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Thread: Finishing Wax

  1. #1

    Cool Finishing Wax

    Hi All,
    I make my own paste wax for turning. At this time I use 4 parts mineral oil to 1 part beeswax. I like this formula because there is no odor. It has a lack luster shine to it. I want to make it more of a shiny bright finish.
    I use this formula because there are no chemicals and it is food safe.
    My question is what do I do to make if more of a glossy finish? More wax? More mineral oil? I have made a friction polish using the standard BLO, Denatured Alcohol, and Shellac which was somewhat more of a gloss but not the deep glossy shine.
    Any suggestions as to how to make a food safe high gloss wax?

    Thanks in advance for the help

    Scuddy
    Scuddy

  2. #2
    I'm guessing you need a hard wax. Carnaba? I think bees wax is just too gummy.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roy Scudamore View Post
    Hi All,
    I make my own paste wax for turning. At this time I use 4 parts mineral oil to 1 part beeswax. I like this formula because there is no odor. It has a lack luster shine to it. I want to make it more of a shiny bright finish.
    I use this formula because there are no chemicals and it is food safe.
    My question is what do I do to make if more of a glossy finish? More wax? More mineral oil? I have made a friction polish using the standard BLO, Denatured Alcohol, and Shellac which was somewhat more of a gloss but not the deep glossy shine.
    Any suggestions as to how to make a food safe high gloss wax?

    Thanks in advance for the help

    Scuddy
    I would suggest to start by adding Carnauba Wax. Try replacing 20% of beeswax with carnauba (4:1), if this will not make enough difference, just add more. Keep in mind that the melting point for Carnauba is higher than for beeswax, but still below 100C, so the water bath will work well.

  4. #4
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    Roy,

    I was also thinking Carnauba.

    However, whatever kind of wax you use keep in mind it will likely not hold its shine long after use and washing with water and will have to be reapplied and buffed. But it might look good for the sale if that's the goal.

    Note that the experts say all finishes are safe after curing completely.

  5. #5
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    Im surprised you get any shine, or any kind of short dry time with all that mineral oil. Mineral oil takes days to dry, maybe longer! You must be buffing all the wax off and probably just leaving the mineral oil. Wax is not a deep finish. After buffing, it has nearly no film or thickness. It can add some gloss, but consider if you put it on raw wood. On raw wood, you'll never get a deep shine. Same goes if you put it on a dull thin finish. You need a finish that is very close to what you want to start with, then the wax can boost it just a little.
    Last edited by Richard Coers; 02-26-2020 at 11:59 AM.

  6. #6
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    I found that Carnuba gets water spots very easily. Anyone else have that experience?

  7. #7
    Thank all for your responses. I am getting a strong feeling that the carnauba wax will give me a more glossy shine.
    So I guess I will try that,
    Richard I do not understand your post as every video I watch people are putting finishes on raw wood using all different types of configurations of wax and oils. Can you help me out with that?
    Thanks again
    Scuddy

  8. #8
    "Oil" in the context of wood finishes is a very loose term. Some oils actually cure in the sense that they change chemically and form larger cross-linked structures ("plastic", for practical purposes) -- tung oil and linseed oil do this, though linseed oil takes a long time to undergo this change. True-Oil is heat treated linseed oil that cures faster. Oils like tung and linseed oils are often called "drying oils" because they become something that is no longer "wet" (oily). Some "oils", like Danish oil, are a mixture of a film finish (like polyurethane or alkyd varnish) and an oil (like linseed oil). Mineral oil is just long chain alkane (hydrocarbons) extracted from petroleum that do not ever cross-link or change in structure. They just soak into the wood and sit there. They don't create a shine because they don't form a substantive film; if there's excess on the surface of the wood, it just wipes off. Waxes are very much like mineral oil chemically in that they don't cure, but they are made from larger molecules that have higher melting points, so they form a (softish) solid at room temp. These create sheen because they can lay on top of the wood and be rubbed into a shiny layer, but they aren't very hard, so handling can rub them off and/or leave marks that damage the sheen.

    Shellawax is a combination of wax and shellac that gives a very shiny finish that is dry in less than a minute (applied on the lathe as a friction polish). However, in my experience the shine from Shellawax is only moderately resistant to handling, and not resistant at all to water-spotting.

    For anyone that wants to know about wood finishes, Bob Flexner's book "Understanding Wood Finishes" is really excellent in my opinion. Demystifies all of this stuff, and most wood finish manufacturers seem to promote the idea that there is magic involved when there really isn't.

    Best,

    Dave

  9. #9
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    If you aren't getting a deep shine with friction polish, you aren't applying enough coats. With enough coats, it'll shine like justice. Most don't have the patience to do that, though.

    I started using microcrystalline wax recently. While not food safe, I like the finish: soft glow and silky smooth to the touch. And the microcrystalline wax won't leave finger prints. I'm using E.J. Wheaton because it is cheaper than Renaissance wax. Great over friction polish.

    But if you want a long lasting, no maintenance shine, hard to beat urethanes. I'm not a huge fan of laquer. It makes it look like plastic.

    I find open grain wood is the hardest to get to shine up. For a real sheen, you must first fill the grain, either with finish or grain filler.

    I do love Minwax tung oil finish. It's easy to apply, fairly durable, and additional coats can be reapplied later without sanding. Just wipe on with a rag. Again, it won't really shine until the grain is filled though. So, it may take several coats. I just wish it dried a bit faster.
    Last edited by tom lucas; 02-27-2020 at 6:30 PM.

  10. #10
    I have softened beeswax with mineral spirits, which evaporates leaving just the wax. But as already said, wax is a relatively soft coating that wears off relatively easily.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roy Scudamore View Post
    Thank all for your responses. I am getting a strong feeling that the carnauba wax will give me a more glossy shine.
    So I guess I will try that,
    Richard I do not understand your post as every video I watch people are putting finishes on raw wood using all different types of configurations of wax and oils. Can you help me out with that?
    Thanks again
    Im talking about your finish and the higher gloss you want. I thought you must be adding that mix on top of some kind of another finish. But even on raw wood, mineral oil and bees wax are not film nor building finishes. The mineral oil may go into the wood, but it will really dull with just a little time. Beeswax is the same thing. Neither are high gloss.

  12. #12
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    As others have commented, mineral oil never hardens and evaporation is incredibly slow. Perhaps the OP may want to consider swapping out the mineral oil for some other oil that WILL polymerize/harden/cure, etc. Mahoney's walnut oil is (probably) food safe and will kind of harden/cure.

    I agree with others that switching to a harder wax (like Carnuba) may also improve the shine. BTW, one time I was applying a variety of waxes to a pencil holder and included canning wax. Surprisingly it ended up pretty shiny.

    I think that it is worth doing an experiment.

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