beeswax for wood

The use of waxes to protect wood is a very old technique for furniture, prior to all current chemistry, and which is still used in certain areas. Among natural waxes, beeswax is the most used, although it is not the only one, another that stands out is that of carnauba.

When the number of alternatives was much smaller, beeswax was used even in the wood of the boats. However, its scope is currently much smaller, basically solid wood furniture, handicrafts and less and less flooring.

Types of beeswax to protect wood

Not all beeswax in wood is the same. We can find them of different types. White and yellow are the most common. The latter is what allows the natural grain of the wood to be enhanced.

There are also colored ones, which can help us darken the wood or change the tone.

And, of course, also, from a commercial point of view, we can find them ready to apply and in combination with other materials such as coconut oil, silicones, etc.

Features of beeswax for wood

Natural. Forget chemical compounds that are toxic or harmful to the environment. In fact, this is a common finish on handmade wooden toys for children.

Easy to apply. This is a great advantage, that the application of beeswax on a piece of furniture is something quick and easy, as it allows anyone to apply it without the need for a professional tool.

Economic. Not only are the materials cheap, the tool required for the application cannot be less.

Nourishes and protects wood, although it obviously does not offer the levels of protection that other finishes offer.

Glossy finish. We can also vary the level of gloss depending on the number of layers and the intensity of the polish.

Does not create an impermeable layer, thus allowing the wood to breathe. Although on the other hand it does not protect against stains produced by spilling some types of liquids.

Disadvantages

High maintenance. With time and use, dust and dirt accumulate more easily than in other finishes, which requires you to reapply a new layer of beeswax with some frequency. Although, on the other hand, as we have already pointed out, it is quite simple and quick to do.

Limited resistance. The resistance offered by a layer of beeswax is low. It grates very easily.

Application of Beeswax in Furniture

apply beeswax to furniture

Today it is much more common to use ready-made wood waxes. They come in many types and formats and, in some cases, are even easier to apply. It has spray, which contains silicones …

However, if what we want is to use a totally natural product, here we explain how to do it.

The first thing is to know the material needs:

  • Virgin or pure wax.
  • Carnauba wax (optional). This achieves greater brightness.
  • White spirit or turpentine (liquid distilled from the resin of some conifers such as pine).
  • Cloths or lint-free cloths.

Note: To obtain a smoother and easier to apply mixture, we can replace about 25% of the beeswax with paraffin.

Proportions. 100gr of beeswax, between 400-500 ml of turpentine (when the wood pore is open, a greater proportion of wax is used, therefore less turpentine), 50 gr of carnauba wax.

Preparation of beeswax for wood. As the wax in its pure state is solid, it is necessary to heat it to make it liquid. For this, the wax is placed in a water bath, approximately and depending on the quantity 15-20 min at 75-100 degrees.

Without letting it cool, mix with turpentine and stir until a completely homogeneous mixture is obtained. Now let it cool before applying.

The app It’s very simple. With the cloth or the crank pin there are also those who use brushes although I personally do not recommend it, we apply the wax on the wood in circles. A small amount is removed with each pass, and in case you have to remove the excess of the product always in the direction of the grain.

Note: The wood must be prepared in advance. You must remove any previous finish and have the surfaces well sanded and cleaned. In the case of renovation of a beeswax finish, if the composition is the same, it can be applied directly.

After 5 to 6 hours, depending on the humidity, temperature and composition of the wax, perhaps more or less, the solvent will have evaporated. We will polish the surface with a clean cloth to obtain a shiny finish.

The smell of turpentine disappears after a few days.