Finishing                                                                      Wax                       WAX THE PERFECT P...
Finishing                                                                      WaxEd Finnety, customer service manager at ...
Finishing                                                                      WaxHere are the most frequently asked quest...
Finishing                                                                        Wax                        How And When t...
Finishing                                                                      WaxHowever, when applied properly and for t...
Finishing                                                                        Waxtime you need to wait before wiping of...
Finishing                                                                        Wax                                     W...
Finishing                                                                         Wax                           Wood Finis...
Finishing                                                                         Wax4. Wipe with a clean cloth.5. Repeat ...
Finishing                                                                        Wax                                  OIL ...
Finishing                                                                        Waxthe people using it in a furniture sto...
Finishing                                                                        Waxthe people using it in a furniture sto...
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  1. 1. Finishing Wax WAX THE PERFECT PROTECTION for FURNITURE?From a refinishing pro, a preservation expert, and Furniture manufacturers, theanswer seems to be "yes.""Wax is the wear and tear, abrasion layer of fine wood furniture," says RonAshby,a professional woodworker, refinisher, lecturer, and owner of Liberon Supplies inMendocino, California. "superficial scratches, dings, and dents should happen tothe wax layer-not the finish you slaved over."DONT DABBLE IN DUSTDespite the multitude of furniture care products that promise to "feed" or "polish"your fine furniture, Ashby believes high-quality furniture wax is the best choice."All the other care products available attract dust with the residue they leavebehind," he says. At Virginias Colonial Williamsburg, Wallace Gusler, director ofconservation, oversees the preservation of authentic colonial furniture. "Ourprimary concern with pieces that have an intact, original finish is conservation,"he says. "For that, we use wax. And, Gusler believes, all wood furniture, not justhistoric pieces, deserves wax protection. "Everyone collects furniture to someextent, he notes, "But their collection happens to be their household furniture."What about lemon oil, another popular wood-care product? Gusler says, "Thevalue of oil to wood is folklore. Of course, oil gives a wood finish a superficialshine, but it isnt beneficial. In fact," he elaborates, "Commercial lemon oil hasnothing to do with lemons. Its essentially kerosene, and can be harmful to afinish."Then, there are aerosol spray cleaners and polishes that contain silicone. Theymay not harm the present finish, say Ashby and Gusler, but they will causeproblems down the road if you contemplate refinishing. "Products with siliconesare cheap, quick, and easy, but they dont protect," comments Ashby. "Besides,silicones make refinishing difficult because, even after stripping, a new finishwont adhere."TOO MUCH WAX?What about the infamous "Wax buildup" that advertising people say theirproducts avoid? Roy Frizell, Supervisor of Quality Control, Ethan Allen, Inc.,Danbury, Connecticut, recommends wax only in small doses. "We tell customersto dust with a damp cloth, then maybe every six months use wax. 0therwise," hecomments, "Theyll put wax on every time they dust." Wisdom Management Services (M) Sdn. Bhd. 1
  2. 2. Finishing WaxEd Finnety, customer service manager at Harden Furniture, McConnellsville,New York, acknowledges that most people over-polish. "theyre zealous," hesays.Ashby finds amusement in some companies product claims denying waxbuildup. "if you avoid wax buildup, you dont have any protection for yourfurniture," he muses. "it does build up, but it builds up clear."According to Colonial Williamsburgs Gusler, wax should never create a buildupproblem when used in moderation. Thats because all the wax you put on doesntremain there. "It gets huffed, worn off, and even oxidizes," he says.Old wax can be removed with special products developed just for the purpose,according to Ashby. "but, if the furniture is heavily soiled, too, you should use awood cleaning and wax-removing product, such as Liberon Wood Cleaner andWax Remover."POLISH-ON PROTECTIONYou can apply wax over any finish-penetrating oils, varnish, lacquer, orpolyurethane Ashby advises. But, only buy a high-quality, cabinetmakers wax,one designed specifically for wood furniture, at woodworking stores or throughmail order catalogs. Some notable brands