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Production of Wood Polishes

Wood polishes are products that provides protection and enhance the natural beauty of wood. Small production of wood polishes are possible at home or in a small workshop using the tools and appliances found in most homes. Materials used in making wood polish formulations include a carrier liquid (such as mineral oil, tung oil, citrus thinner, turpentine, ethanol or a combination of them) and a waxy resin (such as Carnauba Wax, Damar Varnish, bees wax or a combination of them). It is important to know and understand how each of these substances affect the final properties of your wood polish so that you can fine tune the properties of your product as needed. You can adjust the drying speed, hardness, gloss, plasticity and many other factors in order to make the best wood polish for every application.

How to Make Wood polish?

I will start with a simple formula for a general purpose wood polish and then show you how you can modify it to make your own special wood polish. This wood polish may be used for wood articles such as furniture, wood floor, wood railings, and wood trims - moldings and other decorative or structural wood.

Materials need are:

1. Beeswax

2. Carnauba Wax

3. Turpentine

Equipment you need are:

You need a temperature controlled wax melter and a well ventilated place or hood.

Using flame is very dangerous when you are dealing with waxes, oils and solvents. They are all flammable and catch fire at certain temperature.

If you don't have a wax melter, buy a hot plate and couple of steel pans to make a double boiler. Add a small amount of water to the larger pot and place it over the hot plate. Add your materials to the smaller pot (melting pot) and place it inside the larger pot. The double boiler limits the amount of heat getting to your melting pot.


As a safety precaution wear gloves and goggles and have a fire extinguisher nearby. Also be very careful to avoid spilling the mixture on hotplate. Spill on hotplate will cause fire that can easily expand to the melting pot.

Production process/ Cooking the wood polish:

Measure all the ingredients by weight and add them to the melting pot.

Start the heat and bring water to a low boil. If you are using a wax melter, set the temperature to 85 to 90 degrees Celsius or about 190 degrees Fahrenheit.

Stir ingredients frequently until all ingredients are dissolved and formed a uniform solution.

Whole thing will dissolve in about 30 minutes.

Let the mixture cool down a little and pour it in glass or metal containers for storage.

Food Grade Wood polish

Although turpentine is a carrier solvent that will eventually evaporate, it cannot be used for making wood polishes for food contact applications (such as wooden spoon and cutting board). There are no food grade turpentine. For such applications you may substitute turpentine with citrus thinner or orange solvent or ethyl alcohol (also known as ethanol).

The amount of solvent/ carrier vary depending on the type of solvent you use and the viscosity of the product you intend to make. Less solvent will make a viscous or paste polish while more solvent creates a liquid varnish.

How to apply the wood polish?

Application of the wood polish depends on the size, location, orientation and the shape of the wood article. The polish must be applied deeply and evenly. For some articles you may prefer a pasty wood polish while a liquid polish may be the best choice for another.

Application of pasty wood polish require some pressure. You will need to rub the waxy polish to the wood surface using a rag and you will need to go over the same area multiple times in different directions or with a circular motion. It is not easy to apply pasty polish in tight spaces.

Liquid wood polish however can be applied using a brush (to start and cover the tight spaces) and a rag (to evenly distribute the material).

For products of wood turning a liquid polished may be applied while the piece is still on the machine.

What is the cost of making wood polish?

Where to buy the materials for wood polish?

Ingredients of wood polish

Knowing the properties and the role or effect of each ingredient is by far the most important part of the wood polish science. When you know what each ingredient does in your product, you can use this knowledge to modify and fine tune the properties of the wood polish you make by simply modifying the quantities of your ingredients.

Here is a list of the ingredients and their effects:

Ingredient Role, Effect Melting Point
Carnauba Wax luster, shine, impermeability and hardness 84C (183F)
Bees Wax shine, adherence, water resistance, flexibility 64C (147)
Turpentine Solvent/ Carrier Liquid *
Ethanol Solvent/ carrier Liquid *
Mineral Oil Flexibility, protection, softness Liquid *
Linseed Oil, Boiled Resin, carrier, drying oil Liquid *
Mineral Spirit Solvent/ Carrier Liquid
Pine Oil flexibility, softness, pleasant odor Liquid

 * Is liquid at room temperature.

Wood Finish Recipes

Here are some of the recipes you can try in making wood finishes. All measurement are in grams for small quantity production

Wood Finish Beeswax Carnauba
Turpentine Mineral
Soft Gel, Matte 30     90  
Soft Gel, Glossy   10   90  
Paste, Hard finish 10 10 60    
Gel Resin, Hard finish after drying   5 60   40

All about the wood finish/ wood wax materials

By now you are familiar with the materials and the process of making wood finishes and wood waxes and you have most likely tried and made a few samples.

You are now ready to learn more details about each of the materials and what they do to your wood finish.

Carnauba Wax

Carnauba wax is the main ingredient that provides surface hardness, water repellence and shine to wood surfaces.

Carnauba wax comes in the form of hard flakes and it is available in three different colors.

Carnauba Wax Grades and Colors

Many high quality wood polishes (and other waxes for automobiles and leather) contain about 5% up to 15% carnauba wax.

Brown carnauba wax is often used for wood finishes while the white and yellow carnauba waxes are mainly used for food related applications.

A simple wood finish recipe with carnauba wax may include 10% carnauba wax and 90% turpentine (or any other solvent such as ethanol or citrus thinner). This finish can be applied multiple times and can be buffed upon drying to create a high gloss surface.

Mineral Oil

Clear odorless light mineral oil DUOIL70 is a low viscosity mineral oil for many cosmetics, wax and polymer formulations. It works as a lubricant, liquid paraffin and softener in different formulas.

High purity food/ cosmetics mineral oil is available online at Chemical Store.com.

Light Mineral Oil

Linseed Oil

Linseed Oil is a drying oil that has been used as the main resin and carrier of oil based paints for many years.

Now a days synthetic resins such as polyester and polyurethane are most often used for oil based paints; however, linseed oil is still sold in the the paint departments of many hardware stores. Many artists are still using linseed oil in their paintings.

Available at most hardware stores.






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