Introduction: Simply Gorgeous (and Food-Safe) Beeswax Wood Finish

About: I am an employee of Autodesk, Inc.

If you're anything like me, you love woodworking carpentry, but hate the tedium of finishing. For small projects, like the pictured wire spool holder (poplar), it's not worth waiting for dry-times, sanding and polishing.

This is a simple, food-safe, fast, and overall gorgeous way of applying a satin finish to wood surfaces. You can use it on everything from cutting boards to furniture.

You will need:

  • 3 parts by weight medical grade mineral oil. (found at any drug store)
  • 1 part by weight food-safe beeswax. (found at craft or cooking stores, or online)
  • A small cheap crock-pot. You really want a to opt for the ~$13 dedicated device for this. Need one?
  • thermometer (I'm using a thermocouple attachment for my multimeter)
  • balance with 1/10 gram/ounce resolution Need a basic one?

Note: you can also immerse a mason jar in a pot of boiling water, but this is not recommended as the heat is harder to control.

Step 1: Measure the Mineral Oil

Measure out three parts by weight of mineral oil using the digital balance. (for me this was 24 ounces)

Step 2: Chip and Measure the Beeswax

You'll need to chip up the beeswax, which is very time consuming as its durable stuff. (I used a paring knife) When you think you have enough chips, double that amount and then proceed...

Measure out one part by weight of beeswax chips (I did 8 ounces)

Step 3: Dissolve the Wax

  • Add the mineral oil to the crock pot and turn the heat on high.
  • Insert your thermometer. You need to ensure the mixture stays between 70° and 85° Celsius (158°F - 185°F) to be between the melting point of beeswax and the temperature at which it starts to discolor.
  • Slowly add the beeswax chips and stir so that it dissolves evenly.

That's it. The finish is complete and ready to use. You apply it hot., so just keep it in your dedicated crock-pot for futue use...

Step 4: Applying the Finish

Again, we apply the finish HOT. (but not hot enough to really burn)

  • Simply wipe the hot solution onto the wood surface and buff it in.
  • A few minutes later when the solution has absorbed and cooled, wipe off excess with a clean cloth.
  • Repeat if desired.
  • Your wood is now finished. The wood will take in the mineral oil over the next few days and leave the beeswax deposited in the outer fibers of the wood.
  • If you desire more of a polish, you can buff the surface with some solid, pure beeswax.

Tip: I found this to be a handy (N.P.I.) use for my orphaned socks, worn over a rubber dishwashing glove.