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Finish that gets shinier with handling?

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Forum topic by WaffleM posted 07-24-2018 01:31 AM 727 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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WaffleM

6 posts in 999 days


07-24-2018 01:31 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question finishing oil wax

Many years ago a local woodworker made a bunch of crosses for a elderly bible study class. He said that he put a special finish on them (I believe an oil or wax) that started as a matte but would become shinier as they were handled. He said that the oils in the holder’s hands would react with the finish to make them glossier. Sadly he has since passed away and I don’t know what finish he used. Any ideas of what finish it was?

-- What could possibly go wrong?!?


6 replies so far

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CaptainKlutz

1498 posts in 1915 days


#1 posted 07-24-2018 04:59 AM

What kind of wood?

1st guess:
Rosewood, Cocobolo, and many of the very hard oily hardwoods can have surface that gets more shiny as you use the item, even without any finish on wood.
Typically oily woods would be sealed with shellac and then use carnauba wax like option 2 below for added protection and shine.

2nd guess:
Pure carnauba wax on top of oil finish.
Provided grain pores are filler, carnauba wax will polish to very high gloss on wood with some power buffing. Handling will have same effect, as I have seen it on some kids toys I made long ago that used wax to lubricate wood train car wheels.
Can use lacquer or poly for base layer, but finish can look little like plastic.

There many derivations of these finishing processes used by wood turners for creating shiny knobs and handles on WWW if need more information.

Best Luck.

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

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EarlS

2883 posts in 2768 days


#2 posted 07-24-2018 12:00 PM

I agree with Captain on finishes. Add to that years and years of handling the crosses. Your hands have some oils on them and essentially can burnish/rub out the finish. I know I can tell where my arms rest on the computer desk because that area is smoother and the finish has more of a sheen.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

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WaffleM

6 posts in 999 days


#3 posted 07-24-2018 12:00 PM

1. I forgot to mention that in the original post: the wood was walnut. Not particularly oily, but it does look great with an oil finish.
2. Good thoughts with the carnauba wax and oil. I’ll have to try mixing up an oil and carnauba paste wax. I’m thinking about trying minerail oil, maybe walnut oil, or maybe a combination, for the oil part. I’ll probably use a beeswax and carnauba mix for the wax. The beeswax will dull it a bit, but straight carnauba will be a bit pricey.

-- What could possibly go wrong?!?

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EarlS

2883 posts in 2768 days


#4 posted 07-24-2018 01:29 PM

My desk top is walnut finished with Arm-R-Seal and waxed with Behlen’s Deluxing Compound.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

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Lazyman

3554 posts in 1808 days


#5 posted 07-24-2018 02:45 PM

Almost any wood that doesn’t have a hard varnish on it will get more polished with handling if you don’t wash the human oils off, though it can also look dirty if your hands are always fairly clean. Even a varnish will eventually get that way too but it may take longer. Oil and Carnauba wax would probably be my choice. The Carnauba wax is harder and will probably look better from the beginning.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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CaptainKlutz

1498 posts in 1915 days


#6 posted 07-25-2018 01:21 AM



1. I forgot to mention that in the original post: the wood was walnut. Not particularly oily, but it does look great with an oil finish.
2. Good thoughts with the carnauba wax and oil. I ll have to try mixing up an oil and carnauba paste wax. I m thinking about trying minerail oil, maybe walnut oil, or maybe a combination, for the oil part. I ll probably use a beeswax and carnauba mix for the wax. The beeswax will dull it a bit, but straight carnauba will be a bit pricey.

- WaffleM

Knowing that you have walnut, suggests that grain filler will be required to help keep skin oils on surface and create polished object. Open pores will catch/store human oils, and can look dirty over time.
One solution I use for filling walnut grain that might work nicely for your application: wet sanding using BLO with 180/220 grit to fill pores (scrap excess across grain to keep dust/oil blend as filler, then next day buff the surface with grey or white nylon pad). BLO takes some extra drying time .vs. commercial filler; but color matches perfectly.

Perfecting your own oil and/or wax blend can take a lot of trial/error testing.
If it were me, would use simple BLO as base coat to seal filled wood grain, or use Tried and True Danish Oil (food safe BLO blend), and then a commercial Carnauba wax blend with some paraffin and no beeswax (MyLands even has shellac/paraffin/carnauba blend for high gloss).
IMHO beeswax polish creates semi-gloss finish. Tried and True makes a nice commercial oil and beeswax blended finish, and it works well (use it on my workbench, and serving bowls). But finish stays satin to semi-gloss and sort of non-slip due soft texture of beeswax. The beeswax will eventually wear down, and create a higher gloss level, but this takes a lot of time/handling? So would try to use a mostly carnauba wax for highest gloss shine.

Best Luck.

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

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