Mineral Oil and Beeswax finish

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Blog entry by maugust posted 02-06-2011 11:14 PM 39215 reads 13 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is my version of a mineral oil and beeswax “finish”.

I have experimented with different ratio’s of the two ingredients.

I have tried (measure in ounces by volume)

1 oz mineral oil : 1 oz beeswax
3 oz mineral oil : 2 oz beeswax
5 oz mineral oil : 1 oz beeswax

I found that I like 3:2 ratio the best.

I buy the beeswax in cake form. Shave it with a grater. Place the shavings in a bowl and then into a double boiler. The beeswax will melt VERY fast. Add the mineral oil and stir for a bit. The mixutre has to remain warm in order to keep it from solidifying. It will feel like a soft candle as it cools.

In order to apply the finish it should be warm, I have used a cotton cloth, a small brush, and/or my bare hands. If you use your hands, your skin will be very smooth when you are done!

I used a scrap piece of poplar to see how the mixture looked. I wrote in pencil the ratio and then applied it to see how it compared to the other ratios.

When I am done using this finish, I placed the liquid into a stainless steel dish with a plastic lid and let it harden. In hardened form, I have used it to lubricate the threads on screws before I drive them into a piece of wood.

A heat gun, double boiler or a hot plate will return the mixture to liquid form.

So far, I have used this mixture on the interior of a breadbox and on a bed for my daughter.

Below are some pictures of the process that I used.

15 comments so far

View Bill Davis's profile

Bill Davis

226 posts in 3923 days

#1 posted 02-07-2011 12:30 AM

Any thoughts on what are the positive advantages if this concoction as a wood finish. In other words what makes it worth going through all that. I’m interested in finishes but have never heard of this one.

View maugust's profile


20 posts in 3948 days

#2 posted 02-07-2011 03:22 AM

The main advantage, in my opinion, is it is food safe and child safe.

View kalapolo's profile


63 posts in 2688 days

#3 posted 02-07-2011 05:35 AM

Just wondering where you got your beeswax? I’ve seen it online, but found a block recently at our local Hobby Lobby and picked it up. Just curious if there were any distinguishable qualities based on where the beeswax is purchased…

View Bill Davis's profile

Bill Davis

226 posts in 3923 days

#4 posted 02-07-2011 05:53 AM

‘The safety of finishes for food or mouth contact is a non-issue, kept alive by certain woodworking magazines and implied by some manufacturers who label their wiping varnishes “Salad-Bowl Finish.” In fact, all clear finishes are safe for contact with food or someone’s mouth once the finish is fully cured.’

Understanding Wood Finishing p186, Bob Flexner

View grittyroots's profile


53 posts in 2689 days

#5 posted 02-07-2011 07:08 AM

i have bought bees wax at our local food coop or natural food stores

-- Gritty Roots i can build anything as long as i have 2 things the internet and my father-in-law

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 3884 days

#6 posted 02-07-2011 06:38 PM

FWIW – I’ve made a similar concoction and not having a double boiler I used a microwave, it worked great. CAUTION when heating use short (a few seconds) bursts of microwave time.

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View IkeandBerry's profile


45 posts in 3263 days

#7 posted 02-07-2011 08:34 PM

I made up the exact same mixture for finishing the end grain cutting boards I made at Christmas. I agree that is is food safe and smells awesome when applied and even after. I get my raw beeswax from a local bee farmer who sells it in 5lb chunks for $12. I also use straight beeswax for finishing turning projects like mallets and such. I simply hold a chunk to the spinning piece and then use a piece of burlap to burnish it. I know that may finishes say they are food safe when fully cured but when they chip and or flake those flakes are not food safe especially if they are petroleum based. That is way I either use shellac of beeswax and mineral oil on any project I have that will have substantial risk of chipping of the finish like cutting boards. Plus I do not like the smell of the solvents in most premixed finishes.

-- There is nothing like the sound of a hand plane passing across a board in an otherwise quiet shop.

