DIY Beeswax polish

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11 Aug 2022
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Hi all I hope this the correct section for this question, perhaps a Mod could move it if not.

Anyhow, to the question

Anyone tried mixing their own Beeswax polish mix, if yes what mix did you settle on.

I have been looking at loads of YouTube videos on the subject and almost all of seem to use a very similar mix, which is to use 1 part Beeswax and 4 parts mineral oil and they all end up with a similar mix which once set seems quite firm to the touch but soft enough to be easy to apply.

I tried this but made a slight error in that my jar I mixed it in was not as big as I thought is was so instead of mixing 1 oz of Beeswax to 4 oz of oil I ended up using 1 oz of wax with 2 oz of oil, I figured that would give me quite a hard mix but it didn't the resulting mix is very soft, a bit like easy spread butter, and much softer than everyone seems to make on YouTube.

Anyone got any thoughts as to why mine is so soft.

Thanks for any input on this.

All you are doing diluting beeswax is making a soft wax softer. If you want a harder polish get some microcrystalline wax or a some carnauba and experiment with that - beeswax alone isn't a good finish for things that get handled, it marks too easily.
Mine a mixture of Steve & Phil...
Has to be proper turpentine.
Needs carnauba wax...though this may be difficult to source.
Make sure it is good, clean, hard beeswax. Ratio will vary on what you want to do with it.
Same as above, I got my carnauba from eBay- get it pelleted if you can otherwise is a bit persnickety
The problem being usually that it's in quite large quantities for domestic use, certainly to get a decent price. I have just bough M/C and I have beeswax and flake carnauba - I'll pack some up and put it in the Sale section. A couple of oz. of M/C, a couple of carnauba and some beeswax + P&P shouldn't be much more than about £8 and will probably make more polish than you'll ever use.
I'd be interested in your final findings. I wonder if everyone whos posted has got bees? i got bees with the intent of getting the wax to have a go at making polish ( byproduct is also10L of honey this season and about to get circa 20L next week, so another benifit) . I've just finished making a solar wax melter. Maybe i should post the WIP photos if anyone is interested? Gave it a test run today 28/8/23 in East London but not enough sun really. But once its rendered, i will have pure beeswax and will want to make my own finish. So i will give the Turpentine method a go.
Didn't get an answer to my question, got lots of recommendations for using something else but no help with basic question.

Which was why was my 2 to 1 mix so much softer than everyone's 4 to 1 mix.

Not actually using it as a polish, I was going to add an abrasive to make my own version of Yorkshire Grit. So was just experimenting with the basic oil wax mix before adding the abrasive.
Not actually using it as a polish, I was going to add an abrasive to make my own version of Yorkshire Grit. So was just experimenting with the basic oil wax mix before adding the abrasive.
My version is 4 mineral oil 1 wax and 1 Tripoli by weight. This should make a paste-type result, which you probably want as an abrasive paste for turning. Maybe you are mixing weight measures with volume measures? Just a thought.

In addition. You can also add an essential oil of choice to any of the mixes given above to add a (temporary) aroma to your piece.
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I have been using my home made abrasive/polishing wax for a number of years now. The 'abrasive' element is minute Diatoms found in Diatomaceous Earth. Some people actually eat this stuff! Anyway, I did this for two reasons, I wanted to save money on the long run, as I thought the cost of Yorkshire Grit was expensive and secondly, I was annoyed at the time that the aluminum tins that the Yorkshire Grit came in, discoloured the wax itself with very fine ground aluminum powder from the lid ( they did eventually move to plastic containers).

Anyway, my home 'brewed' formula has worked well for many years, at much cheaper cost than other alternatives. There are a number of 'recipes' out there on Youtube; I think I used this one from a lady American turner.

Didn't get an answer to my question, got lots of recommendations for using something else but no help with basic question.

Which was why was my 2 to 1 mix so much softer than everyone's 4 to 1 mix.

From the tone of his last post I don't think Paul wants suggestions for better ways to do things, just a simple answer with no (to use the R4 just a minute format) Deviation, Repitition or Hesitation. The best way to answer a specific question, rather than seek general help that this forum is so generous with, might be to research it yourself rather than ask others. But all questions are interesting.

So here we go, I've done some research for you. Beeswax is used in cosmetics so there is a fair bit of information from suppliers to that industry. They want to be able to control hardness, what is useful in a skin cream would be useless and floppy stick of lipstick. I know its not directly relevant to abrasive pastes but its the best I can find.

You only have 3 variables in your control - concentration, solvent and temperature. (I suppose time is a fourth variable, maybe it will harden in a year or two).


Beeswax is a complex mixture, not a simple molecule and I was surprised by some of the information out there. Taking one of the solvents they use, castor oil, going from 10% beeswax to 20% has a marked impact on hardness, the graph shoots up. Beyond that little happens, the line goes flat. The same pattern appears with other solvents albeit at different concentrations. So - once you cross a certain threshold the hardness doesn't vary for practical purposes. A 50% mix won't be materially harder than a 25% mix - it shouldn't be softer either but you cant assume that yours will be stiffer than theirs because you made a mistake in the mix. I wonder though - none of the graphs I have seen go above 40%, I wonder if you cross that threshold you get solvent in beeswax rather than beeswax in solvent and the whole chemistry changes? The old salad dressing ratio problem you get to a point where adding more olive oil to the mix makes matters worse not better.


