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Don't let the 2 oz. bottle fool you. Very little of these products is needed to do the job. These little bottles will last a long time.
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Empire Mfg. ToolSaver System

Modern chemistry for old problems|

Text & Photos by Tom Hintz

All who think woodworking equipment is cheap and does not warrant maintenance can stop reading now. What follows will undoubtedly appear to be a frivolous waste of time. The rest of the woodworking world should read on.

   Empire Mfg. first came to my attention with their TopSaver product that replaced paste wax as my cast iron table preparation of choice after the first time I used it. It was obvious this group of chemists and engineers were onto something.

   With the release of the ToolSaver System, Empire expands their chemist-designed group of solutions for problems that have frustrated woodworkers for decades. As with their TopSaver, the most impressive point is that these products work as advertised - or better.

All-In-One Kit

   The ToolSaver System contains everything you need to maintain the equipment in your shop. Included are 2 oz bottles of the TopSaver, BladeSaver, OptiCut XL, Dri-Tool Lubricant and the Router Bit Lubricant. The kit also supplies pump spray nozzles for each bottle, a scrubbing pad and shop towels.

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   Designed to clean and protect cast iron table surfaces, TopSaver has become very popular with woodworkers. TopSaver actually dissolves rust and corrosion before sealing the metal to prevent its return. In addition, TopSaver creates a slick surface that allows stock to slide easily.

   After the first treatment to remove existing rust or corrosion, give the table a few pumps, spread the TopSaver out every couple of weeks and your cast iron surfaces remain rust-free and slick.

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   The days of using corrosive oven cleaners or flammable materials to clean blades are finally over for those concerned with the well being of their tools and the building around them. BladeSaver is very effective at removing all the pitch, sap, resin and other gunk that ruins blade performance and shortens their life. Spray BladeSaver on, brush it in the tough spots, wipe it off and let it dry.

   Though not advertised, my experience with BladeSaver suggests it also prevents or at least delays the return of contamination. Since I began using this TopSaver, my blades stay cleaner longer and what contamination does occur comes off more easily than before.

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OptiCut XL

   This is the more mysterious product of the group. Though it contains no silicones and is non-toxic, OptiCut XL lubricates cutting blades in such a way that heat is dissipated faster so the overall temperatures attained remain lower.

   OptiCut XL also leaves a coating on the blade that helps prevent contamination and even reduces etching by the more aggressive materials found in some woods.

   I'm not going to claim to understand how it works, but it does.

Dri-Tool Lubricant

   Keeping woodworking tools lubricated without attracting dust has always been a problem. Once again, Empire Mfg. comes to the rescue with Dri-Tool Lubricant.

   Though it goes on wet, the fluid is only a carrier to get the actual Dri-Tool material onto the surface. It dries quickly leaving a long lasting, silicone-free, very slick surface that does not attract dust.

   I have used Dri-Tool Lubricant throughout my shop including on table saw trunnions, the lathe speed selector and more. All work smoothly even in cold temperatures and continue to do so far longer than with any other lubrication material tried in the past.

Router Bit Lubricant

   After cleaning router bits, finding an effective way to lubricate the bearings has been difficult. Empire Mfg. Router Bit Lubricant handles that chore and more.

   Spray a little on the bearing and let it soak in to clean, coat, protect and lubricate them inside and out. I turn the bearing by hand a few times after spraying to make sure the Router Bit Lubricant material is distributed throughout the balls and races.
   Spraying Router Bit Lubricant on the body and cutting edges of the bit seals those surfaces, reduces friction and helps dissipate heat, a crucial factor in routing.

   I first tried Router Bit Lubricant on an old roundover bit that was badly contaminated with pine resins. After cleaning with BladeSaver, Router Bit Lubricant was applied as directed. The bit came out very clean, the bearing turned effortlessly and when put to wood, the bit cut better than it ever has.

   Again, I don't know how it works, but it does work. Router Bit Lubricant also appears to last a long time. I have used that roundover bit on several projects since then with no further treatments and the increased performance continues.


Pricing LInk

Quality woodworking tools are expensive, making it foolish to try to maintain those investments with home-brewed concoctions or products designed for a totally different use. Empire Mfg. brings modern chemistry and engineering to woodworking at a very reasonable street price of $19.99 (2-4-2005) making the use of other materials even more suspect.

   If your tools and the investment in them are important, try using the ToolSaver System in your shop. Taking the time to properly care for your blades, cutters and machines will pay dividends in terms of money saved and problem free operation for years to come.

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