How to Wax Wood

Why do we wax wood? 

Beeswax polish has been used for centuries to protect the finish of wooden furniture and instruments. It acts as a sacrificial layer that can be easily and inexpensively replaced.

By way of example I am going to demonstrate how our professional furniture restorers would polish a pine kitchen table. 

You Will Need: 

Gilboys 'rose gold' Beeswax Polishing Kit

I've selected 'rose gold' because it has a slight warmth to it, a mahogany colour that will match well with the old pine wood on this table top.

Inspect & Repair

Before you begin it's always useful to check the surface for any holes, dings or dents. Use the beeswax filler block to rub some wax into the hole, ding or dent so that it completely fills it. Scrape off the excess wax using an old debit or credit card. Use a buffing cloth to further remove any excess wax from around the repair.

For more detail on using beeswax filler blocks, watch our instructional video 'How to Repair Scratches on Wooden Furniture and Laminate Flooring'

Apply Beeswax Polish

Don't be afraid of wire wool. '0000' grade wire wool is so soft, it's almost like cotton wool. It's great for applying the wax nice and evenly and also it picks up all the dirt and residue.

  1. Tease the wire wool into a little ball and turn it into a 'pad'
  2. 'Charge' the wire wool with some wax polish
  3. Dab the wax evenly over the table top approximately 3 or 4 inches apart
  4. Use the wire wool to spread the wax out over the table top with a little gentle pressure, running with the grain straight across from one side to the other until it is evenly distributed across the whole table top
  5. Depending on the ambient temperature, leave the wax to dry for a couple of hours or preferably overnight.

Buff To Shine

  1. Check the wax has dried completely. The surface should appear dull
  2. Fold the cotton buffing cloth in your hand to create a smooth surface to buff with
  3. Buff the table top to a shine using a side to side motion with light pressure
  4. Repeat step 3 until you achieve the depth of shine you require

In the video segment below Simon demonstrates how to finish a restoration with Gilboys Rose Gold beeswax polish

What makes Gilboys polishes so special?

At Gilboys we have refined the traditional beeswax polish recipe using research we have carried out regarding the beneficial properties of other natural ingredients. We have added the highest quality 'T1' grade carnauba wax produced by the copernicia cerifera tree to protect its leaves from water, pathogens and UV radiation. As the hardest of all natural waxes with the highest melting point it helps  to provide a deep deep shine with a strong, highly water-resistant and longer-wearing protective finish.

In July 2017 after much research and development, we improved the UV protection further by incorporating myrica wax into our special blend of natural waxes. Wax Laurel (morella pubescens) is a small shrub-like tree that grows at high altitudes (above 1,800m/6,000ft) in the Andes. It has been used by rural communities settled in the southern region of Colombia for centuries. It is a fast growing, resistant and adaptable tree that colonises areas with poor and eroded soils. This makes it an ideal species for environmental restoration in places that have been degraded. It produces a wax that covers its berries to protect them against the moisture loss and extreme environmental stresses that life at such altitudes demands. What we were interested in was how the wax protects the berry from the increased UV exposures at high altitude and how this property could provide your furniture with improved protection from sun-bleaching. [read more about myrica wax]

To make Gilboys Gold easy to apply we soften our blend of waxes with pure pine turpentine. Once you have applied the wax polish, the turpentine evaporates leaving a strong protective layer of our blend of waxes ready for you to buff to a deep shine. Pure turpentine is made from nothing but the sap of pine trees. Unlike petrochemical alternatives, pure turpentine has a wonderful pine aroma, so we have no need to add synthetic chemical scents.

About the Author

Simon Gilboy, furniture restorer
Simon Gilboy, MD Gilboys

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.

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