Briwax - Difficult to buff out!

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Forum topic by garberfc posted 02-20-2013 02:03 AM 9918 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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57 posts in 2279 days

02-20-2013 02:03 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I’ve completed applying my coats of Waterlox and have allowed the finish to cure for a week and a half and now I’ve started applying some Briwax.

My problem is that it’s a real problem buffing it out! I should explain that here in the N.E. it’s pretty cool and dry this time of year. My basement shop is at 60 F with relative humidity at 25%.

I’ve rubbed out any remaining dust nibs with 0000 steel wool and cleaned the surface with a clean cloth. I apply the wax with a cotton cloth swirling it in the wax and then rubbing it on top of the finish in a circular motion. The wax doesn’t spread very far, I assume because of the dryness of the environment. I allow the wax to sit for 10 minutes and then buff it out with cheesecloth. I continue to flip and refold the cheesecloth to avoid it getting clogged.

My problem is that it’s nearly impossible to get all the wax swirls out! My work area is well lit and when I look at the finish at an angle I can see all kinds of swirl marks. To get rid of them I have to rub them quite vigorously. Possible removing most all the wax!

What am I doing wrong? Is there an easier means of bugging out the wax??

Thanks in advance for your help,

13 replies so far

View MNgary's profile


301 posts in 2442 days

#1 posted 02-20-2013 02:35 AM

One of the causes for swirl marks is that the wax was not completely cured before buffing. I.e., the surface was dry but not all the wax beneath the surface was cured. Hence, when buffing some undried wax was redistrubted. This frequently happens if a) an uneven coat was aplied, b) humidity is high (not your situation), c) too thick an application, d) in a low temperature environment, or e) inadequate drying time.

To help my keeping the coat both thin and evenly distributed I add saliva before sealing a can of polish and again when I open it.

-- I dream of a world where a duck can cross the road and no one asks why.

View Deycart's profile


444 posts in 2283 days

#2 posted 02-20-2013 03:02 AM

I think its a simple case of not waiting long enough for the wax to completely dry.

View Kazooman's profile


1028 posts in 1977 days

#3 posted 02-20-2013 12:21 PM

@MNgary – you spit in your Briwax? Briwax is a blend of beeswax and carnuba wax thinned with toluene (or other solvents in their “toluene free” version). Saliva is not going to blend with Briwax, period.

@garberfc – Briwax can be a real chore to buff out. Once the solvent evaporates the wax itself is very hard. You should try to apply a very thin coat and let it dry well as was mentioned above. You will then need a liberal amount of elbow grease. A random orbit power buffer can be a great help. In you case I think moving the piece to a warmer area might also help. The results are worth the effort.

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2386 days

#4 posted 02-20-2013 01:58 PM

Switch to Johnson’s or Butcher’s, Briwax and the rest of the gourmet brands are a ripoff.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View garberfc's profile


57 posts in 2279 days

#5 posted 02-20-2013 02:06 PM

@Kazooman – I’ve also read about dipping my applicator cloth into mineral spirits, then into the wax. This is supposed to help ‘thin’ the wax and allow it to flow more evenly… Have you had any experience with this method?

View needshave's profile


175 posts in 1984 days

#6 posted 02-20-2013 02:23 PM

I can’t help you with the Briwax, I have no experience with it. I have always used Johnson’s paste wax. I have used it for 30 years and it has been an outstanding product. With this product I try and put on very light layers and alternate the way that I apply it. I let it just start to haze and buff it off with a cotton cloth. Use a second cloth to start to get a luster then a third for the final clean up. Cheesecloth just doesn’t do it for me. But that’s just me. let us know what you figure out, please.

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3769 days

#7 posted 02-20-2013 03:59 PM

I’m not a fan of Briwax either. I would go ahead and put the wax on right out of the can, then you can dampen a cloth with mineral spirits and rub the wax with the grain after it dries and it will spread the wax more evenly and smooth it out , which will make it easier to rub out.

View RussellAP's profile


3104 posts in 2311 days

#8 posted 02-20-2013 04:45 PM

I have a radiator heater that works well to dry out the wax completely. I keep it about a foot above the heater and it takes about 10 minutes. Makes a big difference.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View Kazooman's profile


1028 posts in 1977 days

#9 posted 02-20-2013 05:03 PM

I haven’t used any additional solvent to thin out Briwax, but it should work as far as I can tell. The original Briwax is softened with toluene. The “toluene free” version just uses other solvents, including mineral spirits.

View wingate_52's profile


224 posts in 2594 days

#10 posted 02-20-2013 06:16 PM

Briwax can be hard work. I do use it for a final finish on most lathework.

View Tennessee's profile


2873 posts in 2539 days

#11 posted 02-20-2013 06:23 PM

I agree with Clint. I have a can of Johnsons and a can of Butchers in my shop. I work in anywhere from 60’ up through mid 90’. Humidity all over the place. Johnsons and Butchers Wax never changes, save that a little less goes on at 90+ degrees. Used Johnsons for 12 years in my refinishing shop in the 1970’s and 80’s, never, ever once had a problem.

Never tried Briwax, but the one or two times I’ve tried other waxes, they eventually ended up in the trash.
Why invite the difficulty?

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3183 days

#12 posted 02-20-2013 06:48 PM

Briwax is definitely harder than Johnson’s. Briwax goes on well with a little heat, which is naturally supplied here in Texas. Johnson’s is definitely more fluid. The Briwax has a smell to it that my wife likes (weird), so I reapply it to our country pine hutch.

-- jay,

View MNgary's profile


301 posts in 2442 days

#13 posted 02-20-2013 07:00 PM

Actually, saliva does blend with the waxes and toluene, What it doesn’t do is chemically bond. Instead, a suspension is formed.

The saliva acts as a lubricant in addition to inhibiting rapid drying so a thin, even coat can be applied.

The principle is used in the military’s method for spit shining boots.

-- I dream of a world where a duck can cross the road and no one asks why.

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