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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just bought this table on clearance: http://www.crateandbarrel.com/big-sur-natural-65-dining-table/s450898

It's a "European Oak" and unfinished. The manufacturer suggests finishing it with a Wax Paste.

I've found many different types of Wax Pastes and was wondering which one is LEAST likely to a) change the color, b) be stinky (oy, tung oil is the worst) and c) be "chemically"--I had a surgery gone awry that left me with skin and breathing issues.

Some brands I've seen pop up online include Liberon Beeswax (wax+carnuba+turpentine), Liberon Wax Polish Black Bison (not sure how this is different from other Liberon product) and Daddy Van's (wax+carnuba+olive oil). I've also seen recs online to just mix 6 parts mineral oil and 1 part beeswax.

What do you think?
 

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If there is any chance something wet might be put on the table such as a sweaty glass, I don't think you would be happy with a wax finish. It will leave a water ring very quick. If it is a wax finish you want I would just use Johnsons paste wax. Personally under the conditions you have I believe I would finish the table with a water based polyurethane. The finish is low odor and would give better protection than wax.
 

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Wax is the poorest finish you could use. Wax has little or no protective qualities and as said previously will develop white rings where wet glasses or cups are placed. Also, you will need to refresh the wax ever few weeks to maintain its appearance.

Much more protective, nicer looking and longer lasting finish is an oil/varnish mixture. You make your own. Mix equal parts of an oil based varnish or poly varnish, boiled linseed oil and mineral spirits. Wipe the mixture on fairly heavily, let it set for 15-30 minutes keeping it wet and then thoroughly wipe off the excess. Let it fully dry overnight and do it again the next day. Keep things off it for 3-4 days particularly wet bottomed glasses or cups.
 

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+1 with the others that wax is not a good finish. It will not last long.

Since you mention sensitivity, I would use a low odour water based polyurethane.

I have been very happy with the General Finish Endurovar product.

It will not change the colour of the wood, but will bring out the grain.

http://www.woodcraft.com/search2/search.aspx?query=Endurovar

Easy to apply with a brush. Feathers well.

Follow the instructions. 3 or 4 coats. VERY light sanding in between. I use wet-dry paper and a wet sponge to get small amount of moisture. I am looking to remove any rough spots or nibs not to abrade the entire surface.

After the x coats leave a few days for the finish to cure.
 

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virginiamommy07 said:
I just bought this table on clearance: http://www.crateandbarrel.com/big-sur-natural-65-dining-table/s450898

It's a "European Oak" and unfinished. The manufacturer suggests finishing it with a Wax Paste.

I've found many different types of Wax Pastes and was wondering which one is LEAST likely to a) change the color, b) be stinky (oy, tung oil is the worst) and c) be "chemically"--I had a surgery gone awry that left me with skin and breathing issues.

Some brands I've seen pop up online include Liberon Beeswax (wax+carnuba+turpentine), Liberon Wax Polish Black Bison (not sure how this is different from other Liberon product) and Daddy Van's (wax+carnuba+olive oil). I've also seen recs online to just mix 6 parts mineral oil and 1 part beeswax.

What do you think?
Don't let the poly/ water base guys dis your desire to put a really great finish on your piece. Your wax+carnuba+turpentine would be my pick. Even the turp is going to add body and hardness to the finish. Unlike mineral spirits when it evaporates it leaves behind solids that increase strength. I set a sweaty ice filled drink on a test piece finished with shellac and wax. it did not leave a white ring after 24 hrs. If you go one line and search out finishes like these you will get the answers you are looking for and not just another opinion of what you "should" use. Give the dining table a proper fine finish. And if it does get damaged it will repair in minutes without a major overhaul. Google it.

Al B Thayer.

Friends don't let friends use stamped metal tools sold at clothing stores.
 

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Wow I just looked at your link to the table. Please do it justice and finish with anything but poly. It should really look like a million bucks.

Al

Friends don't let friends use stamped metal tools sold at clothing stores.
 

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BTW shellac and lacquer dry non toxic and can be eaten. Shellac is found in many of our foods. (Reese's Pieces)Both have zero oder when dry.

Al

Friends don't let friends use stamped metal tools sold at clothing stores.
 

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For a table like that, I would want a more substantial finish than wax. A wax finish might look good initially, but not offer the durability of some film finishes.

