bees wax finish

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Charlie_W

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Nov 16, 2011
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5,753
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Sterling, VA USA
We use a Mineral Oil/Beeswax mix (on kitchen items and cutting boards) if that is what you are referring to.
25% beeswax melted and mixed with 75% food safe mineral oil. Once mixed, it will not separate. For a thicker mix, increase the Beeswax %.
 

monophoto

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Mar 13, 2010
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Saratoga Springs, NY
I make a wax/oil finish that I use for utility items such as tool handles. I start with a standard commercial paste wax - I've always used Crystal Clear, but Minwax, SC Johnson's or Trewax should also be fine. Using a standard 35mm film canister as a measure, I blend a measure of wax with turpentine to make a thick liquid. I then add one measure of oil and enough additional turpentine. This isn't rocket science, so the ratios don't have to be exact - the goal is to create a liquid that contains roughly equal amounts of oil and wax, and enough solvent to have a consistency similar to maple syrup. Since I use this for utility purposes rather than as a 'fine finish', I use boiled linseed oil.

It should be possible to substitute paint thinner for turpentine although I prefer to minimize the use of petroleum solvents (although commercial paste wax does have a petroleum component). Likewise, mineral oil, Tung oil or walnut oil could be used instead of BLO.

After mixing, and before using, shake well to make sure that the constituents are blended. Apply to the turning, and then burnish by spinning the turning while rubbing the finish until lit develops a lustre. This is a penetrating finish, so the final impression is that of the texture of the wood. The finish can be renewed by simply rubbing more of the wax/oil mixture into the wood. It's use isn't limited to turned items - I recently refurbished an old pruning saw, and used my wax/oil finish to freshen up its wooden handle.
 
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dogcatcher

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Jul 4, 2007
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TX, NM or on the road
I use this method for flax seed oil,

I then add melted beeswax to some of the purified flax seed oil. How much, I just guess at it so that it is like a paste wax. Sometimes I add some citrus paint thinner, and less wax.
 

monophoto

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Mar 13, 2010
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Location
Saratoga Springs, NY
A further thought -

Several years ago, I watched a demonstration by a bowl turner at a craft fair. After completing the shaping of the bowl, he sanded briefly (but not excessively - I think he stopped at 320 grit), and then applied a coat of pure bees wax by simply crayoning it onto the spinning bowl, and then burnishing the wax into the wood with a bit of paper towel. When asked about this, he said that it was a quick and inexpensive finish that was ideal for food-service items where 'food safe' might be an issue. I've used that approach with blocks of beeswax, Liberon carnauba wax bars, and even blocks of canning paraffin from the supermarket.

The downside of this finish is that it is not permanent, and will eventually wash off of food-service items that are washed after use. Of course, it can be easily renewed (although applying a pure wax is best done at the lathe where the item can be spun and the wax burnished into the wood. On the other hand, there are a number of commercial beeswax and mineral oil finishes that can simply be wiped onto the piece and rubbed in without the lathe when renewal is required.
 
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