what am I doing wrong with the finishing wax?

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Forum topic by Clinto posted 08-09-2011 02:58 AM 10046 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5 posts in 2719 days

08-09-2011 02:58 AM

Topic tags/keywords: wax danish oil cherry scratches buffing

I am very new to the patient art of fine finishing and have taken my project (cherry) back down to the finish several times. I’ve been experimenting with stain, poly, different grits of sandpaper, danish oil, wax etc. I am finally having some success with Watco Danish oil and Minwax Finishing Wax.The problem is that the wax gets scratched too easily,
if I barley bump the finish a mark is left that has to be buffed out. Am I just not buffing with enough force, or should I use a different type or brand of wax? Should I use a tougher finish like a poly instead? I need a fairly tough finish, and I’ve got to complete this before October so the learning curve should be fairly mild.
Thanks for your help!

7 replies so far

View SSMDad's profile


395 posts in 2833 days

#1 posted 08-09-2011 03:17 AM

I can’t speak for poly since I don’t use it (ima shellac guy) however I’ve been amazed at the results I’ve had from Renaissance Wax yep it’s expensive but you don’t need much and it hardens really well.

Alternatively, plain carnuba wax is fantastic also.

On the flipside. I’ve truthfully never used anything by minwax that I’d consider as offering good results. Some others might disagree but I don’t touch the stuff anymore.

Good luck.

-- Chris ~~Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past."

View BobTheFish's profile


361 posts in 2788 days

#2 posted 08-09-2011 03:39 AM

hmmmm… typically I do poly then wax.

It sounds like your wax isn’t drying… Which leads me to two possibilities: the Watco isn’t drying, and the oil is mixing with the wax, or you’re too impatient and not letting the wax dry before you buff it out.

Again, with what I do, it’s oil based wipe on poly for a few coats (3-5), sand to 600grit (320 and 600 at least, and 600 is a wet sand with mineral oil. You just want to add enough on the surface that it can easily move, but you’ll FEEL the suction as it sands pay attention to this. as you do it a bit, you’ll feel when you have too much oil or too little), then butcher’s wax (carnuba) on a clean cloth in only the smallest amounts at a time (you really want to just apply the thinnest of coats), give it about 15 min to half an hour, then buff the hell out of it to get the excess off.

The poly tends to be the main protection, and the wax is just there to make water really bead up and give it back a tiny bit of sheen (I do mainly satin finishes). If you want a higher gloss, then just wet sand with successively higher grits.

View blackcherry's profile


3338 posts in 4059 days

#3 posted 08-09-2011 04:39 AM

I would recommend trying a different wax, BobTheFish like Butcher’s wax , and SSMDAD recommended Renaissance wax both are good to excellent quality waxes. My personal favorites are Myland’s wax and BriWax. The Bri Wax’s has toluene dryer and should be use with good ventilation. I think you’ll should be satisfied with any of the above mention, good luck …BC

View Clinto's profile


5 posts in 2719 days

#4 posted 08-09-2011 05:26 AM

I appreciate the replies. BobtheFish, you may be on to something about not letting the oil dry long enough. I’ll try removing the wax with mineral spirits from one of my pieces and letting it dry for a few more days and then reapply. Waiting long enough for the wax to dry is not the problem because I’ve tried times ranging from 15 minutes to several hours and the results are the same. The consensus seems to suggest I try higher quality waxes, I’ll try one or more of the waxes mentioned if the drying time isn’t the problem.
I’m working on a bunch of portable stereoscopes that would be used by young kids. Would any of the waxes mentioned above not be ideal for frequent handling? Reviews for Renaissance sound good, as far as resistance to fingerprints and durability.
If anyone else has used any of the waxes listed above, please let me know which is the most durable and fool proof to apply. Thanks again the great direction thus far.

View BobTheFish's profile


361 posts in 2788 days

#5 posted 08-09-2011 05:45 AM

Butcher’s wax says on the can “Bowling Alley Wax” and for “floors, furniture, antiques, metal, leather, drawer slides, and musical instruments. It contains naptha and turpentine, but it evaporates off.

If you check out this how to with danish oil:

You’ll see it says, ”The interesting thing about Danish Oil is that it will seep out of the wood grain and back onto the surface of your wood project.”

So yeah, make sure to periodically check on it and remove all the seeping oil, and give it a few days (yes, they say days, plural. Weirds me out too. Even regular BLO is typically only an overnight thing), then hit it up with your wax.

View jerrells's profile


918 posts in 3121 days

#6 posted 08-09-2011 02:30 PM

I use the Danish Oil followed be MinWax Finishing Wax. Todate I have not had a probelm with it, as you describe. I do follow the Danish Oil instruction to the letter and some of my customers do not understand the delay. I will be interested to follow this BLOG and see different answers.

-- Just learning the craft my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ practiced.

View Clinto's profile


5 posts in 2719 days

#7 posted 08-09-2011 10:17 PM

Hey Jerrell,
How many coats of DO do you apply and how long do you let it dry? Are you using Watco?

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