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Old School
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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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Old School
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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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Old School
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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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Old School
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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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