Although it is not as popular as shellac and polyurethane finishes, beeswax is a fantastic addition to your woodwork’s repertoire. It adds a protective coat to the surface and shines just at the right time. However, the product has drawbacks to consider before use. So, examine various disadvantages of beeswax finish for a wise decision.
Beeswax is susceptible to heat damage and needs more maintenance. In addition, it is not as durable as polyurethane finishes, yellows over time, and stains surfaces.
Knowing the right formula for your project is a vital woodworking skill. Also, you need to understand the advantages and disadvantages of various finishes and their compatibility with the surface for better decision-making. So, read this guide to address any concerns about beeswax finish.
What Is Beeswax Finish?
from bees and delivers a natural finish, bringing out the lumber’s true beauty. In addition, it protects any wood surface but offers a better outcome with mahogany, pine, oak, walnut, teak, yew, and beach.
These wood types feature high absorbent quality and allow the finish to soak into more wood layers. However, it doesn’t mean that you can’t use beeswax for other lumber categories. You can use it for almost any wooden surface and expect a natural-looking finish.
Beeswax has been around since man discovered beehives. Besides, it is a natural element, giving it a distinct advantage over other artificial products like lacquer and varnish. Therefore, you can depend on it for sensitive kitchen applications.
Primary wood polish or finish is usually a beeswax and oil combination. Mix beeswax with tung oil, jojoba oil, walnut oil, coconut oil, olive oil, or hemp seed oil to create an effective formula.
Bake this mixture in the oven or sun until it becomes solid and malleable. Then, ensure that it becomes buttery and is easily spreadable onto wood furniture surfaces. This way, you are sure of a durable protective coat.
Beeswax Wood Finish Pros and Cons
Beeswax is an exceptional finish for wood as it dries quickly and protects surfaces from dirt, water, or food stains. Further, it gives off a lovely shine professional home decorators dream of, but it is prudent to thoroughly assess the product’s pros and cons for a more informed decision.
Pros of Beeswax Finish
- Natural-Looking Shine
Wood does not naturally shine, and thus you need a coating to deliver a polished surface. Also, some protective coatings make the wood less appealing as they cannot retain the lumber’s natural look.
Fortunately, beeswax saves the situation as it delivers superior protection while allowing the wood’s natural look to shine through. The product also serves as a durable standalone coating.
In addition, you can use the polish as a primary coat and then add another layer for superior protection. Both strategies will look elegant and give your project much-needed protection.
- Adds a Protective Layer
Furniture is pretty expensive when you want to create a particular theme or aesthetics. Thus, it is vital always to add a protective coating to keep dirt and moisture away.
Besides, the exercise makes the wood more durable, and you can use it for longer.
Beeswax gives your furniture some water and scratch resistance. Furthermore, although it does not make the surface 100 percent resistant to these elements, you will still boast some protection.
The polish is also a better alternative than using bare wood with high absorbent qualities.
Please note that beeswax only makes the wood slightly more resistant to scratch and moisture. Otherwise, you will ruin the surface by submerging it underwater or scratching it with sharp items.
The finish gives you more time to handle spillage or prevent accidental scratches from permanently damaging the lumber.
Beeswax is a more environmental-friendly product as it is a natural compound from bees. Besides, the finish does not give the pungent smell that varnish and other coatings provide, making it suitable for multiple indoor projects.
Although we do not eat lumber for breakfast, it is still worth noting that this polish is safe to ingest. So, consider it for chopping boards, wooden bowls, and other lumber items in the kitchen.
- Easy to Use
Beeswax is easier to apply than most protective coatings as you only need a cloth for a professional finish. Also, wiping the surface meticulously with the rag is enough for a durable layer.
You do not need to possess artistry skills to balance out the brush strokes, a common issue for varnish formulas.
Cons of Beeswax Finish
Beeswax may be a perfect option for coating your wood, but it is far from being the ideal product. Here are some cons to deal with when you get the product for your furniture.