include: Liberons Black Bison,Goddards, Butchers Wax, Antiquax, and Renaissance Wax.Products such as these are traditionally formulated from a number of waxes-carnauba, beeswax, synthetics, and vegetable. Expect to pay from $12 to $15 fora one-pound tin of good quality cabinetmakers paste wax. And, notes Ashby,dont confuse floor wax with furniture wax. Floor wax wont hold up on furniturebecause its actually softer. He notes, too, that furniture wax comes as paste orliquid. "Generally," says Ashby, "Less solid forms apply easier but have lesswax."Liquid wax does have a place in the home, though. advises Ashby, "for highlycarved wood surfaces and the legs and stretchers of chairs, you can use liquid.Also, it works as the initial wax coat on cabinets, much like a sealer."Applying paste wax isnt complicated, and the method doesnt differ for newlyfinished furniture or older furniture. All furniture to be waxed, though, must beclean and free of oil and grease."You can make only two mistakes applying wax," Ashby notes. "You can put toomuch on, and you can try to buff it out too soon." Too thick of a coat wont dryevenly, resulting in a spotty sheen. And, if you buff wax before it has dried, youjust redistribute the Wisdom Management Services (M) Sdn. Bhd. 2
  3. 3. Finishing WaxHere are the most frequently asked questions and answers regarding theapplication of wax:* Do you have to apply wax with steel wool? Ashby recommends an oil-free,wood finishers 0000 steel wool (see where to buy at end of article) to avoidstreaks and blurs. A cloth will do, although it takes more effort.* Does it matter how you spread the wax? "No," says Ashby, "But, on largesurfaces, such as a table-top, I use a circular motion, then even it out with thegrain."* How can you tell if you have applied the right amount of wax? "If you see ridgesacross the surface, theres too much," he says.* Will one coat do? " On a new piece or one not previously waxed, put downthree light, successive coats at four- to eight-hour intervals."* What do you need for buffing? Buff the dry wax with terry cloth, a cotton diaper,or an old T-shirt. "The higher the gloss you want, the softer the material forbuffing you use," he says. "And, buffing with the grain or cross-grain doesntmatter."MAINTAINING FINISHESFollowing the initial three coats, Ashby suggests you reapply wax according tothe rate of "wear and tear" your furniture receives. "You might wax the arms of adining chair weekly, but the legs and stretchers only every 18 months."To maintain a wax coat on your furniture, follow Ashbys tips:* Dust weekly with a soft, dry, all-cotton cloth.* Dont use polishes or oils over your coat of protective wax.* Wipe up spills as soon as possible to prevent spotting* Use coasters under glasses and vases, and pads or trivets under hot dishes.* Reapply a coat of wax when you can no longer buff the coating to a shine."On the West Coast today, it costs between $650 and $1,000 to have a diningtabletop custom refinished. If you have just finished one yourself, thats howmuch its worth," comments the waxing expert. "Wax can preserve that expensivefinish." Wisdom Management Services (M) Sdn. Bhd. 3
  4. 4. Finishing Wax How And When to Use Paste WaxContrary to popular belief, paste wax is not a good choice for a protective finish.Even though you may still read articles or hear other woodworkers advocatingthe use of paste wax as a protective finish for raw wood, the simple fact is thatwhen it comes to protection, paste wax is very inferior compared to oil finishes ortopcoat finishes like lacquer, varnish, polyurethane etc. It is true that wax wasused for centuries as a wood finish, but that was before the advent and discoveryof oil finishes and film finishes. Wax provides no significant protective barrier forwood against heat, water, water vapor or chemical spills such as from analcoholic beverage. Wax is very soft and never dries to a hard finish. Its meltingpoint is approx. 140 degrees F, which is way too low to protect against any kindof hot object. Even a cup of hot coffee placed on a tabletop that has beenfinished with wax only will melt the wax right through to the wood. Because waxis so soft, most of the excess applied needs to be wiped off in order to achieve aclear and polished surface, therefore the film surface of a wax finish is way toothin to protect wood against water or moisture (water vapor). Even mildersolvents like mineral spirits (paint thinner) and turpentine will dissolve wax almostimmediately, therefore it has no resistance to chemical spills.Wax can be an effective barrier against water vapor when applied in a thickcoating to the end grain of boards or freshly cut wood. Because it is applied insuch a thick coating, it prevents the moisture from escaping too quickly, thus thefreshly cut boards or wood will not check.About the only protection wax affords is against abrasion, and even that is notsignificant. Its not the actual film of wax that protects wood against abrasion,because the film is too thin for that. Wax makes the surface slippery, thus objectsslide across a waxed surface, rather than digging in and scraping. You mustremember that wood needs more than just abrasion protection. A piece offurniture that has only wax to protect it will soon become dirty and will have nowater, water vapor or chemical protection. A wax finish will soon become filledwith dust and dirt that will stick to it and create a dull, dark ugly mess. The onlyway to fix this is to remove all the wax, clean the wood and sand the surface toprepare it for another finish, hopefully not just wax by Wisdom Management Services (M) Sdn. Bhd. 4
