Darbin Orvar

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Darbin Orvar - Girl in a Shop

My adventures in building, diy, construction, testing and finishing.

DIY Beeswax Polish Mix on Furniture

After almost 8 weeks the brick dust with linseed oil finish is ready for the beeswax polish. The stool has been curing, in the sun, on the shelf and in the air for a while now. The colors are complex and the piece really has an aged look, very similar to the honeyed fir floors in some older homes. The sun-baking process created a variety of color changes, depending on where and for how long the sun was able to reach the surface.

This process is very similar to how bricks are created in hot ovens, the color depends on how close the bricks are to the heat source. The whole piece has a very organic nature to it. This is as far from plastic as you can get.

I prepared the surface by sanding with a 220 grit and decided to smooth it further to 320. Contrary to my expectations the surface was not oily at all, despite using a raw linseed oil over a number of weeks. I think the sun is really a key ingredient to curing the oil and making sure the oil has dried properly.

Whenever you are using oil and a wax finish like this there is even more pressure to get the wood right. Sanding and smoothing are critical, and glue squeeze-out is a real problem because you can see any imperfection so easily.

Beeswax Finish

A beeswax finish is one of the oldest and most natural methods for finishing furniture. Waxing in general is a simple method for achieving a very smooth silky surface on any properly prepared wood. It would be hard to find a finish simpler or easier than this.

You can place this wax on top of just about anything. In some of my earlier videos you will have seen me apply wax over paint, polyurethane, oil and shellac, it is just that versatile. Most of the reason people like wax is the very smooth feel you get with it. Typically it does take the shine off a glossy finish like polyurethane and therefore makes the wood look more natural according to some, and I agree. Too much gloss does have an unnatural look.

To make your own mix is pretty easy. You can buy beeswax online or locally from an apiary, and it comes in blocks or cut up in bags. Melt the beeswax and add the mineral spirits to create your mix. You can play with the ratios but 1:1 seems like a good number for general use in terms of waxing furniture. If you add too much solvent sooner or later it will not solidify at all. A 4:1 (solvent : wax) mix might be better for brushing on the wax though as it would be a lot softer.

There are lots of paste waxes on the market and for the most part they are pretty similar. They usually contain beeswax, carnauba, paraffin, solvents and scents in a variety of proportions. When you make your own you can really play with the mix, adding more or less of any ingredient you wish.

Over the next few weeks I will be exploring further into these concepts with waxes, oils, scented oils, and pigments. Hope you stay tuned.

If you would like to watch the process of creating the wax polish check it out here:

http://youtube.com/user/darbinorvar