Here Comes the Creepy Janitor

Here you can see the sample board on top of a drawer front that has two coats of shellac on it. The wax makes a difference.

Here you can see the sample board on top of a drawer front that has two coats of shellac on it. The wax makes a difference.

Even when I’ve applied a certain finish 100 times, I still make a sample board. There are just too many variables.

The wood might have some interesting chemicals and colors in it. A finish manufacturer might have changed its formula (looking at you Lily/Valspar). Or you are dealing with shellac, which can be old or have some unexpected hues.

Yesterday I made a sample board using teak that was left over from building the chest. I planed it using the same tools I used on the chest – then lightly scuffed it with #220-grit sandpaper. Then I applied one coat of Liberon Bison Wax, the Tudor Brown color. I call this wax: Creepy Janitor.

I love this wax on open-grained woods. The wax gets into the pores and adds brown tones to the garnet shellac. It is easy to apply and buffs to a low lustre that never looks like someone fingered your project after eating a large basket of greasy Freedom Fries.

But the smell – until it dissipates – gives me the creeps.

It’s a very odd perfumy smell that is mixed with cleaning fluids. I have some more descriptive words for it that involve armpits, a greasy rubbing compound for sore joints and glass kittens, but I know it would get me in trouble with the readers.

The sample board looked great, so this morning I removed all the hardware from the chest. (This takes more than an hour. It’s like undressing a Victorian woman.) I applied the two coats of garnet shellac, sanding between the coats with a #320-grit sanding sponge.

Now I’m just waiting for the shellac to harden up a bit more before I apply the wax. And I’m going to first make dinner so I don’t have that brown goo in my nostrils when chewing.

Really, I love the wax. It’s worth the smell.

— Christopher Schwarz



About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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10 Responses to Here Comes the Creepy Janitor

  1. I always worry the fumes will cause Dain Bramage. 😉

  2. JMAW Works says:

    How does it wear? Considerable color is added, not just the pores, so I wonder if it tends to show wear, and if so do you touch it up with the same wax or call it patina?

    • lostartpress says:

      I don’t find that it wears like a regular wax finish. I’ve had it on some mahogany try squares for a long time. I think they look better the more they are handled.

  3. John Rowe says:

    And how do you know so much about undressing a Victorian woman, I wonder? Wayward reading in your past, perhaps?

  4. mpdoughty says:

    And I was just getting ready to sign up for the show.

  5. How does it compare to Briwax?

  6. richardmertens says:

    It looks nice–but so does the uncolored teak. I wonder why you decided to change the color?

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