I want to share an easy recipe to make your own oilcloth dressing like Otter Wax or Duck Back.
I use two parts bee's wax, two parts paraffin wax and one part walnut oil. While many oils will work, I wanted to use walnut oil because I like the smell. As to the wax, some people use either paraffin or bee's wax; but the bees wax doesn't seem to be as durable and the paraffin is brittle by itself, so I use both.
Other things you will need are a metal can that will hold the prepared dressing until needed, a canning lid, stirring stick (I used bamboo chopsticks), a cooking pot, water and a cooking thermometer. I don't have a cooking thermometer so I just used medium low heat and took it slow.
KEEP FIRE EXTINGUISHER HANDY
DON'T USE EXCESSIVE HEAT DUE TO FLASH POINTS OF INGREDIENTS
Walnut Oil flash point - 600ºF
Paraffin Wax flash point - 390ºF
Bee's Wax flash point - 490ºF
Due to the flash point of Paraffin you should keep the temperature below 350ºF to give yourself a wide safety margin (because kitchen fires suck).
- Cut wax into small chunks of less than a half inch across.
- Put wax and oil into tin, place tin in pot above canning ring (this creates a double boiler).
- Add water to pot (not the tin) and place on heat.
- Stir constantly until all wax is melted.
- Remove from heat.
At this point you can brush the dressing onto canvas and make oilcloth or apply it to old oilcloth to renew the waterproofing; allow the material to cool and then carefully reheat with a heat gun so wax sets in. If your material is not ready yet, then allow to cool and when needed either reheat on the stove or by using a heat gun and just aiming it into the can to heat the top.
Thanks, I hope this comes in handy.