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Thread: Need advice on Mahoney's walnut oil finish and wax..

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Pawnee, OK

    Need advice on Mahoney's walnut oil finish and wax..

    I turned a small utility bowl and I'm using Mahoney's walnut Utility Oil on it. Actually I have already applied it. I am also planning on using Mahoney's wax which is walnut oil, beeswax and carnuba wax. They indicate it takes a long time for the Utility oil to dry and they recommend it before putting the wax on. But they don't indicate how long to let it set before applying the wax. I don't know if it's hours or days. Does anyone have any experience with this?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Southern Kentucky
    That's going to be hard to answer-----if your wood was dry and you wiped off the excess oil I would guess a couple days. If your wood was still wet and you soaked it with oil your looking at longer. I am bad about over appling oil so I go with a week drying time.
    ---I may be broke---but we have plenty of wood---

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Granite Falls, WA
    I've only done one dry (returned) bowl in Mahoney's oil. I let it dry for two weeks before buffing and applying Ren wax. It came out fine.

  4. #4
    Hi James,
    You can call Mike directly and ask him yourself. He is a nice guy and I am sure will tell you exactly what you need to know. However, he is very busy so I might suggest if you call him... get right to the point and ask your question(s) no rambling so to speak. LOL! While it is a hobby for most turning is how he makes his living and he moves quick!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Pawnee, OK
    Thanks for the advice guys. The wood is dry and it has soaked the oil up good. I think I will go with Gary's suggestion and wait a couple of days. I want to be able to use it for food, but at the same time I want it to shine a little, so I would like to apply the wax. Thanks again for your suggestions.

  6. #6
    FYI - I recently sent Mike an email concerning the Walnut oil and he responded within the hour. So he's quick to answer questions.


  7. #7


    I use Mahoney's oil and wax on all my bowls. I live in a dry climate so I usually only wait 24 to 48 hours. What I have started doing is applying oil to bowl and then spinning it on the lathe and buffing with the application cloth. This seems to uniformly apply the oil and gives it a little shine. In 24 to 48 hours I apply a coat of was wait a couple of hours and then buff it while it is on the lathe. I repeat this in a couple of hours. I have noticed since I started spinning the bowls while applying and buffing the finish looks a lot nicer.

  8. #8
    It won't matter to an extent. The wax does not form an impermeable layer, and it is soft. This means the Walnut oil finish beneath it will continue to dry through the wax, and will not compromise/crack the top layer of wax.

    As long as the finish beneath has dried for a day or two, you can wax it. I apply wax over oils, varnishes, and oil/varnishes frequently the very next day.

  9. #9
    Pure walnut oil, even when heat-tempered, is a semi-drying oil. I really like the walnut oil finish and use it a lot on utility pieces. As mentioned above it will look less oily in 24 to 48 hours but it will not be completely dry. I consider this an oil finish that the owner will need to know that they will have to 'refresh' from time to time. I do think walnut oil is far more durable than the oils that basically never dry at all like mineral oil, needing a refresh after every washing. I make my own 50/50 mix by weight of beeswax and walnut oil paste and use that after the first oil coat of walnut oil. Beeswax is non-durable too and quite frankly that is the 'goodness' of these two, easy to refresh and no scratches in the finish while leaving the wood looking alive. A 'hard' finish reduces the utility of a bowl, plate or platter limiting its use.

  10. I am wondering if it matters how many coats you apply? I have a platter made of maple and purple heart. Some of the purple heart looks well oiled while some looks very dry. I gave it a second coat of Mahoney's with the same results. I assume it is soaking in and I'm thinking I should keep applying until it doesn't take any more. Is this correct?
    Thanks for any advice

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Rochester, NY
    I've used Mahoney's Walnut oil a couple of times with mixed results. After that I started using Minwax Antique Oil (MAO) and like it very much. It is my go to finish. I used the Walnut Oil once after that and discovered that when I wet sanded the Walnut Oil with wet dry sandpaper it hardened much faster and gave a much better result.

    One additional note. Walnut Oil as applied is probably the most food safe finish and once it has dried it is still food safe. All of the other finishes, once they have cured, are just as food safe as the walnut oil.

    David G

  12. #12
    It can take a week or more for the oil to cure out. It never cures hard like some of the wipe on Poly types. If I want to speed up the curing process, I put the bowls on a wire rack and put a 40 or 60 watt bulb under them, the old incandescent types as they generate more heat. Sun light/UV helps with the curing as well. I have since switched to the Doctor's Woodshop oil. His carnuba was is 'microaggregated' and he did dumb that down a bit to explain it to us non PhD's, but you don't need heat to make the carnuba flow. Both are good products. I never buff. With a soft wax finish, the buff surface is gone first time you put food in it....

    robo hippy

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