10:31 PM
I believe toilet bowl wax rings are made from beeswax.

That's just amazing. And then to think that the paper for cleaning off the residue is right next to it too. :rolleyes:

aostling
08-23-2010, 10:48 PM
is this a fact ? ? ? ? ?

According to a commentator here, toilet bowl wax rings used to be made from beeswax, but are now made from a petroleum wax. http://globalflyfisher.com/tiebetter/dubbingwax/toilet_ring_wax.html

rockrat
08-23-2010, 11:35 PM
The local JoeAnn Fabrics has bees wax for sewing and candle making. I bought some of the stuff for sewing just about a month ago and it might have been about $1.00?

Oh, its in the notions isle. Yea, notions. WTF is a notion? I looked all over for that darn thing till I found it hanging in the isle that contained everything that couldnt otherwise be categorized. That must be a notion, as in "If I get a notion to do some work, I'll categorize all this crap".

rock~

Evan
08-23-2010, 11:42 PM
Bee's wax has long been used in the aircraft industry for lubrication of drill bits. It also works well on band saws, hack saws and just about any other cutting tool.

At the risk of being jumped on I will make a note that by far the best threading lube for tapping is chlorine based brake cleaner fluid. It is almost miraculous in how easily a tap cuts the moment it is applied.

**WARNING**

The products of combustion or even excess heating to over 500 degrees will produce toxic vapours that may cause permanent lung damage in a single exposure. DO NOT USE with power tools, only hand tapping.

oldbikerdude37
08-23-2010, 11:48 PM
Bee's wax has long been used in the aircraft industry for lubrication of drill bits. It also works well on band saws, hack saws and just about any other cutting tool.

At the risk of being jumped on I will make a note that by far the best threading lube for tapping is chlorine based brake cleaner fluid. It is almost miraculous in how easily a tap cuts the moment it is applied.

**WARNING**

The products of combustion or even excess heating to over 500 degrees will produce toxic vapours that may cause permanent lung damage in a single exposure. DO NOT USE with power tools, only hand tapping.

OK, you won...

whitis
08-24-2010, 01:19 AM
I believe toilet bowl wax rings are made from beeswax.
Not anymore. I checked the MSDS on a couple made by Kant-Leak and it was paraffin wax. But people have used them as a cutting lube. Apparently they used to be made of beeswax, though.

Beeswax is available in craft stores in the candle making section. So is paraffin wax. You can get 20lb blocks. Or you can just get either type in a convenient stick form known as a candle. Note that there are three basic types of paraffin candles. Pure parrafin wax (your typical pillar candle), Paraffin plus sterine (harder, higher melting point, typical for taper candles), and Paraffin plus mineral oil (softer, lower melting point, typical for candles in tall glass jars). Softer might be better in some applications, it isn't unusual to add oil to wax used for cutting, but softening the wax too much and it may flow too much. Beeswax has a slightly higher melting point than paraffin; in taper candles even higher due to additives (tapers need to be hard/high melting point wax to hold their shape). A hard wax away from the cutting edge a bit might tend to melt and lubricate the cut when your cutter heats up indicating its time for more lube.

Some like to melt the wax before use; mixing it with mineral oil before hand would probably have about the same effect by making it softer at room temperature. You could cast the wax in a paper towel role tube (or, in this thread, a toilet paper tube) to get a convenient stick. Mineral oil is chemically very similar to paraffin, so it is good for softening parrafin, just melt the wax (in mason jar or other container immersed in boiling water), add the oil, and stir. Some use cooking oils, though those could go rancid on you. Add enough oil, and the wax is basically molten at room temperature - the hardness of wax is basically a function of how far the wax temperature differs from the melting point. However, a mineral oil/wax mix might flow too much if there is a lot of cutting heat where the molten wax will brush on nicely, solidify on the work and/or cutter, and stay harder melting when needed. A lit candle can be a convenient source of small amounts of molten wax. If you need more or don't want an open flame, a hot melt glue gun might also work if you cast the wax into appropriately sized sticks. You might let the work cool before machining so the wax provides more cooling rather than heating. But a lot of descriptions of wax in machining seem to suggest a wax with melting point lowering additives. There is also paste wax.

