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Thread: Advice making Bees wax and light liquid paraffin finish

  1. #1

    Advice making Bees wax and light liquid paraffin finish

    I plan to make a finish using light liquid paraffin and beeswax

    It was suggested I use 80% liquid paraffin and 20% beeswax

    Comments please

  2. #2
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    I've never used liquid paraffin - the all-knowing internet tells me it's basically mineral oil.

    If so, would the oil/wax mixture ever dry/cure? (Perhaps that is what you are going for, a thin wax that will soak in to the wood but not harden.) An easy way to test is mix up a little and put a drop on a piece of glass and see if it stays soft for hardens.

    I've read a number of recipes for making finishes using beeswax (I have plenty since I have beehives.) Most mix with BLO or some other oil or oil/varnish that will set up. Often people thin with mineral spirits. One old recipe is 1/3 each of mineral spirits, BLO, and beeswax.

    A couple of years ago I sent some beeswax to Bill White and after experimenting he sent this:
    His final formula
    "Mixed the wax with BLO
    40% wax/60% BLO.
    Added a splash of EV olive oil to retard any drying from the BLO.
    Mixture seems to be top notch."

    I sometimes use beeswax directly on the wood without mixing it with anything, mostly on things turned from Eastern Red Cedar. Sometimes I rub slightly softened beeswax on the wood with a cloth and sometimes I rub it on while melting with a heat gun so the wax will soak in deeper. This gives a much darker look.

    JKJ

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Deakin View Post
    I plan to make a finish using light liquid paraffin and beeswax

    It was suggested I use 80% liquid paraffin and 20% beeswax

    Comments please

  3. #3
    John Thank you for your post
    I know you are aware that I am a retired pharmacist. I originally purchased Light liquid Paraffin BP. from work to use as a substitute for Norton honing fluid to sharpen chisels

    Norton honing fluid http://www.jamestowndistributors.com...Oil_ALT003.pdf


    Light liquid Paraffin BP

    https://www.itwreagents.com/italy/en...7-5&filter=cas

    Mineral Oil

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mineral_oil



    BP https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Pharmacopoeia
    Last edited by Brian Deakin; 08-08-2018 at 11:15 AM.

  4. #4
    Hey Brian. When I started turning on a wing and a prayer I used mineral oil and beeswax almost exclusively on bowls. I seldom use it any more as I make very few bowls now. I used to mix 60% mineral oil and 40% beeswax. I like it to be a little on the soft side but it's very easy to reheat and add either to change the consistency. One good reason to use it is the ease of refinishing, I continue to use it on all cutting boards and other wooden kitchen impliments.
    Pete


    * It's better to be a lion for a day than a sheep for life - Sister Elizabeth Kenny *
    I think this equates nicely to wood turning as well . . . . .

  5. #5
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    You are basically talking about "Board Butter", which is widely used to condition and maintain end-grain cutting boards (and other wood kitchen tools.) There are many recipes with different ratios to affect the texture of the resulting mix. It seems like I've seen people recommending everywhere from 1:1 (50/50) to 1:7 Beeswax to Mineral Oil. I've tried some 1:7 and it is very soft and creamy. It goes on very well, seems to soak in end-grain well, but doesn't really harden completely. I also have some that is, I think, 1:1 and it is really hard to smooth on a cutting board. (I usually heat it in a microwave to soften it.) But it seems a little less gooey once on the board, though I don't think it dries completely. 1:1 might friction polish very well on a lathe. (I remember Richard Raffan friction polishing a bowl with just beeswax on one of his videos. At least when he did it, it left a really nice warm luster finish.)

    Some board butter discussion:

    Saya and wa handle care
    Cheap but good board butter

    (at Kitchen Knife Forums.)

    Also Christopher Schwarz has used and written about a beeswax and turps soft wax. If you search his blogs, you should find a number of his articles which describe a couple recipes and his results using it as a finish.

  6. #6
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    If you get beeswax combs from a beekeeper, how do you clean it to make it usable for finishing purposes?

  7. #7
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    TX, NM or on the road
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    I think I would try a mix of beeswax and citrus solvent. Melt the beeswax in a double boiler and then add the citrus solvent, it won't be a liquid, just a softer version of beeswax. A vigorous rub will provide enough heat to let the beeswax soak in to the wood. The citrus solvent will dry fairly quickly.

  8. #8
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    Aug 2014
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stan Calow View Post
    If you get beeswax combs from a beekeeper, how do you clean it to make it usable for finishing purposes?
    Don Williams wrote about his process for that. I assume it's somewhere on his website (donsbarn.com) in more detail, but I bookmarked his article at PopWood: In Search of the Perfect Wax Finish

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stan Calow View Post
    If you get beeswax combs from a beekeeper, how do you clean it to make it usable for finishing purposes?
    Some beekeepers will process the combs into usable wax. That's what I do.

    I process beeswax from comb by melting and filtering. I first wash the combs to remove any residual honey. One way is to melt at the top of a pan of boiling water. Skim off the skum which floats to the top (propolis, bee wings, pollen) and skim the melted wax from the top of the water. Another way is to heat in a crock pot with no water. Be careful not to overheat and boil the wax. All this needs to be done with caution and outside since hot beeswax is highly flammable - don't even think of melting it directly in a pan over a gas burner.

    After melting I filter twice, once with paint filters from Home Depot and again with 6" round filters made for goat's milk. If the wax retains any color but the yellow of pure beeswax I repeat the melting and filtering cycle as needed.

    After filtering I pour the melted beeswax into silicone molds made for soap. The size I usually use makes little bars of about 1+ oz each. This can be used directly on wood or as a component of the finish.

    The "cappings" wax from the honey frames makes the best wax since it is freshly made by the bees. I wash in mesh bags, let dry, then melt separately from the older, well used and discolored wax.

    Another common and easy way to purify wax from the combs is to put it in a solar melter, a box with glass on the top and a sloped bottom with a collection pan, easy to build. The sun slowly melts the wax which runs down to the collection pan leaving any non-wax behind on the slope.

    Note that the existence of propolis (a plant resin) in beeswax makes it darker but doesn't necessarily keep it from being used as finish. In fact, propolis itself is used by people who make and repair fine musical instruments such as violins. One luthier contacted me looking for propolis, the darker the better.

    I think many big operation beekeepers sell the wax back to the beekeeping suppliers who have it processed into new foundation sheets to go into new honey and brood comb frames. Pure, clean beeswax is widely available for sale. Note that the natural color of pure beeswax is yellow and the white beeswax is bleached, often with chemicals. I don't know if that would hurt anything and might be desirable for a finish. I understand that when processing beeswax yourself you can pour it into trays and let it sit out in the sun for bleaching, but I've never tried that.

    JKJ

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