waxing bare wood

Furniture Restoration Help & Advice

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I wax polish bare/raw unfinished wood?

Yes you can, If you are looking for a wax only finish. I do understand that a natural wax only finish has a unique look and feel to it but I must say that this is not a finish that I actively promote very much. If you set on this then this is the way I would approach a ‘wax only’ finish on new wood:

  • Sand the wood up through the sandpaper grades, From 180, 240 up to 320 grit. This will help when applying the wax. Having a fine sanded surface will prevent too much of the wax being absorbed forcing it to sit on the surface.
  • Quite a few applications may be necessary to achieve your desired look but be patient and wait a week* in between coats. *The wax now needs to dry hard on the surface, applying one coat after another in very quick succession will more than likely end up with a patchy soft finish.

With my professional hat on I would always recommend sealing the wood prior to waxing it. with Gilboys beeswax polish. You will achieve a far better durable finish that will give longer lasting protection. I’ll explain a few ways of achieving a waxed looking finish with a sealer underneath it to give better protection but still look like a waxed finish.. A very easy and fast way of doing this is by using a “sanding sealer” (This is the generic name of the product)

  • Apply one single coat with a brush or cloth and wait for it to dry. Not very long, an hour or so in warm conditions.
  • Lightly sand it smooth (320 grit sandpaper) and vacuum off the dust
  • Apply a coat of wax, or you can give it a second application of sanding sealer and then wax it.

In the french polishing world this is called a “dry shine” It was one of the first finishes I was introduced to as an apprentice. The positive of using a sanding sealer is that it is very quick to dry, The negatives are that it can be quite smelly during the application process and it doesn't have much protection when water is spilled on it. So it's fine for use on non horizontal surfaces that aren't subject to daily use. A second, and I feel a much much better way of creating a protective wax finish, is by using it in combination with a hard wax oil.

Creating a durable waxed finish with hard wax oil & Gilboys Gold beeswax polish

Hard wax oil finishes have really come on in recent years and I really like the way they produce a lovely hardwearing, easy to apply and natural looking finish. Combined with Gilboys beeswax polish, it's an almost perfect wax finish which most people can achieve with no necessary experience in wood finishing.You can see me demonstrating how you can do it in the video below… 

There are many other ways of finishing wood but the processes I talk about here should be easy enough for anyone wanting to try their first hand at creating a nice waxed finish.

About the Author: Simon Gilboy

Simon's career began in furniture restoration in 1987.  Leaving school at 16 and signing on as an apprentice French Polisher at Staverton joinery, he has accumulated over 30 years experience in the restoration of fine and antique furniture.
In 1994 Simon opened the doors on the first Gilboy’s workshop at the Riverside in Staverton with financial and mentoring help from The Prince’s Trust.
In 2015 after years of searching for a beeswax furniture polish that would befit the fine furniture Gilboys were restoring, Simon developed his own beeswax polish using only the very best of responsibly-sourced ingredients.
Simon says, "My intention was not to compete with anyone on price, but to simply make the best beeswax polish it was possible to make"

You can usually find Simon in the Gilboys workshops filming instructional how-to videos for the Gilboys YouTube channel, on help forums, or actively finding new ways to preserve the past for the future.

LinkedIn  |  Twitter  |  Facebook