Choosing the right wax polish

Many restorers don't realise that wax polishes for wood are made to very different recipes - so it's crucial to choose the right sort.

Two fundamentally different types of paste wax polish are microcrystaline waxes and beeswax.

Microcrystaline waxes such as Finney’s Superior Finishing Wax are based on fine, light petroleum waxes and are used for the maintenance of previously sealed woods or for the initial waxing after applying varnish, lacquer, hardwax oils, French polish and modified French polish. They do not discolour over time and so are specified by museums. This type of wax should not finger mark even with constant handling as long as it is used on a sealed surface.

Pure Paste Beeswax is a different matter, being exceptionally good on dry bare wood such as pine or oak. If this type of wax is used regularly to maintain highly polished wooden furniture, it can build up in corners leaving a hard residue and may finger mark too. Beeswax will alter the colour of the wood, turning it more golden over time.

Several other ingredients are added to basic recipes too such as carnauba wax to give a shinier finish. Never use a wax containing toluene on valuable antiques or French polished surfaces as this will dull the surface. Bare pine is best treated with either Briwax Original or Fiddes Supreme Wax (which is toluene free) as these waxes are a blend of beeswax and carnauba.

Expert Advice, Simple Solutions, Beautiful Wood
All of the information offered in this Question and Answer format is given in good faith and no responsibility can be accepted for loss or damage however caused. Always carry out a test before proceeding and if in doubt, contact our free wood finishing Advice Line on 01246 261664 before starting.

Our range of wood finishing products has been developed over many years so that customers can be assured of compatibility and of achieving excellent results. The advice given here refers solely to the specific products mentioned and not to other manufacturers products which although may appear to be similar, invariably are not.