Q about old paste wax plus a comparison of three brands

  • Advertise with us

« back to Finishing forum

Forum topic by Lee Barker posted 05-31-2012 06:25 PM 12731 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 3084 days

05-31-2012 06:25 PM

I had three identical musical instrument parts and all three needed a wax finish. Aha! I’ll do a comparison, since I have close to a hoard of different paste wax brands in the squat cans. All three were applied with 000 steel wool, allowed to dry per the label, and buffed by hand. Temp in the shop was about 75o F.

I chose Johnson’s, MinWax and Briwax. Results later; first the question:

The Briwax had about 1/4 remaining in it. When I pressed the steel wool down to pick some material up, the material gave—there was space under it, as if solvent had evaporated or there was an air bubble when the can was filled with product.

My question: Can the solvents evaporate from a product like this, and if so, what would the remainder look and feel like? Your experience please.

The feel of that first dip into the Briwax can came back to mind because that product was very difficult to buff. I considered, briefly, heading to NAPA to buy a two handed car buffer! The product seemed to have the correct consistency in application. I stayed with hand buffing, marking out a section and working that, turning the cloth a lot, and finally got it right. The sheen was a nice semi gloss.

The MinWax went on just as easily, perhaps a little more even, buffed out readily and left a pleasing sheen.

The Johnson’s was my favorite. Dry time was brief (“to a haze”) and the buffing yielded a bit more sheen than the others.

Another note: Both MinWax and Johnson’s mention floors on the label; Briwax does not.

The issue of dry time is worth examining. Since all these products are releasing solvents which evaporate, is it reasonable to expect that higher temps would generate quicker drying? If that is the case, the minutes suggested should perhaps be adjusted.



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

6 replies so far

View blackcherry's profile


3338 posts in 4057 days

#1 posted 05-31-2012 06:42 PM

I’ve used all three waxes you have mention and each one will leave a nice sheen when applied correctly. The Briwax which contains toluene can cause problems if the preceding finish has not cured properly, also this one tends to be more work on the buffing out process. Johnson’s wax is a very easy one to apply and give nice results, with the Minwax its probable my least favorite I’m not a fan of any of the Min products. Now my favorite wax is one called Myland wax another British wax by far the best looking finish with a long lasting hard hand rub look. Good luck …BC

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2924 days

#2 posted 06-01-2012 02:09 AM

I’ve had the solvents evaporate from old paste wax and leave it somewhat harder and ‘crumbly’. My favorite paste wax is Renissance. It’s a little pricy but it goes a LONG ways as you apply much less and it dries almost instantly and requires very little buffing. I’m still on my first small can I bought a year ago and it gets used on all my projects.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View steavejohn1994's profile


1 post in 2419 days

#3 posted 06-01-2012 10:37 AM

i like your comment and i want to say that i have got some designing information and tips from you because i like your sit etoo much thanks for this

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3542 days

#4 posted 06-01-2012 02:17 PM

I also like the Johnson’s wax. works great for me and is easy to use both in application and buffing.

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 3084 days

#5 posted 06-01-2012 03:06 PM

gfadvm—thanks for taking on my first question. This stuff was not crumbly, so perhaps it hadn’t lost solvent. I’m thinking it just takes more buffing than others. This may not be a negative—it may in fact be a tougher finish. I have no readily apparent way to test for this. Certainly ease of application is a feature we like know about, but it should not be the only factor we consider in choosing a wax.

steavejohn1994—thanks for the compliment. LJ is quite a nifty community.

general—I have used Liberon and I liked it. High points for interesting aroma too.

I don’t mind having all these around. I’m not really choosy what goes on the table saw and the jointer.
Thanks for your input.



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View Tennessee's profile


2893 posts in 2748 days

#6 posted 06-01-2012 03:24 PM

When I ran my refinishing shop for 12 years all we used was Johnson’s. The main reason was it seemed to cut itself so you would not get much of a buildup. And it can dry out, or shrink in the can, but will come right back with a little pushing around with a rag in the can.
Lately I’ve been trying out Butcher’s, seems to have much more solvent in it, but the sheen is a little higher in the end. Seems thinner, but is also much clearer, right out of the can.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics