Bees wax and mineral oil

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Forum topic by Betsy posted 01-31-2013 01:37 PM 5279 views 3 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3391 posts in 3917 days

01-31-2013 01:37 PM

Topic tags/keywords: bees wax mineral oil

A quick question before I start my day job….

I want to try the bees wax and mineral oil finish for a few endgrain cutting boards. Is there a magic formula for how much wax to oil to use or is it a try it until you find the right fit?

Also, I do not have a double boiler so I was planning to use low heat on the stove top in a glass pan, is that okay or am I better off using the microwave on low heat?

Thanks in advance.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

13 replies so far

View TheDane's profile


5438 posts in 3684 days

#1 posted 01-31-2013 01:39 PM

Do you have two pans … one larger than the other? I have used a small sauce pan inside a bigger pan. Works as well as a double boiler.


-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Manitario's profile


2630 posts in 2904 days

#2 posted 01-31-2013 01:49 PM

don’t use direct heat unless you want to have a kitchen fire!

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3670 days

#3 posted 01-31-2013 01:59 PM

you should use a pot-in-a-pot (larger pot with water on the stove as the heating source, and smaller pot in the water with the wax+minural oil mix in it. – that is a make shift double boiler).

you should start with 50/50 let it cool, and see how that consistency works for you. I don’t think there is a ‘magic’ formula out there, but more what suits each person and their likes. more mineral oil will make it more liquidy but also more time to dry.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View JesseTutt's profile


854 posts in 2132 days

#4 posted 01-31-2013 02:14 PM

Here a video I bookmarked on making and using bees wax finish.

-- Jesse, Saint Louis, Missouri

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2508 days

#5 posted 01-31-2013 02:24 PM

I use a 2 oz. blob of beeswax melted into a 16 oz. bottle of mineral oil.

You can melt the wax in the microwave, but I usually just use a tin can in a pot of boiling water. The tin can will serve to store the wax in.

2 oz. of beeswax will harden the mineral oil to the consistency of Johnson’s paste wax.

To apply I warm the board in the oven to about 110-120°F and spread the wax on with an old scrap of Tee shirt.
place it back in the warm oven and warm it until the oil soaks in.
I do this 3 or 4 times rubbing in more wax on all sides each time.

Let it cool after the last coating/oven cycle then rub it to a beautiful soft sheen.

Just my way.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View Pdub's profile


924 posts in 3201 days

#6 posted 01-31-2013 02:36 PM

The last time I made a batch, I put the bees wax in a glass jar and placed it in a pot of boiling water. The wax melted much nicer than when I used the microwave. The only problem I had is I didn’t heat the mineral oil with it so when I added the oil, some of the wax solidified. I just put the jar back in the boiling water and everything mixed.

-- Paul, North Dakota, USAF Ret.

View lew's profile


12098 posts in 3777 days

#7 posted 01-31-2013 02:56 PM

glass jar in the microwave

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2298 posts in 2391 days

#8 posted 01-31-2013 03:40 PM

I don’t have an exact ratio, but like Dal, mine comes out to a paste wax-consistency, I use a double-boiler setup. I buy little glass jars at Target or Chistmas Tree Shop and gave some out with the cutting board gifts.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View Emma Walker's profile

Emma Walker

560 posts in 2132 days

#9 posted 01-31-2013 04:28 PM

Why couldn’t you just apply this when it’s still a warm liquid? Seems like it’d be easier. Nothings worse that trying to spread cold butter on a piece of bread.

-- I'm a twisted 2x4 in a pile of straight lumber.

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2508 days

#10 posted 01-31-2013 05:16 PM

You can put it on while it’s warm but if the board isn’t warm it will immediately solidify. Kind of like pouring hot candle wax on an ice cube.

Mineral oil is nothing but paraffin and when you heat it it has a tendency to turn into paraffin. (Not exactly like, but it does change consistency).

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View Brandon's profile


4152 posts in 2973 days

#11 posted 01-31-2013 05:24 PM

I’ve used this stuff a ton and it works great. May be an option unless you prefer the stove process.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2270 days

#12 posted 01-31-2013 05:39 PM

This works best for me:

1 – buy small crock pot. You can get a Rival one at walmart for under 10$
2 – Buy a bottle of mineral oil and some beeswax
3 – Dump the whole bottle in the crock pot. add 25% wax by volume
4 – heat it on LOW until you have a clear liquid
5 – Let the oil cool a bit. I use a candy thermomoter and try to get it down to about 100 degrees
6 – pour the mixture back into the bottle with a small funnel.

The next time you go to wax a board, you life will be so much easier. Throw some water in your crock pot and toss the closed bottle in the water. It’s best to use a clear bottle so you can see the wax/oil liquify.

It’s expensive, but I like to use the general finishes butcher block oil. It’s really just mineral oil, but it is much lower viscosity than the drug store stuff. I find I use a lot less because it penetrates better. The pour spout is nice as well

Here is my oil/wax mix ready to be heated and squirted

Also I would never recommend using a microwave. It’s impossible to tell how hot you are getting the oil, and it will never heat evenly. you could be asking for a lot of trouble if you get it too hot.


View Betsy's profile


3391 posts in 3917 days

#13 posted 01-31-2013 06:30 PM

Wow – I didn’t expect this many responses. Thanks for all the tips. I’ll let you know how I come out. Hopefully I will be posting my first project in a very long time.

Thanks all!

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

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