Beeswax has been used for finishing wood for a long time, but it has become very popular in recent years. This is because people are looking for the best natural alternatives to wood paints that contain harmful chemicals like toluene. But do you know how to apply beeswax to wood? Long before polyurethanes were invented linseed oil was applied to wooden surfaces in order to protect them. Often, beeswax was also applied over this coating so that the finish was enhanced and its durability increased. However, because beeswax was soft, it could not provide the appropriate protection and the protection it did provide did not last long. Beeswax was then mixed with linseed oil to make a better solution which offered an improved treatment for the wood finish. The oil penetrated deeply into the wood while the beeswax formed a protective layer over it. This made wooden furniture more durable. Over time many companies started making even better types of coating solutions.
Advantages of using beeswax for wooden surfaces
While there are many types of waxes available on the market, there is a growing interest towards the more natural beeswax as it is environmentally safe. Some of the advantages of using it include:
- Beeswax is soft and sticky. The fact that it has a pleasing smell attracts customers.
- After application its color buffs out and imparts a soft glow.
- At room temperature beeswax tends to melt, which makes it very sticky and slippery. This property may not make it ideal for surfaces of woodworking benches or table saw tops, but it is ideal for wood flooring where it is important that the surfaces have friction and do not allow you to slip.
How to apply beeswax to wood
- Before you apply the wax you need to clean the wooden furniture. Take a dry cloth and remove all the dirt or grime present on the surface. If you need to damp the cloth in order to remove it, do so, but allow the surface to dry before applying the beeswax.
- Beeswax should be applied from one corner to the other in straight line. Take a cloth and dip it in wax. Now, if you are applying it on a tabletop, for example, start with one corner and take it to the other in a single stroke. Rub the wax in that manner over the surface across the table. When you feel that the wax is used up, dip the cloth into the wax again. Ensure that the wax penetrates all the crevices.
- You will see that the wax will begin to dry quickly. You will have to check the brand of the wax you are using to see its drying time.
- Wait for it to dry and now take a dry cloth and buff it off. This will give the wood surface a beautiful dull yellow leathery finish.
- When the beeswax is applied for the first time on wooden furniture you must give it at least two to three coats. Wait for about three to four hours before applying the next coat.
A few tips
Beeswax that is especially made for floors should not be applied to other types of wooden furniture. Remember to buy wax that is specifically made to apply to furniture. Let the beeswax dry completely before you buff it. This is because there is no point in polishing the surface when the wax is wet. You would only spread it more.
How to make beeswax
You can make beeswax at home by mixing beeswax and oil in the ratio of 1:4. Various types of oil such as jojoba oil, coconut oil, olive oil or walnut oil can be mixed to the wax. First grate the wax or crush it into small pieces. Take one cup of oil and add the grated beeswax to it. Heat the mixture on the stove top. Keep stirring it so that it gets mixed evenly and is fully dissolved. Once the solution is ready, you may want to add an essential oil so that when you apply it to the wooden surfaces it gives off a wonderful smell. Let the mixture cool down and keep stirring it now and then, as the two ingredients tend to separate. After cooling the beeswax polish will appear a bit thicker. Now that you know how to make it, you can follow the steps mentioned above on how to apply beeswax to wood items of your home now.