Wax or straight oil lubricates but it does not cool like oil/water lubes. Water also cuts the flamability, though wax doesn't like to burn without a wick. That said, wax does absorb a significant amount of heat during the phase change of melting and has been used as an energy storage medium.

If you have a block or cup of wax attached on the edge of the milling table, you can lube by just going over and machining the wax a bit. Handy for CNC. Machinable wax seems to be a polyethelene wax, which people have homebrewed by mixing paraffin with polyethelene; this gives a very high melting point and makes it very hard at room temperature.

A <a href="http://www.freepatentsonline.com/5009553.html">Patent</a> for a diamond drill with a beeswax core gives these comparisons, suggesting beeswax could be better in some applications.
<blockquote>
None: 10 minutes Bit galled & quit cutting
Johnson's Paste: 7 minutes Bit galled & quit
Wax cutting: lost all lubricant due to heat
Paraffin: 15 minutes Bit galled & quit cutting; lost all lubricant due to heat
Lithium Grease: 8 minutes Bit galled & quit cutting
Cutting Oil: Nil* Always unsuccessful due to difficulty of getting
lubricant to the cutting surface
Beeswax: 19 minutes Penetrated plate
</blockquote>
In that application, it looks like harder is better. They didn't test parrafin + sterine.

Wax is appealing for the home shop or small shop where flood lubricant can be too much mess and trouble. And if you aren't pushing the machine at production rates, you may not need as much cooling. I have used wax a little bit but haven't taken the time to determine which waxes are best for which operations.

A couple other threads on wax:
http://www.practicalmachinist.com/vb/general/johnsons-cutting-wax-169856/
http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=203318&page=2

turpentine/camphor lube used for cutting glass using ordinary drills:
http://books.google.com/books?id=DygDAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA80

Machinery's reference:
http://www.archive.org/stream/cuttinglubricant00newyrich/cuttinglubricant00newyrich_djvu.txt

Note that kerosene is called paraffin oil or parraffin in much of the world.

George Hodge
08-24-2010, 10:01 PM
Howdy,I have about 50,000 young ladies out back of the barn working on making honey and beeswax.One hive gives us just enough honey to last us a year.I try to not take too much of the wax from the frames when I remove the honey.I've heard that it takes much more energy to make the wax than the honey.
I've used a stick of I think Johnson's Wax for the last several years,have no idea why I haven't thought of the beeswax!
About anyone with bees should have some wax laying around.
George

EVguru
08-25-2010, 06:16 AM
I try to not take too much of the wax from the frames when I remove the honey.I've heard that it takes much more energy to make the wax than the honey.

I used to know one of the Honey Bee researchers here at work (he's retired now). He used to harvest quite a lot of wax from his own hives because it made more profit than honey. We also had discussions about the build up of pesticide residues in wax and the fact that bees seem better able to control parasites (varoa) when allowed to regress to smaller cells sizes (and matching bees!) in natural comb. Have a look at http://www.biobees.com/

KiddZimaHater
08-25-2010, 10:00 PM
How does Bees Wax work on bandsaw blades?
Just wondering....

Evan
08-25-2010, 11:13 PM
It works very well. Beeswax is a fatty long chain hydrocarbon ester and it acts like natural cutting oils such as lard oil. Lard oil is the gold standard for cutting oils. Beeswax is better because it won't go rancid. It contains a natural antibiotic and antioxidants that prevent if from oxidizing and turning rancid..

Elninio
08-25-2010, 11:33 PM
On a side note, I once ran out of oil and resorted to using bearing lube (the one that smells like the subway systems in town) - it was a bad idea, didn't cool the part well at all.