View maugust's profile


20 posts in 3948 days

#8 posted 02-08-2011 01:59 AM


Yes I have read several articles about that same topic. It does not take that much time to make this finish, it is at a fraction of the cost of commercial products and I do not need a well ventilated area to use it.

View Bill Davis's profile

Bill Davis

226 posts in 3923 days

#9 posted 02-08-2011 02:11 AM

I brought it up because you said “The main advantage, in my opinion, is it is food safe and child safe” which, though that may be true, promotes the idea that most others are not safe.

I do like experimenting with finishes as well so found your introduction of this new one to me good and perhaps one to try.

View Maximillian's profile


84 posts in 3280 days

#10 posted 02-18-2011 09:05 PM

Hi from the other side of the world. Just so I understand, what is “mineral oil”; is it linseed oil?
I have used a mix of 1/3rd beeswax, 1/3 turpentine, 1/3rd linseed oil on my hardwood workbench. It remained tacky for a very long time and there was a buildup of wax, which I ended up scraping off. I think next time I will use less wax in the brew and more turpentine to aid penetration.
Do you guys have any views on the merits of using turpentine? Is it food safe?

-- Max, New Zealand

View Bill Davis's profile

Bill Davis

226 posts in 3923 days

#11 posted 02-19-2011 07:11 AM

Mineral oil is not the same as linseed oil.

Mineral oil is a product of petroleum. It is called a petroleum distillate resulting when the petroleum is heated until gasses form. At lower temperatures the products of this process are naptha, mineral spirits, kerosene, benzene, tolulene and xylene and they form the basis of solvents and thinners. At higher temperatures distillation yields mineral oil and at even higher temperatures paraffin wax. Mineral oil does not evaporate it is oil.

Linseed oil is extracted from seeds of the flax plant. In its raw state it takes weeks to dry and is therefore a pretty inefficient finish. Metallic driers are added to the raw oil which act as catalysts to speed the finishes speed of curing. With dryers added it is called boiled linseed oil and cures in about a day. Linseed is also rated as one of the least protective because it is soft and thin. Water and water vapor penetrate it quite easily.

View Aaron McCain's profile

Aaron McCain

125 posts in 2838 days

#12 posted 12-14-2012 05:00 PM

I have wanted to try something with beeswax for a bit now and picked some up at the local market. Last night I made the 3:2 ratio and really like the feel of the finished piece. (It was a whistle made out of a dowel) Now that it is cool and solid I just have a follow up question. When you reheat it do you just make it soft or do you turn it completely liquid again?

Thanks for sharing.

View archie2401's profile


1 post in 1279 days

#13 posted 04-04-2015 03:39 AM

Curious when applying the beeswax and mineral oil finish like say to a new bread board how many coats do you recommend. And do you just wipe off. Does it give a nice gloss finish.

-- archie

View Pabs's profile


236 posts in 3453 days

#14 posted 11-24-2016 07:47 PM

I’ve been reading lots on this type of finish and was curious about one thing. does it need to be warmed before applying or can you still rub it on once it’s hardened? and is there an advantage to applying when in liquid form versus the harder wax like form?

also curious about your ratio…many of the sites I’ve found use a 4 to 1 ratio much less wax than your mixes… by adding more wax it makes for a harder finish?

and thanks for the detailed instructions!

-- Pabs

View Ikyoto's profile


4 posts in 128 days

#15 posted 01-17-2018 08:09 PM

I’ve read documents that date back hundreds of years and this is the first time I’ve seen this food safe finish recipe laid out so well. I can now send people this link to make their own finish for wooden carvings and gifts I’ve sent. Cool liquid mugs, bowls,spoons, model ships… I’ve used it on so many things. The ration and photos are perfect for my woodless (as I call the non-carvers/carpenters) friends.

This also makes a great finish fr canvas/denim/leather. I’ve used it on my old leather hat to hold off rain, a canvas coat and a denim blanket made of scraps to keep off damp while camping.

-- Limits only apply if we let them.

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