Polishing works best in a warm room! The aim is to apply a thin but even coat of wax. Too thick a coat will be difficult to shine, and will take much longer to harden.
Apply the wax with a cotton cloth with a reasonably open weave; old dishtowels work well, cut into 12" squares. Fold the cloth to make a pad about 3" square. Transfer a little wax to the cloth, and then apply thinly and evenly to the object to be polished. Try not to leave any spots starved of wax, and follow the wood-grain direction whenever possible. It is often useful to dampen the application pad with a little pure turpentine:
The mustard container has turpentine in it. The grubby looking piece of toweling is the application pad, and the clean cloth is for buffing.
A few drops of turps are being poured on the pad. This pad is kept permanently in the wax tin, or in an old sealed container. It can be re-dampened with turps each time it's used.
The dampened pad can now be used to pick up polish from the tin. Since the pad is pretty much saturated with wax from previous uses, very little (if any) extra wax is needed.
A very thin coat is evenly applied using an overlapping circular pattern, followed by light strokes in the direction of the grain.
Before buffing, replace the application pad in the tin, and put the lid on.
The wax must now be allowed to dry before buffing. About ten minutes should be enough in a normally heated room, but this time can vary with humidity and ambient temperature.
An alternative application technique is to put a small (walnut sized) lump of wax inside a single layer of open-weave cloth. Twist the cloth around the wax.
Squeezing should result in tiny wormlets of wax sprouting from the cloth surface. Use this pad to apply a thin coat of wax as above. This is a good technique for larger surfaces.
Buff with a large piece of cotton cloth - an old coarse sheet or tea-towel work well. (Old hand towels are also suitable.) Turn the cloth frequently, and shake out occasionally. Rub vigorously, again following the grain direction. Finish off by buffing again, with a new soft cloth.
If the surface seems a bit patchy or uneven, wait for twelve hours and re-wax the surface, again buffing vigorously after application. New work may require three coats.
Wax should be applied over a sealer coat of lacquer, sanding sealer, varnish or shellac. Oil finishes can be waxed when thoroughly cured (allow a week for newly oiled surfaces). Waxing over new oil will dull the shine. Wax should not be used as the only finish on bare wood.
"SALAD BOWL" FINISH:
This is a beeswax and mineral oil finish. It should be applied quite liberally to bare wood, allowed to penetrate for ten minutes, and then rubbed hard with a coarse cloth. This will give a matt or satin lustre, and partially seal the surface. It is food safe, and can also be used for toys or other items used by young children.
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