BEESWAX POLISH - 5 June 2010
Beeswax has been used for many purposes, as a base for cosmetics particularly lipsticks and face creams,
candles, as a waterproofing agent, and as a base for polish. An unusual use for a beeswax-based polish
occurred during World War II when hundreds of thousands of kilograms were used for polishing
metal aeroplanes, coating shells, waterproofing ignition apparatus, and coating canvas tents.
A more traditional use of beeswax is in a polish for wood - one of the oldest wood polishes known is made of beeswax and turpentine.
Turpentine is the fermented sap of pine trees.
Beeswax is exuded as a glandular secretion from the lower abdomen of worker bees.
The oxidation of beeswax is so slow as to be negligible - pieces taken from Egyptian tombs have been still pliable.
Beeswax washed ashore from wrecks and long buried on ocean beaches has been reclaimed, none the worse for wear.
Beeswax has a melting point of 62O-66OC. For its ductility, it has the highest melting point of any wax known. It is a non-crystalline wax, impervious to
moisture. It binds well into a solvent and is by far the best wax for forming an emulsion. It gives a soft, satiny sheen to wood.
RECIPES FOR BEESWAX POLISH
There are a number of recipes for polishes with beeswax as their major ingredient. The final product can be a liquid, cream/paste or a solid
block depending on the proportions of each ingredient. The exact proportions in each recipe mentioned are not critical. Vary the amounts of each
ingredient to suit yourself. The more solvent you add, the more liquid will be the final product.
Mixing the ingredients
Warning. Guess What! Wax is highly flammable. Do not heat it over a direct flame, it burns!.
Use a couple of old pots orsaucepans, one inside the other. Partly fill the larger pot with water and place the smaller pot in this water bath.
This prevents the ingredients from overheating. In case of fire, do not try to extinguish it with water you will get a chip-pan effect. Use sand,
a large damp cloth or a fire extinguisher(non water).
If the beeswax is not clean then it may be necessary to heat the wax to 70O-75OC and pass
this solution through a fine filter. Coarse filter paper is satisfactory as is a piece of fine cloth.
Liquid beeswax furniture polish
To make liquid beeswax furniture polish you will need the following ingredients:
Dissolve the soap in the warm water in one pan, put the shaved wax into the turpentine in another
pan and warm gently until the wax is thoroughly melted and dissolved. Then pour the soap mixture
into the turpentine, stirring with a wooden stick. When dissolved and well mixed, pour into the
storage jars. When mixing ingredients ensure they are of the same temperature.
- 50 g pure soap flakes (Any other soap product can be used I have used Dove satisfactorily)
- 100 g beeswax (shaved/grated)
- 500 mL turpentine (or White Spirit works just as well)
- 250 mL water
Cream or paste beeswax furniture polish
This recipe is simply a mixture of beeswax and a suitable solvent. The less solvent used, the more
stiff the mixture. The traditional solvent is pure turpentine and this gives to beeswax polish the
scent reminiscent of 'Viks Vapour Rub'. The solvent can be replaced by mineral turps or white
- 100 g beeswax
- 250 mL solvent
Heat solvent in a pan and the beeswax in a separate pan to the same temperature. Pour solvent into wax
and stir thoroughly. Pour into prepared containers.
Solid beeswax furniture polish
Use equal parts of:
- linseed oil
Heat the beeswax and add warm turpentine and linseed oil. Stir thoroughly. If this mixture is not solid enough, then either decrease the quantity of turpentine or linseed oil or increase the quantity
APPLYING POLISH TO WOOD
Apply wax in the hard form by wrapping a piece of cloth around it and holding it against the revolving work.
Friction will melt the wax and spread it evenly over the surface. Buff lightly with a soft cloth.
Apply polish in a paste or cream form with a soft cloth. Buff to a high shine