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Old 10-31-2017, 06:04 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Homemade "UltraShine" Grrrrr

I was watching a few YouTube videos where turners made their own sanding wax. Essentially, the formula was 4 parts mineral oil, 1 part tripoli and one part beeswax. I did this by weight. 6 oz, 1.5 oz and 1.5 oz.

Formulation was easy.. but, I got horrible results in my one trial on a light colored piece of alder (I think it was alder). Anyhow as you can see in the photo, the sanding wax left dark gray color in the wood.. not what I was expecting.

The guys that made the SW on YouTube had a tan colored tripoli and mine was a dark gray color. I ordered it from Amazon and it was listed as Rottonstone/Tripoli. It was made by Behlens which I remember as a reputable manufacturer of wood finishing products and was listed on the container for finishing woodwork that has a finish applied.. such as a varnish.

So, not what I expected.. Have any of you made your own sanding wax? If so, what did you use for the grit?


Edit: I later saw a formulation by Capt'n Eddie. He used beeswax and mineral oil without the tripoli. I'm guessing this is likely what I should make up. Probably use the mix with the rottenstone for putting a polish on items that have already had a hard finish applied. Wonder if it would work with acrylics.. which I have yet to try..
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Last edited by Spinzwood; 10-31-2017 at 06:23 PM.
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Old 10-31-2017, 06:16 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Old 10-31-2017, 06:51 PM   #3 (permalink)
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That photo and the resulting "grayed" polish make it look like bamboo!

Thanks for the note on mineral oil and bees wax. I have tried other versions over the years but I don't think I have used that.
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Old 10-31-2017, 06:59 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Definitely not bamboo.. I'm quite sure it's alder.. Re the beeswax and mineral oil, that's Capt'n Eddy's formula that he got from an old time turner friend of his.

Because of the mineral oil and beeswax, I doubt one could put a finish on it other than shellac.. but, possibly something harder over that if desired.
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Old 10-31-2017, 07:17 PM   #5 (permalink)
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What is the objective - are you trying to get a smoother surface on raw wood prior to applying a finish, get a smoother finish on wood that will only get mineral oil, fill pores before applying a finish, . . .

If the first, adhesion will be an issue over wax and mineral oil; if the second, plain 800 grit sandpaper gives me an extremely smooth raw wood surface; if the third the filled pores will never dry hard.
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Old 10-31-2017, 07:49 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I make my own wax for all items that will be used in the kitchen for eating or with food. I use 1 oz of bees wax to 8oz mineral oil. I heat it in a double boiler on low heat and then dispense it into containers. I also use it when sanding those items. You can also replace the mineral oil with pure tung oil. That is then a finish polish
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Old 10-31-2017, 07:51 PM   #7 (permalink)
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The only times I use rottenstone is after a finish has been applied and cured. Then I mix a little with mineral spirits or mineral oil and hand polish with the mixture, it was like the wet sanding process like auto painters do on the clear coat.

I only use the mineral oil and beeswax combos as a finish for food safe items. That mineral oil comes from the pharmacy. Way back when I made homemade wood spoons and forks, I kept 2 crockpots with the mineral oil and beeswax mixes I them, I would turn on the pot to warm the mix to soften the wax and make the mineral oil a little less thick. One crockpot had more wax in the ratio than the other. I used clean cloths to apply the mix, this was my personal preference as to how I applied it, others dipped or tried to "soak" the wood.
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Old 10-31-2017, 08:35 PM   #8 (permalink)
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My guess would be the wrong tripoli powder. The stuff from Behlen is dark gray and stains wood, you want the lighter cream colored powder. I make my own using the same recipe and use it on wood (after sanding sealer), acrylic, and CA finishes. Great stuff!

Here's a link for the stuff you want:


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Old 11-02-2017, 08:43 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Daniel Villarino posted a new video this morning on making homemade abrasive paste. He appears to be using a 'blond' tripoli, but he doesn't mention that there is a choice of colors. He does mention use of abrasives other than tripoli.

I have never tried making my own abrasive paste. I have used a commercial product (Dr. Kirk's). But - - - I have a fundamental concern about using a paste containing both wax and mineral oil on raw wood because I normally finish my pieces with an oil finish. Instead, I have used abrasive Dr. Kirk's as a polishing compound applied over a fully-cured oil finish - one that has been allowed to cure for several weeks. My experience with Dr. Kirk's (which is very white) has been excellent. It would be interesting to see if a colored abrasive wax would produce a similar effect, or if the piece would retain some of the color.

There are a number of videos from British turners who use Yorkshire Grit - which appears to have a brownish color.

Last edited by monophoto; 11-02-2017 at 08:50 AM.
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Old 11-02-2017, 09:05 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Thanks guys.. I think Daniel is where I might have found the recipe.. although it appears that video was uploaded today. He may have found another YT video.. which may have been what I originally saw and just ordered materials. I didn't realize this tripli was dark gray.. arghh.

That said.. watching Daniel's video and his description of the tripoli he uses.. I'm guessing what he is using is diatomaceous earth.. which is roughly the color of what I have seen. It is made from the ground remains of microscopic sea critters. It can be found at pool supplies for pool water filtration.. it's very fine. Until the video he posted.. I would not have thought of that.
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