This is one of the oldest and probably the most beautiful of all finishes, as the softened wax penetrates the wood surface and enhances the figure, giving it great depth and warmth. A semi-matt surface with distinctive patina is cheaply and easily achieved, but several applications are required over a period of time for good results. Pure waxes have good moisture resistance but are very easily marked, with little or no heat resistance dependent on the particular melting-point of the wax. Commercial polishes with or without silicone additives for greater protection are usually composed of soft waxes (paraffin, etc.) and are not suitable for first coats on bare wood, although excellent as revivers in finished work. The best mixture for first coats is the old tried formula of pure beeswax and turpentine ( 1 lb [0.450 kg] wax to 1/2 pint [280 ml] turps) dissolved in a water-jacketed pot, and thinned with additional turpentine as necessary. A teaspoonful of pure copal varnish can be added for increased toughness and wear, also carnauba wax (Brazilian palm wax) for hardness and shine. Application should be made with a fairly sloppy paste, rubbed in and stroked off along the grain as in painting with No. 0000 steel wool, and then set aside to harden before burnishing with soft dry cloths. Matt waxes suitable for finishing over thin base coats of cellulose or synthetic lacquer, etc. are composed of soft paraffin-wax and synthetic micro-wax, and do not buff to a gloss finish. A
fairly recent development is teak paste reinforced with ethyl cellulose for increased resistance. One of the chief virtues of all wax finishes is their easy renewal.
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