What wax to use?

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Forum topic by Triman posted 08-12-2008 07:52 PM 2176 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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50 posts in 3849 days

08-12-2008 07:52 PM

I see a number of projects listing wax as a final finish. I’m wondering what products you recommend? I’m looking to bring out the best in some curly and birdseye maple. I plan on starting out with a few coats of tung oil, but I see some people recommending a wax finish. Any suggestions?


-- Bruce, San Jose, Ca

12 replies so far

View sIKE's profile


1271 posts in 4020 days

#1 posted 08-12-2008 08:17 PM

This is a recipe I have seen floating around on some of the forums:

4 ounces beeswax
2 tablespoons carnauba wax
2 1/2 cups mineral spirits

Melt the wax (dbl broiler recommended) remove from fire, add the spirits and mix.
Apply with soft cloth turn as it gets dirty, let it dry then buff out.

Additional coats should be spaced out over a couple of days.

Hope this helps.

Updated for clarity…

-- //FC - Round Rock, TX - "Experience is what you get just after you need it"

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 3995 days

#2 posted 08-12-2008 08:20 PM

Mineral Spirits are flamable right? Might want to avoid open flame and take other precautions too. I don’t know much about this though.

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 4035 days

#3 posted 08-12-2008 08:32 PM

you could also try a glaze. it will accent the grain and you can add a bit of color to it. if not i like antiquax wax, and renaissances wax.

View Joey's profile


276 posts in 4082 days

#4 posted 08-13-2008 02:07 AM

i use a furniture paste wax over a mixture of raw tung oil, boiled linseed oil and poly blend. just use minwax or briwax. briwax does come in different shades for different colored wood.

-- Joey, Magee, Ms

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 4011 days

#5 posted 08-13-2008 02:39 AM

Be advised, if you use Briwax or any other wax with toulene in it, make sure your finish has completely cured before use, other wise you could have finish problems. Check the ingredients and watch out for toulene and silicon.

View lethentymill's profile


61 posts in 3875 days

#6 posted 08-13-2008 12:33 PM

Hope this is not stating the obvious but as Tim has said, “watch out for silicon”. I don’t know what toulene is (I’m in Scotland) – perhaps someone could tell me about that?! However, silicon is like a disease – it is almost impossible to completely remove it from a finished surface, even after planing and sanding there could still be traces, which will cause “sissing”. This is a painter and decorator’s word, which indicates blistering in the finish caused by substances like silicon.

This blistering rarely occurs on the first application. It usually happens on the second or third coat! If you ever encounter this, you know that silicon polish was used at some time. You may have to rub the whole surface down again and use finishing oil or shellac.

-- Allan Fyfe, Lethenty Mill Furniture,

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4036 posts in 4330 days

#7 posted 08-13-2008 03:30 PM

Allan, we on this side of the pond refer to this as “Fisheye”. There is little as disheartening than working a piece to the point of finishing only to encounter this.
I second Tenon Tim’s concernes about using Briwax before the finish has cured sufficiently. It will chew up uncured lacquer and shellac finishes.

I have a can of Trewax Indian Tan, which is now “Mahogany Brown”. It adds a subtle darkening to the finish.
I picked up a can 10 years ago, and there is still half a can to go.
Craft Supply USA, the turner’s resource has a host of wax products, should you find it difficult to find local sources.
Like Denny, I also use Renaissance Wax (Highland Wodworking), both as a final step in finishing and as a treatment for machine tables, which is especially important if you work out of unheated buildings in a climate with freeze/thaw cycles. It is a man-made microcrystalline wax, used by conservators in the cleaning of antiquities. A bit steep in price but a little goes a long way. Another version – Conservator’s Wax is available at Lee Valley.
MacGuiar’s car care products work well in the final rub-out of lacquer finishes too.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View Tony's profile


987 posts in 4297 days

#8 posted 09-03-2008 01:44 PM

Hi there

I may be a little too late in giving you some advice on this subject. But I think you have the correct idea – start with an oil finish to “pop” the grain or features of the wood in question. you may find my blog on finishing useful.

The main thing is surface preperation – and if you want a really high sheen, then lots of sanding, lots of thin coats, each drying/hardening, before the next appliction and lots of time, you cannot rush this process.

Good luck I hope to see the project soon

-- Tony - All things are possible, just some things are more difficult than others! - SKYPE: Heron2005 (

View davidroberts's profile


1027 posts in 3752 days

#9 posted 01-12-2009 10:18 PM

I may be later than Tony on this subject. I read somewhere that it is only practical to apply one coat of wax because another coat will just remove the first coat. Take that FWIW. I do use a shoe brush dedicated to furniture after rubbing out with a soft cloth.

-- Better woodworking through old hand tools.

View Matt (Upper Cut)'s profile

Matt (Upper Cut)

264 posts in 4080 days

#10 posted 01-13-2009 05:10 AM

+1 on Renaissance Wax. I find that I can do a few coats of wipe on poly (on a well sanded piece) and then after 24 hours go to the Ren Wax. It does a very nice job, leaves the surface smooth, shiny, and well… waxed.

-- Matt Gradwohl, Upper Cut Woodworks,

View mski's profile


439 posts in 4247 days

#11 posted 01-13-2009 07:12 AM

Tung oil 50%, Carabuna wax 25%, Bees wax 25%.

Cook in double boiler, cool, Rub the heck out of it, or it into the wood.


View Ekim's profile


17 posts in 3721 days

#12 posted 01-13-2009 07:31 AM

I believe Minwax makes a liquid wax that comes in colors that is easy to apply. Shoe polish works great too and it comes in many colors. I believe shoe polish is made with the wax that is taken from shellac when it is dewaxed.

-- mike,

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