  5. 5. Finishing WaxHowever, when applied properly and for the right reason, paste wax can be veryeffective and add beauty and color back to an old piece of furniture. A wax finishcan be very effective on a carved or turned object that receives very littlehandling, especially when you want a low sheen and dont want to change thenatural color of the wood too much.Paste wax is best used as a polish over an existing finish such as lacquer,varnish, shellac, polyurethane or even oil finishes. As mentioned, it will give youa little extra protection against scratches, but most modern finishes likepolyurethane and newer lacquers and varnishes are very hard to begin with andusually the finish alone is abrasion resistant enough. Thus, using paste wax tomaintain and regularly care for your furniture is by far the best reason to usepaste wax today. A paste wax will add shine to a surface by filling in smallscratches or voids in a finish. The finish will appear shiner and deeper becausethe light that was getting trapped in those scratches and voids before the waxwas applied, is now reflecting off the surface. On darker pieces of furniture itsbest to use a dark colored paste wax. This will not only polish the piece but alsohide some minor scuffs and scratches.Many people believe that pure beeswax is the best choice for use among pastewaxes. This is not true. True, in the past beeswax was often used, but that wasbecause it was the only wax available. Today, paste wax manufactures blendnatural waxes like beeswax and harder carbuna wax with synthetic waxes. Thewaxes are selected for cost, color, slip resistance and hardness. This blend ofwaxes makes a paste wax that is harder and in many other ways superior to purebeeswax, which is also very expensive in pure form. Waxes like carnuba aremuch harder than bees wax, but are too hard to be used alone without blendingwith other softer waxes.All waxes are originally solid. They are made into a paste by being dissolved intoa solvent. Years ago, turpentine was used as the solvent, but today petroleumdistillate solvents such as mineral spirits,and toluene are generally used todissolve the waxes.Most commercially made paste waxes are very similar in their quality and thesheen they produce. In fact, you can take the ten top brand waxes, apply themside by side to a finished surface and not see any significant difference in glossor sheen. About the most significant difference in these waxes is in the amount Wisdom Management Services (M) Sdn. Bhd. 5
  6. 6. Finishing Waxtime you need to wait before wiping off the excess and buffing out the wax.Certain waxes like Briwax use a quicker evaporating solvent like toluene.Because these solvents evaporate quicker, the wax turns back to solid quicker,(becoming hazy) and once the wax hazes over, its time to wipe off the excessand buff it out. Other waxes with slower evaporating solvents like mineral spiritswill take longer to turn back to solid and haze over.Applying Paste WaxMany manufactures of furniture polishes and furniture care products always talkabout wax build up. Some have even produced special products that eliminatewax build up. This is ridiculous because there is no such thing as wax build up.When you apply wax, you must remove approx. 99 percent of it when you buff itout. If not, you will never attain a shine. You must only leave a very thin layer onthe surface. Therefore, there can be no such thing as wax build up.Make sure that the surface of your finish is clean and free of any dirt. If not, cleanit with a mild soap like Murphys Oil Soap and water. Take a piece of lint free softcotton cloth and put a lump of paste wax in the center of the cloth. This will limitthe amount of wax you apply to the surface and you need not have to continue todip into the can. Twist the cloth into a ball and kneed it in your hand to soften thewax a little. Apply the cloth over the surface of the finish letting the wax seepthrough the cloth onto the surface. You can apply the wax in any direction, usingany motion, straight, circular, with grain, against grain etc. When the wax is firstapplied, it glossy because of the amount of solvent in it. as the solventevaporates, it will start to turn back to solid and the surface will become hazy. Ifyou wait too long the wax will be difficult to remove. If this happens, dont worry,just take some fresh wax apply it