Monday, 23 August 2010

Make your own polish for wood ... ...

Just a quick post on how to make your own polish for wooden furniture, that's real wood furniture, not chip board on mdf type stuff, I mean real good honest wood, oak,beech even good old pine stuff.

A while a go we got an old dining table from a charity shop, it has two pull out leaves and can sit 8 people at a push, but sits 6 comfortably, we have our meals everyday around it, yes we still sit at a table to eat, no trays on laps here.

When we first got it, it was varnished and it looked a little sad, so I sanded it back to the bare wood, and then we realised that we didn't have anything to put on it, and we didn't want to varnish it again, so I made some polish, which isn't really that hard.

We could have just bought a wax polish from a diy shop or such like, but they can be pricey, and you don't get that much, so making a wax polish seemed the best idea, we've been making our own polish for the last couple of years, we use it on all our real wood furniture, it protects the wood and makes it look great.

To make your own polish all you need is some beeswax sticks, we get ours from a hardware shop (yes they still exist in England if you know where to look, great places) the sticks cost about 25pence each, linseed oil, which you can get for about £3.99 for 500ml (this will make a fair bit of polish) and some essential oil, doesn't matter what flavour, lavender is good, or citronella (helps keep bugs away) and something air tight to store it in.


To make the polish all you need to do is melt the wax, I use the tub I keep it in, which is just a plastic tub with a lid that seals well, I heat it in our microwave, but you could use a pan on the hob, but that would mean having to get wax out of it, so my way saves a little time and cleaning.

Once the wax has melted add some linseed oil, basically what you're looking for is about 1part wax to 3 or 4 parts oil you want the polish to be soft enough to use, but not too soft, so a little tweaking maybe needed, once you add the oil heat it again in the microwave, it's important to know that wax and linseed both have a flash point between 200 - 250 °C although you shouldn't need to heat it anywhere near that high, the wax should melt at about 60 - 75°C

Melting the wax.

Be careful this will burn if you get it on you while it's hot.

The next step is to add your essential oil, a few drops is all that's needed, then give it a quick stir and then leave it to cool, if when it's cool it's a little too hard or soft then either add a little more wax or oil depending, what you want is something a little harder than shoe polish.

I have also seen polish recipes that use a little white spirit as well, the first time I made polish I did add some white spirit, but to be honest it doesn't seem to make any difference if it's used or not, and white spirit does smell quite strong, so I'd stick with essential oil instead.

Once you have it so it's soft and it's cooled, then all you need to do is get a rag, I use old t-shirts and go polish something.

All you need is a rag and elbow grease.

You can see the difference it makes to bare wood.

The darker section has been polished.

I think it brings out the grain and colour of the wood, and the wood seems to like it, you can make a load of polish from a little of the ingredients, so if you buy a few wax sticks and a bottle of linseed oil it should last you a while, depending on how much you polish your furniture I guess.

We use it on all our wooden furniture, our craft box that doubles as a seat seems to like it a lot, always seems to come up with a better shine than the kitchen table.

Our craft box.

Thanks for reading.

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