You could make a wiping varnish by mixing up an oil base finish with just an oil base varnish and mineral spirits or naptha. It would be more durable than with adding BLO. The varnish part of the mix already has BLO in it.

To enhance the grain, a 50/50 mix of BLO and mineral spirits or naptha will work very well. Once that cures the wiping varnish can be applied.

Or, once that has cured, a waterbase polyurethane can be used. It stays clear and dries fast. IMO, some are equal in durability to lacquers and oil base varnishes.







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So the OP has asked for advice on a wax type finish. Didn't ask for our opinion on what to use. Didn't ask for what we thought was best. All these posts and not a single answer to their question about wax finishes.

My point is, if I asked which plane to use for flattening out a table top. I wouldn't want 10 posts on the speed and merits of a belt sander. Or why it's better or why I shouldn't use a plane that's hard to adjust and sharpen.

Al

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So the OP has asked for advice on a wax type finish. Didn't ask for our opinion on what to use. Didn't ask for what we thought was best. All these posts and not a single answer to their question about wax finishes.

My point is, if I asked which plane to use for flattening out a table top. I wouldn't want 10 posts on the speed and merits of a belt sander. Or why it's better or why I shouldn't use a plane that's hard to adjust and sharpen.

Al

Friends don't let friends use stamped metal tools sold at clothing stores.
The OP was asking for our opinions. If our opinions were that wax was not the finish we would use, infers that whatever differences there were in them, it didn't matter. Could be that since it was a majority vote, the best wax (if that's possible), or IOW, one of the waxes had properties claiming to be more effective than other waxes, still doesn't outweigh our advice that another choice besides any wax would be a better finish.






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No the OP was asking WHICH wax finish. Everyone just dissed the idea which in my opinion is being very short sided. I know it's very difficult for some to understand but this happens all the time. Like the thread on height gauges for the table saw. See one response the OP gave when the merits of using such took over the thread.

The majority is wrong here many times.

I would also point out the level the OP indicated they were at in woodworking. Not everyone is a pro with experience. Would be best if we used a more considerate approach to the responses.

Al

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The OP may be MIA, happens a lot for new posters.

The last sentence was "What do you think" and I for one responded with my thoughts.

This is a forum, we can, and should expect a range of opinions which may or may not agree with each other or the original poster.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thank You

Wow, thank you all for your thoughtful replies. Like most things worthwhile, it seems like this is as much art as science. I only wish I had this depth of knowledge on something besides handling toddler temper tantrums. :)

If I try something like poly or shellac, will it be shiny? I like the way the wood looks and feels now.

Alternatively, I was wondering if I could just try the wax. If it doesn't work out, could I hire a pro later to sand it down and seal it using poly or shellac? (I probably wouldn't dare poly or shellac it myself. Seems a lot more irreversible than wax, and harder to do correctly.)

Also, turp sounds "chemically." Could I do the wax+carnuba+turp thing every year or so, then do something more natural like the wax+carnuba+oil paste for touch-ups every few weeks or whenever it loses its water-beading abilities?


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By the way, I am very much interested in reading both what kinds of wax you like and alternatives like poly. I didn't ask about the latter because the manufacturer recommended wax. It didn't occur to me that there could be something better! So glad you all volunteered your thoughts. And Al, I also appreciate you keeping things on point, too. :) If I were smarter, I would have been more specific in my post.
 

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Wow, thank you all for your thoughtful replies. Like most things worthwhile, it seems like this is as much art as science. I only wish I had this depth of knowledge on something besides handling toddler temper tantrums. :)

If I try something like poly or shellac, will it be shiny? I like the way the wood looks and feels now.

Alternatively, I was wondering if I could just try the wax. If it doesn't work out, could I hire a pro later to sand it down and seal it using poly or shellac? (I probably wouldn't dare poly or shellac it myself. Seems a lot more irreversible than wax, and harder to do correctly.)

Also, turp sounds "chemically." Could I do the wax+carnuba+turp thing every year or so, then do something more natural like the wax+carnuba+oil paste for touch-ups every few weeks or whenever it loses its water-beading abilities?
Polyurethane is sold in gloss, semi-gloss and satin.

Most finish will not adhere to wax.

If you use wax, it may be difficult to remove all wax if you later want to apply a hard film finish like poly or shellac.

FYI shellac contains wax. If you want to topcoat shellac you need to purchase dewaxed shellac. If the container does not state "dewaxed" the shellac will contain wax. Zinsser "SealCoat" is readily available at the big box stores and is a dewaxed shellac product.