over the hardened wax and wipe itoff right away. The solvent in the fresh wax will re soften the hard wax again andyou can remove it. If you dont wait long enough, you will still be removing all thewax and you will have no sheen at all. Work on small areas at a time until you getused to how long you need to wait until the wax has hazed and the excess needsto be removed. Wipe off the excess with a clean piece of lint free soft cottoncloth. Buff the surface with the cloth until you achieve a even sheen.WARNINGDO NOT USE SOLVENT BASED WAXES ON WATER BASED FINISHES ORON ANY FINISH THAT HAS NOT CURED FULLY. THE SOLVENT IN THE WAXMAY HARM THE FINISH.There are a number of methods used to apply paste wax, the method I justdescribed is the most basic, but not the only. If you would like additional info onapplying paste wax, please feel free to e-mail Wisdom Management Services (M) Sdn. Bhd. 6
  7. 7. Finishing Wax WaxingOne of the nicest finishes for your projects is beeswax. This finish is ideal for anyindoor project and has the great advantage of allowing the wood to nicely darkenwith age.Waxing should not be used for any project that requires a degree of waterresistance, such as for kitchen or bathroom related projects. Instead, varnishingshould be used here.Beeswax is available at almost any hardware store and is simple to apply.However, it is often a good idea to seal the wood prior to waxing, especially onsofter woods such as pine.To seal the wood correctly you should use a pre-wax sealant. Again, this shouldbe sold in most hardware stores. Once you have rubbed a coating of sealer ontothe wood, allow it to dry for 30 minutes. Then, use wire wool to lightly work overthe entire surface to roughen it slightly.Once this is done, you may add the wax. Apply the wax to the wood using a lint-free cloth, and leave to dry for at least 15 minutes. Then buff the wood, using aclean cloth, until a suitable shine is achieved. It is recommended that at least twoapplications of wax are used, even though many waxes claim that only one isrequired. The result will be a far better finish that will last far longer.Note: Waxed surfaces will need to be re-waxed every now and then (typicallyonce every six months), in order to maintain the true Wisdom Management Services (M) Sdn. Bhd. 7
  8. 8. Finishing Wax Wood Finish Supply Wood Cleaner & Wax Remover (NEW V99 Low Odor Formula)Wood Cleaner & Wax Remover dissolves and cleans old layers of dirt, grime,grease, smoke, old wax & polish buildup, fingermarks and other impurities. WoodCleaner contains No water and will not raise the grain, harm veneers or removethe natural patina of the wood. You Will Be Surprised At The Number Of PiecesThat Dont Need Stripping.Wood Cleaner & Wax Remover will gently clean and prepare old & antiquefurniture and other wood surfaces for refinishing or polishing. If the finish is intacttry WFS Wood Cleaner first to clean all furniture and wood surfaces. WoodCleaner will not remove the original lacquer, varnish, shellac, or French polishfinish.INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE o Cautions: Use & Dry In Well Ventilated Area. Keep Out Of Eyes. Gloves And Eye Protection Suggested. o It Is important to TEST the surface to be cleaned !! o Use an area in an inconspicuous place to test and make sure the cleaner will not remove your finish. Proceed With Caution until you get a feel for the cleaning process & the proper amount of cleaner to use. Make sure the finish you are cleaning is a legitimate Finish. If The Finish to be cleaned does not have a proper bond with the wood below, The Cleaner Might Remove The Finish. Also Finishes that are completely oil or wax will certainly be removed, after all this is a Cleaner & Wax Remover !!!1. Apply generously to the surface being cleaned using LIBERON #00, and onfiner surfaces, #0000 Steel Wool.Use steel wool with Care (or use a cloth) on delicate surfaces such asinlays & veneers. (ON VERY FINE AND GLOSSY FINISHES USE LIBERON #0000/000 STEEL WOOL FOR CLEANING, and ON EXTREMELY DIRTY SURFACES, FLOORS, OODWORK and on COUNTRY or ROUGHER FURNITURE STYLES USE LIBERON #0 STEEL WOOL FOR CLEANING.)2. Allow to stand for a few minutes.3. Rub gently with the grain using LIBERON #00 Steel Wool to dislodge the Wisdom Management Services (M) Sdn. Bhd. 8
  9. 9. Finishing Wax4. Wipe with a clean cloth.5. Repeat until the surface wipes clean.6. ALLOW THE CLEANED OBJECT TO DRY overnight or 24 hours and longeron soft or porous woods or surfaces that were soaked with the Wax Remover incleaning. Any trapped solvents that donÕt not show on the surface after a shortdrying time will have a harmful effect on the proper drying of any subsequentsurface treatment, even oils or waxes,- Let The Surface Dry ! - a rushed job willalways show it.After the Wood Cleaner treatment, make any necessary repairs and protect thesurface with 3 light coats of BLACK BISON WAX & buff to a warm glowing shine.OTHER USES Clean & prepare finish for repairs or respraying. Neutralize wood after stripping or bleaching operationsto provide a proper surface for stain or applying a finish. Clean surfaces prior to using LIBERON Burnish Cream. Clean and condition brushes after varnishing, painting, waxing, or stripping. As a solvent for Black Bison Wax & for LIBERON wax filler stickswhen used as a grain filler.DANGER! HARMFUL OR FATAL IF SWALLOWEDVAPOR HARMFUL, COMBUSTIBLEContains Petroleum distillates, Xylene and Methyl Alcohol.Use only in a well ventilated area. Keep away from heat or flame.Avoid contact with eyes or prolonged contact with skin.If swallowed, Do NOT induce vomiting. Call a physician immediately.KEEP OUT OF THE REACH OF Wisdom Management Services (M) Sdn. Bhd. 9
