Earlier this week, I was making a teak shelf for a local eatery. The shelf is more of a drink rail and therefore will be exposed to moisture regularly, so I am content with the chosen species. I have not worked with teak much and wondered if you could share some insight. The entire milling process (glue-up, crosscut, rip, band saw….) went well until I was cutting edge profiles on the router table. The part would not slide smoothly across the table, and I had to make several passes to remove all of the chatter marks. My router table has a plastic laminate top, and I haven’t had this trouble with any other species. Since the teak was unfinished, I hesitated to use waxes or other lubricants that could affect finishing, so I turned to things that could separate the two surfaces instead. Such as strips of masking tape down the length of the board to act as gliders. I had marginal results with the tape and I ended up completing the project before I came up with a really good fix. Is there a better way to solve this problem? I understand that teak is an oily wood, shouldn’t that have helped me? – Jeff Harvey
Chris Marshall: This is a peculiar-sounding problem, Jeff. I’m sure you also checked that your router table’s surface was clean and otherwise free of little spots of wood resin, tape residue and so forth that might have impeded the ability of the teak to slide easily. Any chance that possibly your router bit was dull or the bearing on the bit wasn’t rolling properly and that’s what caused the resistance when milling the teak? I wouldn’t worry about applying some paste wax to your router table’s top surface and insert plate. Just let it dry and buff off the excess as you would your car. You’re going to sand whatever workpiece you rout before finishing it anyway, so any miniscule amount of wax should be removed during the sanding stage. Or, try applying a “dry” lubricant such as Bostik® TopCote®, which won’t interfere with the adhesion of finishes.