This makes a huge difference. Cosmetics tends to use natural products so I have nothing on mineral oil, but if you use a palm oil derivative in place of castor oil not only do you need twice as much beeswax to get a proper gel, it never gets more than half as hard as using castor oil. MIneral Oil covers a multitude of products, my old Citroen BX used mineral oil as a suspension fluid, very different from other kinds of mineral oil, some people use white spirit as a mineral oil, and others say you can use meths. Paint thinners, all sorts, all called different things in different countries. So your mineral oli might not be the same as their mineral oil, it might have additives or be missing some, who knows. The solvent seems to be a much bigger variable than the concentration.


Beeswax has a low melting point - 60 to 65 degrees C - and it softens well before that which is why its not a good finish for things that will be handled (sorry, deviation). Some things - take candle wax for instance - melt and harden in a reversible way. Others don't. Take butter - freeze it, thaw it, texture changes a bit. Soften it, OK it will stiffen when it cools. Melt is and it will never revert to its orignial form - the components in the mix separate out (oh, ghee, they all said - deviation again). So - if you warmed it to hurry things up you might have caused an irreverisble change in a complex natural product.

So, without having been there when you made it that's the best I can do to answer your question.

Home Science Time.

You can test some of this. Unless you have enough equipment to test all the variables at once you need to test them independently by keeping 2 constant. You will need 3 or 4 little jars or similar (I find those small jam jars you get with hotel breakfasts or fancy afternoon tea to be ideal) and way to weigh accurately - digital kitchen scales are good enough. You will have to judge hardness subjectively unless you find a way (and have the patience) to lower a ball bearing onto the surface and time it as it sinks to the bottom. You won't need much material, small samples keeps cost down.

Test 1 - concentration. Carefully weigh some solvent and beeswax into each of the 3 jars, if you have more jars do more tests, aim for something like 20, 30 and 40%, see if they differ.

Test 2 - temperature. Pick the best mix from test 1, leave one at room temp, put the other 2 in a saucepan with some water and heat to 50 take one out, 70 (above beeswax mp) take that out. Compare results.

Test 3 - solvents. Use the ratios you established in test 1 but try different mineral oil type solvents.

You have now isolated the 3 main variables so will have answered your own question. You will be 'close' so can then do some more refined tests to get the absolute best answer.

Or if that is a bit time consuming, buy some yorkshire grit, it lasts me ages and ages and ages and ..... (repitition, bother)
Thanks for the very detailed reply.

I was going to follow the Kim Tipping method shown in the video linked above

Which calls for 1 part wax, 1 part diatomaceous earth and 4 parts all. All parts are by weight, so eg 1oz wax, 1oz diatomaceous earth and 4oz mineral oil. And that makes a nice thick mix quite like Yorkshire and true grit. Which was what I was aiming for

In my mix, because the jar was smaller than I thought I only got 1oz wax and 2oz oil and the mix was very soft, so I assume if I had used the correct 4oz of oil it would be very runny.

Obviously I am missing the diatomaceous earth and perhaps its that which thickens Kim's mix.

I will have another go when I get time using all the ingredients just in case it's the DT powder doing the thickening and the oil wax mix is supposed the be very thin on its own.

Will report back when it's done.

Thanks for all the replies.
Hi Paul, the DE powder did thicken the mixture up, if my memory serves me correct. I only ever made a single batch which filled a jam jar and , ironically, an empty Chestnut Wood wax 22 tin! My mixture set quite firm, which in cold weather required a bit of digging out. But during some of the really hot days has maintained a nice consistency. I still have a large tub of the food grade DE, which I will never run out of.
Just to add. If using either Diatomaceous or Tripoli powders they both contain silicas (small razorblades). So, while mixing, it will become airborne so you need to wear a decent mask.
I’ve been experimenting with some waxes this weekend to produce a good polish.

ended up with a 50% beeswax 25% carnuba wax 25% microcrystalline wax melted down and then added a 60 % boiled linseed oil 40% pure turpentine mix - probably 60% oil to wax ratio to give a softish paste. I also added 10 drops of lavender oil

Applied with a soft rag and left to harden for 5 mins then buffed off gives a nice grain enhancing effect and that faint linseed wax smell.
I get my bee's wax from the hives or from a DIY store.

The difference is how I mix it.

In door use I mix the wax with white spirit, until I get a soft butter mix paste. I tint it with food dye.

For out door use I melt the wax over a low heat and add white spirit and mix until the mix is creamy in color. Then Off heat I blend in a nice raw linseed oil.
Finally got around to mixing my first batch of abrasive paste

I went with the well published mix of 4 parts by weight mineral oil, 1 part by weight white bees wax and 1 part by weight Diatomaceous earth.

Once mixed and cooled it set to a nice stiff mix, identical to Yorkshire Grit or True Grit but obviously for a fraction of the price.

The one puzzler is that using ingredients that where either clear (oil) or white (wax and DE) why does it go brown.

I thought it was because the trade mixes used brown DE , so using all white I expected a near white mix, anyone got any idea why the mix is still that lovely poo colour.