Shellac does need to a top coat to be water proof.

I happen to like the way shellac brings out the richness of the grain in wood, but I then apply a top coat.

Turpentine is a chemical solvent. The smell does not bother me, but it may bother you.

You can apply a wax or wax mixture as often as you like.

I do not use wax often, but when I have used wax, it initially has more shine than a satin poly. The shine fades over time.
 

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Wow, thank you all for your thoughtful replies. Like most things worthwhile, it seems like this is as much art as science. I only wish I had this depth of knowledge on something besides handling toddler temper tantrums. :)

If I try something like poly or shellac, will it be shiny? I like the way the wood looks and feels now.

Alternatively, I was wondering if I could just try the wax. If it doesn't work out, could I hire a pro later to sand it down and seal it using poly or shellac? (I probably wouldn't dare poly or shellac it myself. Seems a lot more irreversible than wax, and harder to do correctly.)

Also, turp sounds "chemically." Could I do the wax+carnuba+turp thing every year or so, then do something more natural like the wax+carnuba+oil paste for touch-ups every few weeks or whenever it loses its water-beading abilities?


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By the way, I am very much interested in reading both what kinds of wax you like and alternatives like poly. I didn't ask about the latter because the manufacturer recommended wax. It didn't occur to me that there could be something better! So glad you all volunteered your thoughts. And Al, I also appreciate you keeping things on point, too. :) If I were smarter, I would have been more specific in my post.
For those that replied in favor of some other finish than wax, it was not likely that they were "off point". In their use and experience, the whole wax idea left a lot to be desired. So, pointing out the differences was pointless.

For those that replied in favor of some other finishes, many waxes were likely used in the experimental phases of their experiences. So, the responses IMO were honest and had your best interest in mind. As for the manufacturer recommending a wax finish, it's more cost effective in selling the furniture, and costs less to produce for the retail market. It makes the furniture "more desirable" as after the sale, it can be finished to taste. The appeal is to a larger market. Another reason is that it's because there is very little one can do to screw it up. Children can do a wax finish. I will say that once you've done a wax finish, it precludes you doing any further finishing except more wax.

To go from a wax finish to some other finish would require removing the wax. Once in the pores of the wood, it can become labor intensive to get it all out, if that's possible. Some may recommend at that point to use Sealcoat, as a barrier, but I've experienced a lack of adhesion of de-waxed shellac to surfaces like that.

So, I urge you to satisfy your interest and experiment with the different waxes like many of us have done. Use it on the same type wood as your subject piece. Keep in mind, that there is a variety of other finishes that you can use that can produce a gloss, satin or flat sheen, and offer the protection wax just can't provide.






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virginiamommy07 said:
Wow, thank you all for your thoughtful replies. Like most things worthwhile, it seems like this is as much art as science. I only wish I had this depth of knowledge on something besides handling toddler temper tantrums. :)

If I try something like poly or shellac, will it be shiny? I like the way the wood looks and feels now.

Alternatively, I was wondering if I could just try the wax. If it doesn't work out, could I hire a pro later to sand it down and seal it using poly or shellac? (I probably wouldn't dare poly or shellac it myself. Seems a lot more irreversible than wax, and harder to do correctly.)

Also, turp sounds "chemically." Could I do the wax+carnuba+turp thing every year or so, then do something more natural like the wax+carnuba+oil paste for touch-ups every few weeks or whenever it loses its water-beading abilities?

----------------------------------------
By the way, I am very much interested in reading both what kinds of wax you like and alternatives like poly. I didn't ask about the latter because the manufacturer recommended wax. It didn't occur to me that there could be something better! So glad you all volunteered your thoughts. And Al, I also appreciate you keeping things on point, too. :) If I were smarter, I would have been more specific in my post.
Good to see we still have your attention and didn't scare you off. If the discussion is open to other methods I'm ready to chime in. Let me start by asking, do you know why wax was recommended? Did it have something to do with your input about " chemical" aversions? Was it touted as easy to apply? Is seeing the beauty of the wood grain important? Will you consider this a fine piece or will the kids be doing finger painting on it from time to time?

Al

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Wow, thank you all for your thoughtful replies. Like most things worthwhile, it seems like this is as much art as science. I only wish I had this depth of knowledge on something besides handling toddler temper tantrums. :)

If I try something like poly or shellac, will it be shiny? I like the way the wood looks and feels now.

