Use of Bees wax.

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8 Jun 2020
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Hi Guys,
I recently watched a Richard Raffan video demonstrating turning a small cherry bowl. When he came to finish the bowl, he merely sanded, didn’t use a sanding sealer, then applied raw bees wax from a large block, before polishing. Anybody else used such a finish? Are there any drawbacks?
It's not a good finish for anything that's handled or even touched, it's too soft. It looks lovely especially on oak but it's better mixed with another wax - microcrystalline or carnauba. I tend now to use mc/carnauba and leave the beeswax out.
As above, OK for display but not for handling. But a small block is brilliant for rubbing along the lathe bed, underneath where the banjo clamp runs, toolrest edge and suchlike so things move nicely.

Also good to silence squeaky bees.
I’ve only used it once and, as mentioned, it looks good but is not durable at all.
I actually bought the wax to use for leather working (on the thread, makes needle threading easier).
In the videos that I've seen, Richard often uses an oil soaked sock and then a beeswax block on his turnings?

I've used Beeswax in abrasive paste and chopping board finish recipes.
Beeswax is cheap-ish, easily available, ticks all the eco friendly boxes and easy to apply and to re-apply but it dulls quickly if handled so I avoid it for that reason. I use oil finishes on food bowls and microcrystalline wax on some decorative things I'm going to apply a wax finish to.
I use a mix of beeswax/carnuba/micro crystalline wax dissolved in pure turps/linseed oil on my tables ….and Stig has tried it with good effect on some of his turned pieces
I use a 70/20/10 mix of baby oil/beeswax/turpentine to rub on a piece before sanding. Rub on, rub off excess then sand, practically eliminates sanding dust. Sandpaper clogs but I just clean it with a brass wire brush straight into the bin. Works really well and doesn't affect any finishes once dry after sanding.
I make a bees wax paste from 50% mineral oil (the stuff they use in baby oil) and 50% wax. The exact proportion affects how hard the paste is. For the wax, I use a 3:1 ratio of bees wax and carnauba wax. The carnauba wax definitely makes the finish more durable and not so sticky for dust/dirt. Again, you can play with the exact proportions; the more carnauba wax the more durable but the stiffer the paste will be. You can play with the recipe; eg adding higher a proportion of carnauba but reducing the overall proportion of wax might give a paste that's easier to apply but ends up with a more durable finish once the mineral oil has soaked in to the wood. Play, have fun!

PS just extracted a kilo or so of wax from my bee hive, so I might use that in the next batch I make. NOTE: for safety, use a double pan to heat the oil before melting/dissolving the wax in it. It needs to be about 60-70 oC, I reckon.
I have a Richard Raffan bowl. I don't know what it's finished with but whatever it is is quite durable.
I was taught to polish turnings with beeswax and friction at school, 50 odd years ago.
If you don't have a live centre, beeswax is the best thing to lubricate a fixed one.

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