Beeswax polish is one of the commonest and most reliable ways of finishing off your woodcarvings. This short series starts with a look at different waxes, shows you how to make a great beeswax polish and then the best way to apply it.
| 25 May 2020 20:02
Albert - Interesting. I don't know the product but will certainly keep an eye out. Thanks for the heads up.
| 23 May 2020 09:44
Chris, I have stopped using turpentine and went to a natural product Citrus Terpene. It smells to lemon and is not offensive. Haven't used it with beeswax as yet though, only with Tung Oil. Perhaps something to think about.
| 26 January 2018 09:21
William - Thanks for that. I can't see why it shouldn't work and I'll give it a go next time I make up some wax. I agree about the smell of turpentine when you are making the wax but it does disappear from the wax itself when its used.
| 25 January 2018 20:18
Beeswax is my favorite and most natural finish. But using turpentine as the solvent is so smelly and I’m thinking toxic, too. I’ve started using canola oil to melt the wax and the results so far seem equally good with a lot less offensive smell both in creating the wax and applying it.
You are my main go to for carving technique.
| 21 May 2015 07:50
Jan - Afraid not: wax is very susceptable to water damage. You can't, for example, put a wet vase of flowers on a waxed table without leaving a white ring, which can be difficult to remove. So, inside only. If you rewax your Italian mask, melting the old with a hair dyer as you apply new wax, you should be able to restore the surface. I hope your mask is in the Gallery!
| 20 May 2015 19:45
Chris, I have made my first wax and applyed it to my Italian mask. It looked lovely, than I placed the carving outside on my shed..it went through some rain and direct sunlight leaving white marks on carving and then it went completely dull.Can we use waxing finish for carvings placed outside ?
many thanks.. Jan
| 13 April 2015 10:51
Dermot - Although I wrote that, it was really something passed on to me by restorers that I thought worthy of note. I've had no experience of beeswax being detrimental to the woods I commonly use - and I'm afraid Rosewood is not one of those anyway. However, I wouldn't recommend beeswax for a waterproof surface; it does so easily water-stain. I suggest you explore woodturning finishes and rosewood on the Internet - turners are more likely to use that timber and make bowls and platters that need waterproofing. I'm sure you'll find some modern finishes that will do the trick. And don't forget to let us have a look at it in the gallery!
| 25 March 2015 07:18
Chris, I've been reading Woodcarving Tools Materials and Equipment Vol 2 Page 143 - Waxes. I have a nice piece of Rosewood which I wish to ensure is finished to best show the grain and at the same time waterproof as the intended platter with carved border is for a vase and I don't want it to watermark due to accidental spillage. In the book it states that beeswax oxidises with the air over time and can be detrimental to the wood. I really don't want to experiment on this piece of Rosewood and seek the most most practical method (after sanding) to ensure a waterproof finishing process that isn't detrimental to the wood and best shows the grain. Your advise would be much appreciated as finance is tight and every piece of wood considered precious.
| 27 February 2014 09:52
Raul - As a general rule, if you have a cleanly carved surface, beeswax will enhance any wood. Beeswax on Pine or Limewood looks great. I don't use anything else.
| 26 February 2014 10:17
Hi Chris. Sorry, I'll say again my question... I have carved in lime wood and pine wood. I wish to apply beeswax to finish. With your experience with these woods. Will I recommend better with a different finish or beeswax is perfect?
| 08 February 2014 07:16
Raul - I can't really answer your question - there are so many woods! It's hard to imagine a wood where wax cannot be used, but a lot will depend on your surface finish. Some woods might display torn grain more than others when waxed or oiled.I should say that over the years I have come to stay with a limited number of woods, ones I am completely familiar with, both for carving and for waxing. As always with finishes: do a test on a scrap piece of your wood first.
| 07 February 2014 18:33
Hi Chris. Is there any wood you can not use wax? I have Lindenwood, pine wood and... ( I want to try with almond wood. It is very hard ).
| 02 March 2012 16:59
Tony - I've never carved white pine, but I'm wondering what the point of washing it would be. To remove grime and dirt? Keeping light wood clean is a problem, certainly and that might work, though it'll raise the grain. Wax happily mixes with grease and oils. Just thinkin' out loud ...
| 01 March 2012 18:54
Hi Chris - I heard (somewhere) that a finished carving of white pine can be washed with soap & water before applying wax. What do you think?
| 27 August 2011 11:35
Hi Robert - It's true that the solvent evaporates and you are left with just the beeswax, which I guess is pretty harmless. However, Id never use beeswax for anything that was to be used with food. If nothing else, wax and water really don't go well together. Far better to use an edible oil such as olive (tasteless), or walnut (slightly nutty). I just wipe my wooden food utensils with a little of the oil now and then and it restores the wood beautifully and never seems to go rancid - I guess because they are used so often.