Alternatively, I was wondering if I could just try the wax. If it doesn't work out, could I hire a pro later to sand it down and seal it using poly or shellac? (I probably wouldn't dare poly or shellac it myself. Seems a lot more irreversible than wax, and harder to do correctly.)

Also, turp sounds "chemically." Could I do the wax+carnuba+turp thing every year or so, then do something more natural like the wax+carnuba+oil paste for touch-ups every few weeks or whenever it loses its water-beading abilities?


----------------------------------------
By the way, I am very much interested in reading both what kinds of wax you like and alternatives like poly. I didn't ask about the latter because the manufacturer recommended wax. It didn't occur to me that there could be something better! So glad you all volunteered your thoughts. And Al, I also appreciate you keeping things on point, too. :) If I were smarter, I would have been more specific in my post.
If you put wax directly on the wood it will make it difficult to put a poly finish on it but not impossible. There was a antique dealer next door to me that put bri-wax on everything they sold. Occasionally a customer would buy a piece and bring it to me to have a more conventional finish put on it. It just takes a lot of elbow grease with a wax and grease remover frequently changing rags. Eventually enough of the wax is cleaned off a finish will bond. I usually had one of my people cleaning a piece like that for about two hours.

As far as putting a poly or shellac on as an alternative the poly is readily available in sheens to dead flat. Shellac on the other hand it only glossy. There is an additive you can get called shellac flat that will dull the gloss to what ever sheen you desire.

Another alternative to the wax would be an oil finish such as Watco oil finish. It would give a more natural look and would be easier to put poly or shellac on at a later date if you wish.

Turps is just short for turpentine. All you would be doing with that is thinning the wax so it would penetrate more. I don't think you can expect water beading qualities out of carnuba wax. It's not like wax on a car. The car finish is already waterproof and the wax makes the water bead. On wood the water will penetrate through the wax into the wood and eventually mix with the wax causing a white spot.
 

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Steve Neul said:
If you put wax directly on the wood it will make it difficult to put a poly finish on it but not impossible. There was a antique dealer next door to me that put bri-wax on everything they sold. Occasionally a customer would buy a piece and bring it to me to have a more conventional finish put on it. It just takes a lot of elbow grease with a wax and grease remover frequently changing rags. Eventually enough of the wax is cleaned off a finish will bond. I usually had one of my people cleaning a piece like that for about two hours.

As far as putting a poly or shellac on as an alternative the poly is readily available in sheens to dead flat. Shellac on the other hand it only glossy. There is an additive you can get called shellac flat that will dull the gloss to what ever sheen you desire.

Another alternative to the wax would be an oil finish such as Watco oil finish. It would give a more natural look and would be easier to put poly or shellac on at a later date if you wish.

Turps is just short for turpentine. All you would be doing with that is thinning the wax so it would penetrate more. I don't think you can expect water beading qualities out of carnuba wax. It's not like wax on a car. The car finish is already waterproof and the wax makes the water bead. On wood the water will penetrate through the wax into the wood and eventually mix with the wax causing a white spot.
Steve,
A very good post. I would like to add a small note to the turp use. It does stink to high heaven and probably not needed in this project due to the OPs aversion to chems. But it does unlike min sprts aid in the hardness of the finish because it does leave solids behind. When I can I use it in my own personal "mix".

Also everything bonds to shellac waxed or unwaxed except polycrapoline.

Al

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Steve,
A very good post. I would like to add a small note to the turp use. It does stink to high heaven and probably not needed in this project due to the OPs aversion to chems. But it does unlike min sprts aid in the hardness of the finish because it does leave solids behind. When I can I use it in my own personal "mix".
I don't agree with that.

Also everything bonds to shellac waxed or unwaxed except polycrapoline.
I don't agree with that either. I had no problem coating an amber shellac finish with waterbase polyurethane. The furniture is in my own home and done about 8 years ago. Still looks great.:yes:





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cabinetman said:
I don't agree with that.

I don't agree with that either. I had no problem coating an amber shellac finish with waterbase polyurethane. The furniture is in my own home and done about 8 years ago. Still looks great.:yes:






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"I don't agree with that."

It would seem your posting with out doing your homework. Or is this just another attempt at picking a fight with me?

Simply reading the can of shellac would inform you that the manufactures don't recommend polycrapoline over shellac unless it's dewaxed.

Your out of your league.

Al

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