If you are learning all of your woodworking from reading magazines or the internet (I'll admit I am), then you will undoubtedly hear that wax is not very strong as a finish and tends to let the wood get dinged up.
Newsflash! If you abuse your furniture, it will get dinged up.
Plain old furniture wax is a fine finish, and has been used for hundreds of years. Indeed our dining table, which we bought new, is finished only with wax. We take good care of our furniture and this table has looked great for years.
There are some very good reasons why, in my opinion wax is one of my favorite finishes. In no particular order, here they are:
- Easy to apply.
- Looks (and feels) fabulous.
- Easy to maintain.
- Easy to repair.
- It is cheap and plentiful.
- Can be used on top of practically any other finish.
- It won't kill you.
- Ease of application
You'll also need a clean(ish) cloth. Here I am using part of an old sheet.
|Everything I use for applying wax.|
|I rarely use more than this. When it runs out, get some more. Using a bigger scoop of wax only tends to make things messy.|
|A ball of wax wrapped in cloth.|
|Apply away. Don't worry about being too perfect with everything, it will get buffed out later.|
|Ancient Chinese Secret. I mean, French!|
|Freshly applied. Wait about 10 more minutes.|
|Buffing Dick wax.|
|Done. I find I can't keep my hands off of it!|
I love this finish because it imparts a finish on the wood that people seem to want to touch all the time. That's what it's all about.
3. Easy to maintain.
My waxed furniture tends to get a bit dingy after a while. So, once a year or so, I'll repeat the process. The new wax will dissolve the old, so it doesn't really build up. If it gets scratches on it, new wax will wipe them away.
4. Easy to repair.
If the scratches go deeper than the finish, such as when the aforementioned abuse, the area can be fixed using any method you choose. Wax can then be applied over the repair, and it will blend in with the rest. The entire piece does not need to be stripped and refinished.
5. It's cheap and plentiful.
You can get a fairly decent furniture paste wax at any big box store. For years I used wax from the local borg, until Dictum opened a store nearby. Who could resist Dick wax? It turns out it is really nice stuff. One can of paste wax lasts a long, long time.
6. It can be used on top of nearly any finish.
Even if you use another finish, I would recommend topping it off in this manner. I did it to a bed that I painted with gray lacquer. The wax gave it a little bit of a shine that it was missing, and feels much better when you touch it.
7. It won't kill you.
I like to apply it in my shop, which is basically a 100 square foot closet. There are no toxic fumes, and once I wipe it down I can bring it upstairs to our living space to cure. Can't do that with very many other finishes.
I'm sure there are other benefits to wax, but these are the main ones that vault wax to my list of top three easy finishes.
If you enjoyed this post, check out the rest of this series. Next up on my list: boiled linseed oil.