Candle Polish Wood

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About: Awesome Gear I've designed myself.

Intro: Candle Polish Wood

My bathroom was designed with the towel rack as far as possible from the shower. I placed a couple hooks near by to fix that. Over time the hooks worked loose. They still did the job but looked awful. With some poplar and a candle I made it nice again.

A few great things about doing a candle finish:

  • No noxious fumes.
  • It's non-toxic.
  • Application is fast and simple.
  • It's cheap! (One candle does a lot of projects).

I'll take you through the whole project but if you just want the polishing part skip to step 3.

Step 1: Cutting and Shaping

I used the hook to guess a measurement on how tall the wood backing should be. I just wanted it a little taller than the hook itself. After cutting the wood I rounded the edge over with a 3/8" router bit. You can see the old hook locations in the last 2 photos.

Step 2: Adding Hardware

Using my trusty square I marked pilot holes for the hardware. I drilled six holes and countersunk two for mounting it on the wall. Those will eventually be covered by the hooks. Before moving on I sanded it with 220 grit sand paper.

Step 3: Waxing Wood

To do this I used a plain white candle, propane torch, and heat gun. The torch melts the wax off the candle fast. Once there was a line down the center I used a sponge applicator to spread it around. Since it's wax it solidifies when cool. To help the application I used a heat gun. Don't use a torch to heat the wax on the wood. You could burn it.

Step 4: Burnishing Wood

When the wood is evenly coated, load a paper towel with wax. Do this by dripping the molten wax on directly on the towel. Rub the waxed towel in small circles against the entire surface.

Step 5: Buffing Wood

By now you should have a shine building up. Finish by buffing the wood with a few drops of water and a cotton cloth.

Note: Don't wear the shirt you'r wife got you for Christmas while doing this. Wax is difficult to get out of clothing.

Thanks for reading.

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64 Discussions

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BrendaH3

Tip 7 months ago on Step 5

I would definitely suggest making sure you use a 100% beeswax candle or even simply melting beeswax beads (available at candle-making supply places), as many of the less-expensive candles are made of paraffin with stearic acid mixed in -- and the stearic acid might cause some discoloration of the wood. Check the ingredients on the candle before using.

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blackpearlin

8 months ago

Hi, this is a very nice idea! Never thought of the humble candle to waterproof wood in wet area.
A hint: just in case you got wax on your shirt, don't panic - you just iron it with a few layers of absorbent tissue paper on both sides of the cloth.

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EricT16

Tip 8 months ago on Step 4

Use your car water...high speed!

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GinaW41

Question 8 months ago on Step 5

Hi Mrballeng, just wondering if you used beeswax? And if the back needs the wax finish to keep it from warping? Thanks.

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FlorinJ

8 months ago

I did this to a wooden kneading board, but instead of using paper towels for rubbing I used very coarse sackcloth, which I also switched often. I also used pure beeswax (had a bee keeping granddad, and kept myself a few families, several years ago). In the end, the wood looked like it hadn't received any treatment, but no water would stick to it - and almost no dough. You need to redo the finish every few years, though (at least if you actually use the board). I wouldn't recommend it for surfaces coming into contact with hot objects - that would damage the wax layer way faster (it only goes fractions of a millimeter into the wood, and is therefore easily melted and damaged by hot objects).

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doer_1

Tip 8 months ago on Step 2

Your first photo looks like you attached the hook directly to the sheetrock, which is notorious for poor holding qualities. Hopefully, you located the studs in the wall and screwed the board to those. They're usually 16 " on centers the screw shown doesn't seem to be of sufficient length to attach the board to the studs, considering the board is 3/4 " and the usual sheetrock thickness is 1/2".
To get a solid attachment I'd recommend using a screw that is at least the thickness of the board,+ the sheetrock, and add another 1/2 inch, to that so that penetration into the stud is proper.
A weight bearing object, even if only a lightweight item, needs to be firmly attached to the
stud behind the sheetrock, to avoid a repeat of what happened to the first hook.

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paleogirl

3 years ago on Introduction

I would have to ask the same as Antioch. Is it just to test the water repellancy of the finish? I have tons of candles I can do this with. To that, did you test whether or not it withstood any heat? will it accommodate trivets? Is is resigned only to light-use applications, or will there be required maintenance if you use it as a coffee table?

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doer_1paleogirl

Reply 8 months ago

The water used in polishing, is to prevent heat buildup in the wax, and causing it to smear. water lubricates the cloth and helps polish the wax.
Ask any GI that has spit shined his boots...!

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Nicolas Jara

1 year ago

It works great! Thanks for sharing.

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HaleyP3

1 year ago

You can do all the wax melting and distribution with a clothing iron. Leave the iron in one spot for a few seconds until the paraffin wax bubbles and the wax can soak into the wood. After this soaking I think the wood should be very waterproof. Then you can buff it shiny. I did my work table to keep it from getting moldy.

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Yonatan24

2 years ago

Awesome! I think I might be able to rub the candle with a lot of force onto the wood and then melt it with a hot hair dryer to make it spread evenly (Because I don' have those tools)

Thanks for sharing!

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druchivldYonatan24

Reply 2 years ago

i did that once for a audio amplifier case with a birthday candle and a hairdryer, it worked wonders!

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PhilW3

2 years ago

ive actually never thought of finishing wood with candle wax. thank you for the technique. it looks awesome.

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Yonatan24

2 years ago

Awesome! I think I might be able to rub the candle with a lot of force onto the wood and then melt it with a hot hair dryer to make it spread evenly (Because I don' have those tools)

Thanks for sharing!

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BOMB91

2 years ago

Do you think that it would work with wood Turing?

1 reply
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magiclibero

3 years ago on Introduction

Thanks for sharing your experience, very very usefull

tks tks tks

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antioch

3 years ago on Introduction

Can you elaborate on the last step, the sprinkling and polishing it with water?

Why the water, and why that last step of polishing? (It appears that the previous polishing with the wax.soaked cloth seems to yield a nice result)