- Frequent Reapplication
There’s no doubt that a beeswax finish makes the wood look more attractive. But over time, it loses its shine, needing frequent reapplication to maintain its elegance and protective quality.
A rule of thumb is to reapply the polish annually to keep its natural-looking shine. However, a coatings build-up on the furniture eventually ruins the wood’s look. So, beeswax may not be a long-term solution for furniture experiencing regular use.
- Hard to Remove
Beeswax is an excellent protective finish because it penetrates different wood layers. But it is challenging to remove the finish during reapplication time. You’ll need more effort, in the long run, to keep the lumber looking fresh and shiny.
- Reapplication Build-Up
The furniture will look elegant and fresh during the first few years of using this polish. Besides, you’ll only have to do an annual reapplication to maintain the surface.
But these coats build up, making the wood look dull and drub. So, it is not a lasting solution.
Fortunately, there are some steps to help remove these coats from the wood, but it is not easy. The exercise adds more hassle to the frequent reapplication requirement, making it less ideal as a final coat.
- Not As Durable As Other Finishing Options
Lastly, beeswax is not as long-lasting as other finishes. Further, it may offer some scratch and water resistance, yet not as effective as other alternatives in the market. The polish also does not last long and is vulnerable to heat damage.
Even if you get multiple advantages from using beeswax for wooden projects, please consider its durability and the prevailing environmental conditions.
Types of Wood Finishing Waxes
Wood wax has been on the market for many years to protect the wood from moisture, dust, and scratches. Further, it is easy to use as you only need a cloth to apply it. So, it works well for intricate projects like bookcases and jewelry boxes.
However, please avoid the polish for wooden surfaces or kitchen tables experiencing regular use. It is vulnerable to constant heat and moisture exposure and will not last long.
Wood wax is available in various forms, from liquids to solids and pastes. It also comes in three main types: polish from animal origins such as beeswax, waxes from vegetables such as carnauba wax, and finishes from minerals like paraffin waxes.
Nonetheless, not all wax types are suitable for woodworking as the primary feature to consider is the product’s hardness. Also, you can still use soft waxes as they are easy to apply, but expect little protection from wear and tear.
On the other hand, hard wax is more challenging to apply, but you will get more protection and a shinier finish.
Fortunately, many waxes in stores are a mix of hard and soft waxes blended with a solvent. This way, you can get the benefits of both formulas.
In addition, they do not soak deep into the wood but remain as an exterior coating to protect the surface underneath.
The solvent in the wax will evaporate after application, leaving behind a protective wax coating. Even better, the polish is easy to remove using mineral spirits. Below is a breakdown of various waxes.
- Beeswax. This finish is the most famous as it is easy to acquire and apply. It comes from bees, making it safe for use and environmentally friendly. Also, you can use it as it is or enhance it to create multiple colors.
- Carnauba Wax. The wax comes from carnauba palm leaves and needs chemical processing to deliver the polish. Therefore, it is more costly than beeswax and needs to be combined with softer waxes for the best finish.
- Mineral Waxes. Mineral waxes like paraffin wax originate from petroleum and are synthetic products. They are non-acidic and will not break down any existing wood finishes, making them excellent for various lumber surfaces.
Paraffin waxes do not corrode metal surfaces and thus work well for cutting boards and other kitchen items. In addition, you can quickly get them from your nearest grocery store.
Micro-crystalline wax is also in this category and comes from petroleum. Furthermore, manufacturers combine it with a solvent to create a hard wax and deliver a thick protective coat.
Lately, this wax polish is water-resistant and excellent for wooden items experiencing occasional water contact. It also has a higher melting level than other wood waxes, preventing finger marks with repeated use.
It is advisable to get the best furniture wood wax for your work since we have such variety on the market. Here are a few recommendations.
Best Mineral Wood Wax: MINWAX Paste Finishing Wax
MINWAX Paste Finishing Wax delivers an elegant, polished appearance on any lumber surface. It also offers superior protection for the wood, and thanks to its clear hue, you can use it over a medium stain or paint.
