Friday, February 22, 2013

Wax Finish Tutorial-Farm Table

Twenty years ago my dad milled lumber for field fencing on our farm located in Southwest Washington.  Last summer Dad and I ripped down a portion of the old field fencing because a third of the boards had deteriorated.  However there were a ton of boards in excellent shape with the exception of the moss and weathered grey color but last time I checked that weathered look cost a pretty penny! 
Unwaxed Wood

I set the boards aside with a farm table in mind and the honest initial intentions to build one myself.  Best intentions thrown to the side, a friend offered to plane down the boards and created a super sturdy farm table.  I'm talking I could party like I was back in college on top of this sucker!  Thank my higher power right now that Facebook did not exist in college!  The boards fighting the elements for the last 20 years created some amazing color and definition that I really wanted to bring out.  

Wood Notches to Hide Screws
Waxing Supplies
For the top of the table I applied a total of 5 coats of soft wax with 24 hour dry time between each coat.  Here are some techniques I found really useful for applying the wax to maximize the durability.
Coat Brush with Soft Wax
Use some elbow grease when applying the wax to ensure it gets into all the nooks and crannies of the wood grooves.  You need to apply both with and against the wood grain.  I used the small wax brush because it fits my hand best but ultimately choose a brush that feels comfortable in your hand.  
Half Waxed
After the wax is applied immediately wipe off as much excess wax as possible.  The wax will lightly grab the rag until the excess has been removed. Switch to a new rag when the rag feels tacky and stops pulling the excess wax off.  I used about 4-5 low pile rags for each application.  You want the surface to feel dry, not waxy or tacky after each application.  The wax needs to cure for about 20-28 days.  After that red wine and water can be spilled without fear of it soaking into the surface.  
Table side Half Waxed
The beautiful thing about wood is how it chooses to absorb the wax to pull out every brilliant array of colors.  

Finished Wax Top
Why soft wax?  I wanted to use a non-toxic product that wouldn't have the typical off-gassing of fumes.  I also didn't have to worry about my hands being burned by chemicals if it happened to get on my skin.  The wax also can be used on so many surfaces to create either a matte or super shiny finish.  How many types of finishes give you that flexibility!

Waxy Love-Jessie


   



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