Finishes – Part 4


The final finishing step was to wipe on and buff some soft beeswax, which I first had to make.  So I shredded some beeswax (not fun: makes a sticky mess and gums up your shredder) and put it in a mason jar.  I used some nuts to separate the jar from the pan to create a double boiler, and turned up the heat.  It should melt somewhere around 145°F or a little higher.  It is flammable, though that’s around 400°.

The shredded wax loses a lot of volume as it melts.  When the temperature was about right, I stirred with a craft stick until the remaining solids disappeared into the liquid wax, and slid the pan off the fire.

Traditional recipes vary, but the solvent is usually turpentine (the real stuff from pine resin).  I don’t have any on hand, but I do have some Sutherland Welles DiCitrusol.  As best I can tell, DiCitrusol is d-limonene, and limonene is a monoterpene like pinene, the main component of turpentine.  So it’s similar but different.

My mix was about 1 part beeswax to 2 parts solvent.  I poured the solvent in and gave it a good stir.  The mixture turned dark, but later, after cooling and solidifying, it returned to about the original shade of the wax.  I poured it into two smaller jars.

Then I added some india ink to one of them, to make a black wax.  I didn’t even know if this would work.  Interestingly, it made that mixture gel into a paste almost immediately, while the natural took a while.  Ultimately it feels a little softer as well.

I wiped the wax on with a cloth, let it set up, and then buffed with a clean cloth.

I’m still not sure if the black wax actually worked.  Since I was putting it on the legs which were already black, I couldn’t really tell if the colorant made any difference.  I’ll have to try it on oak or ash with a relatively clear finish and see if it colors the pores.