  10. 10. Finishing Wax OIL FINISHOil finishes are growing in popularity as people ask for furniture that looks andfeels like wood. When we mention oil finishes many people think of the old oilfinishes, involving the application of boiled linseed oil. That’s one type, to besure, and we’ll cover that, too, but what todays home owner is more interested inis a good looking clear finish that lets the grain of the wood actually be felt. Thefinish resulting from either Danish or Tung oil is just that. In addition, it’s almostfool proof in application, and it’s durable. Tung oil finishes (of which Danish oil isone) form a polymerized barrier against spills when they dry, and they dry fairlyquickly. A small piece, such as a coffee or end table can easily be done in oneday. Application for all the Tung oils is similar; wipe it on, let it stand for 15minutes or so (check the label of the product you use) and then wipe it off. In 1 -2 hours (after it dries) you’re ready for a rub down with steel wool, and thenanother application. You can repeat this process as many times as you want.Typically three or four coats gets the job done.Aside from ease of application an durability, modern oil finishes are easy tomaintain. Any finished wood surface that is used will show wear after a time,including oil finishes. The fix is to simply apply another coat (after you‘ve cleanedthe piece, of course) exactly as you did the first time...instant rejuvenation!A possible down side of oil finishes is they don’t produce a dead smooth surface.You can feel the grain even after 4 or more applications. Many people use oilfinishes exactly for that reason, they want to feel the grain. It is possible to get asmooth surface, but it requires a lot more time and patience than most peopleare willing to expend. Tung oil finishes laid on that thick also tend to look"plastic". If you’re looking for a smooth finish, varnish, lacquer, and polyurethaneare all better choices.The old style oil finish was simply boiled linseed oil rubbed onto the furniture. No,you don’t have to boil it, it comes that way. If this is the look you want, you canfollow this formula for application, which is not a joke, by the way. Apply once aday for a week, once a week for a month, once a month for a year, and once ayear for the rest of your life! Following this method (which can’t be rushed) ittakes about 6 months to get a piece looking good. The original oil finish was usedas much for a wood preservative as it was for enhancing the looks of the piece.Proper application usually involved all the wooden parts of the furniture, not justthose parts that showed.As a side note, you should be aware that boiled linseed oil lends itself readily tospontaneous combustion. A rag used to apply boiled linseed oil and thencarelessly thrown into a trash can, can easily result in a fire. This is not hearsay -I’ve seen it happen. When I was working out West I made up a furniturecleaner/polish that contained boiled linseed oil. I knew of the hazards, and Wisdom Management Services (M) Sdn. Bhd. 10
  11. 11. Finishing Waxthe people using it in a furniture store to dispose of the rags in a fire proof trashcan. They didn’t, and about 45 minutes after a clerk had thrown the rag into aregular trash can with paper and other debris, it caught on fire. Luckily, nodamage or injuries, but believe me when I say boiled linseed oil is a fire hazard.In my own shop I make almost all my own stains, using boiled linseed oil as aningredient. I am always very careful how I dispose of the rags I use in staining.I’ve got insurance on the shop, but it would sure be a pain to replace everything! Wisdom Management Services (M) Sdn. Bhd. 11
  12. 12. Finishing Waxthe people using it in a furniture store to dispose of the rags in a fire proof trashcan. They didn’t, and about 45 minutes after a clerk had thrown the rag into aregular trash can with paper and other debris, it caught on fire. Luckily, nodamage or injuries, but believe me when I say boiled linseed oil is a fire hazard.In my own shop I make almost all my own stains, using boiled linseed oil as aningredient. I am always very careful how I dispose of the rags I use in staining.I’ve got insurance on the shop, but it would sure be a pain to replace everything! Wisdom Management Services (M) Sdn. Bhd. 11