The wax is an excellent seal over chalk-painted surfaces. Also, it enhances the wood’s natural look, making it a suitable product for paneling, antiques, and doors.
Minwax is easy to use as it only requires a few minutes before buffing to a lovely natural shine. In addition, you can apply the wax to larger applications without worrying about spills or a mess.
Best Carnauba Wax for Wood: HOWARD Citrus Shield Paste Wax
HOWARD Citrus Shield Paste Wax comes from Brazilian carnauba’s hard wax and provides a solid protective layer, giving the surface an enduring shine.
The protective carnauba barrier provides a durable and water-repellent coating. In addition, the wax only needs natural orange oil to clean the wood, making it a perfect final finish for wood floors, tables, and furniture.
Howard intensifies the wood’s appearance, giving it an elegant lasting shine. Also, the blended wax features no silicone or linseed oil and is easy to apply on painted, metal, marble, and concrete surfaces.
Best Beeswax for Wood: DADDY VAN’s All-Natural Unscented Beeswax
DADDY VAN’s All-Natural Unscented Beeswax protects, nourishes, and revives wooden surfaces. It is natural, non-toxic, and food-safe, suitable for kitchen cabinet surfaces.
This wax is simple to apply, and a small amount gives impressive coverage. Further, it exposes the wood’s natural beauty, and you can use it on wooden toys, baby cribs, and other surfaces with food contact.
Does Beeswax Polish Attract Dust?
Beeswax polish attracts dust, requiring frequent waxing for the surface to remain shiny and lovely. It is also easy for the finish to accumulate fine dirt and grime and thus needs regular cleaning and waxing.
Please note that most oil-based liquid polishes allow dust to settle in the room to stick to the wood. Therefore, consider working with polishing methods that reduce build-up dust.
How Long Does Beeswax Last?
Beeswax finish lasts for about three to five years, like varnishes. However, it is not durable and easily dents and scratches. In addition, the finish can decompose or spoil quickly with poor storage.
Consider storing the polish at room temperature in a dark and out-of-the-way area. Also, melt large wax blocks and wrap them in plastic to keep dust and dirt from sticking to the wax.
How to Remove Beeswax From Wood
Beeswax penetrates the wood grain, and removing the coat is not easy. Most people even try sanding the surface with sandpaper, but it does not give the desired outcome. Besides, it can cause problems during later refinishing.
Nonetheless, here are a few methods to successfully remove the wax polish from lumber; go through them carefully and choose the most suitable one for your project.
Turpentine, Boiled Linseed Oil, and Water
The ingredients in this recipe create a wash for quickly cleaning beeswax from large wood pieces. So, take a hot water gallon and add four tablespoons of boiled linseed oil and two tablespoons of turpentine.
Stir the mixture thoroughly, dip a non-abrasive sponge or cloth, and wipe the waxed finish. Then, use the ‘0000’ steel wool pad to rub the beeswax coat and remove the residues gently.
Lastly, sand the surface with a fine-grit accessory after removing the wax coat if you plan to apply a fresh stain, paint, or varnish coat
Use Hair Dryer
Softened wax is easier to wipe with a dry cloth. So, please turn on your hair dryer to medium heat and hold it over the finish. But ensure that it is no more than six inches away for a satisfactory outcome.
Also, do not hold the dryer over the lumber for more than one to two minutes. Remove the appliance as soon as the wax loosens to avoid damaging the surface or underlying finish.
Rub With Mineral Spirits
Avoid using a hairdryer when the wax is too hard or heavy. Instead, dampen a tack cloth with mineral spirits and rub the surface gently. The solvent dissolves the beeswax and breaks the wax layer.
Also, the rag turns brown quickly after accumulating the wax, and it is advisable to replace it with a fresh one. Otherwise, you’d be transferring the finish to the surface instead of cleaning it.
Dampen the cloth and repeat the above step. In addition, scrub the surface gently to avoid harming the cured lacquer, varnish, or polyurethane already on the surface.
Lately, consider using acetone, naphtha, or denatured alcohol to dissolve the wax instead of mineral spirits for sensitive wood types.
Use Dry Ice
Placing some ice over an old dry beeswax finish can help remove it from maple and oak countertops. However, while this technique works for a smaller area, it is challenging for more extensive worktops.
Carefully position some ice over the beeswax surface for eight to minutes until it becomes stiff and frozen. Then, use a plastic scraper or a blunt knife to remove the hardened wax. Also, you can use a fingernail polish remover if some wax remains on the lumber.
Wax Stripper Chemicals
Consider using wax stripper chemicals when all the above techniques fail. They are readily available and non-corrosive. Good examples are Trewax, Goof off, and EcoClean Solution.
The chemicals work excellently for large surfaces like hardwood floors and areas with heavy wax layers. But the wax removal process depends on the product variety and brand, so read through the manufacturer’s directives for a successful outcome.
In addition, the above floor and countertop wax removers are pretty strong and have an odor. Therefore, consider using proper protection, like gloves and a facemask, to keep yourself safe.
Here’s How to Remove Wax from Wood:
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the most rampant questions
What Does Beeswax Do to Wood?
While beeswax is not famous for its protective attributes, it restores the wood’s glory by filling in cracks and scratches. The polish also reverses sun damage, keeping the wood fresh and new.
Beeswax is an excellent alternative when looking for a natural product to enhance the wood’s natural look and bring out its best. In addition, it works magic on dull and scratched lumber.
Can You Use Beeswax on Varnished Wood?
Using beeswax on varnished lumber is okay to deliver a beautiful shine. However, ensure that the varnish cures properly before applications, lest you end up with a failed product.
Varnished lumber is not the only surface to use beeswax on, as it also works on paints, oils, stains, lacquer, shellac, polyurethane, and any other available wood finishes.
Why Strip Beeswax Before Refinishing My Countertop?
Many countertop and furniture manufacturers recommend regularly finishing the surface with paste wax to enhance its natural sheen and protect it from harmful elements. However, the finish collects grime, soot, and dirt over time, needing regular cleaning and maintenance.
In addition, wooden worktops in kitchens get more exposure to black stains due to accidental spillages. Depending on the wood and finish type, the beeswax finish may also turn brownish or yellowish with age.
Another reason to remove old beeswax coating from wood surfaces is when you do not like the surface’s color. Besides, you need to strip the wax layer first before adding other finishes over the wood.
Finally, remember that applying a stain, paint, or polyurethane over wood seasoning beeswax is not good. The wax coating does not take the new finish well, resulting in a tacky and uneven finish.
What’s the Difference Between Beeswax and Finishing Wax?
Finishing wax works best on dried beeswax for added protection. On the other hand, beeswax protects whatever wood you’re treating and is famous for its ease of use and naturality.
In addition, beeswax has a softening attribute, whereas finishing wax often delivers a hard coat for underlying finishes.
Why Would You Use Wax Instead Of Varnish?
Wax is easier to work with and blends well with other finishes. Furthermore, it is easy to clean as you can wipe it with a cloth and some simple white vinegar solution.
In contrast, a varnish finish is too stubborn and only works with selected surfaces. Besides, it drys into a rigid layer, requiring you to sand down the finish during refinishing. Also, this task needs a meticulous and gentle touch to avoid messing up the wood beneath the varnish.
Beeswax is a go-to natural protective coating for most woodworkers. There are multiple advantages to using the polish, such as protecting the surface and making it appear more exquisite than bare wood. However, it is also prudent to consider the product’s drawbacks before application. So,
Disadvantages Of Beeswax Finish
Unfortunately, a beeswax finish is not the best alternative for everyone. Various wood types affect its effectiveness, and it needs more maintenance than other finishing options, making it less ideal for most woodworkers.