Katherine has just posted about 32 jars of Soft Wax 2.0 in her store. She wishes it were more jars. Production has slowed because the lipstick making machine she normally uses has gone on the fritz. The switch that controls the heating element and temperature control has failed.
Replacing it is beyond my skills – there must be six leads to the switch. And our normal repair guy isn’t responding to our hails. (Help, Eric, you’re our only hope.)
If you are an electronics expert in our locality and want to earn some money and gratitude, let us know in the comments.
In the meantime, poor Katy is making wax with a restaurant-grade nacho cheese heater. It works well, but it’s small. So it’s a whole day’s work to make 30 jars.
We love this finish, and I use on my chairs and casework. Katherine cooks it up here in the machine room using the raw ingredients of yellow beeswax, raw linseed oil and a little bit of citrus solvent. She then packages it in a tough glass jar with a metal screw-top lid. She applies her hand-designed label to each lid, boxes up the jars and ships them in a durable cardboard mailer. The money she makes from wax helps her make ends meet at college. Instructions for the wax are below. You can watch a video of how to use the wax here.
Instructions for Soft Wax 2.0
Soft Wax 2.0 is a safe finish for bare wood that is incredibly easy to apply and imparts a beautiful low luster to the wood.
The finish is made by cooking raw linseed oil (from the flax plant) and combining it with cosmetics-grade beeswax and a small amount of a citrus-based solvent. The result is that this finish can be applied without special safety equipment, such as a respirator. The only safety caution is to dry the rags out flat you used to apply before throwing them away. (All linseed oil generates heat as it cures, and there is a small but real chance of the rags catching fire if they are bunched up while wet.)
Soft Wax 2.0 is an ideal finish for pieces that will be touched a lot, such as chairs, turned objects and spoons. The finish does not build a film, so the wood feels like wood – not plastic. Because of this, the wax does not provide a strong barrier against water or alcohol. If you use it on countertops or a kitchen table, you will need to touch it up every once in a while. (I have it on our kitchen countertops and love it.) Simply add a little more Soft Wax to a deteriorated finish and the repair is done – no stripping or additional chemicals needed.
Soft Wax 2.0 is not intended to be used over a film finish (such as lacquer, shellac or varnish). It is best used on bare wood. However, you can apply it over a porous finish, such as milk paint.
APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS (VERY IMPORTANT): Applying Soft Wax 2.0 is easy if you follow the simple instructions. On bare wood, apply a thin coat of soft wax using a rag, applicator pad, 3M gray pad or steel wool. Allow the finish to soak in about 15 minutes. Then, with a clean rag or towel, wipe the entire surface until it feels dry. Do not leave any excess finish on the surface. If you do leave some behind, the wood will get gummy and sticky.
The finish will be dry enough to use in a couple hours. After a couple weeks, the oil will be fully cured. After that, you can add a second coat (or not). A second coat will add more sheen and a little more protection to the wood.
Soft Wax 2.0 is made in small batches in Covington, Kentucky. Each glass jar contains 8 oz. of soft wax, enough for about five chairs.
23 thoughts on “Soft Wax 2.0 For Sale – Despite Electrical Problems”
Wonderful! I just bought one. I was moments too late for the last batch. I love this wax!
Wonderful, I got a jar this time!
What are the proportions of oil to wax?
Be careful of the metrification that is in a comment on that post, it is quite, quite wrong. I wish I could comment there to this effect but comments are closed.
If you specify the error, and provide a revised statement with the correct amounts — perhaps one of the LAP blog overlords could momentarily re-open the comments, post the correction, and then re-close them?
I can, if I can find the right notebook. There might be time tomorrow. From memory the specific densities of the ingredients are taken the wrong way around, x/1 rather than 1/x or vice versa. You end up with a very hard wax if I recall right.
Here is the recipe. Convert it to metric yourself if you like:
Linseed Oil & Wax Finish Recipe
2 cups (16 ounces by volume) of raw linseed oil
3/4 cup beeswax
2 tablespoons limonene
Heat gently (I use a water bath) to 151° (F), when the beeswax will melt. Let it cool.
or think of it in terms of parts: 1 part limonene, 6 parts beeswax, 16 parts raw linseed oil. then you can use any system of measure you like: kellicams; slips, strips, and bars; or even gerbil milkings. if it’s anything like the older recipe with turpentine (which I’ve made), the exact measurements are more like guidelines than actual rules.
1:6:16 works by volume, but working with a random jar on top of a set of scales is a lot easier.
16oz by volume is 473.1ml. SG of linseed oil is around 0.935, so 442g of oil.
Chris noted in a comment here (https://blog.lostartpress.com/2021/12/03/soft-wax-2-0-more-more-more/#comment-76158) that the beeswax weighs about 4oz, so 113g
So about 4:1 by weight in your unit of choice.
2 tablespoons of solvent I haven’t bothered translating.
The comment on the original post here (https://blog.lostartpress.com/2021/07/12/cook-your-own-linseed-oil-wax-finish/#comment-73530) gets a figure of more like 2.5:1 and doesn’t really work.
Perhaps also of interest, I’ve tried this with tung oil and beeswax – experiments aren’t yet finished but it is very difficult to get a good result in the longer term. In the week or two after application it looks great, lighter than linseed oil and a good deal more transparent. As the oil polymerises though it forms a translucent grey splotchy finish. Linseed oil based wax applied at the same time on the same timber doesn’t do this. Subsequent coats seem to help and I may yet end up with a good finish but it’s a very long process.
On dense hardwoods the wax is superfluous, to me anyway, just apply thinned tung oil. On softer woods I find plain oil to be dull, hence the experimentation. On paid jobs I just use hardwax, for myself I want something benign I can cook up myself (I feel similarly to Chris on metal driers and VOC’s) and I’m willing to put up with the faff.
I’ve had great results with substituting tung oil and none of the grey splotches you report. I’m using the tung oil from Real Milk Paint. Don’t know if that’s a factor.
Interesting. I’m using untreated tung oil from the local paint store I bought about 10 years ago. I’m satisfied it is a pure tung oil but it is otherwise of unknown treatment.
Mine is six months old. Might make a difference. But the soft wax I make using it is fantastic
Will the nacho edition elicit cravings for Mexican food?
I bought a jar from the last batch and used it on a new dining room table. I really like it but my toddler promptly flipped a slice of pizza upside down on the table. I’m curious to know what kind of cleaner you use on your kitchen counters?
I will step in here, as Chris consulted me during the development of the recipe. For cleaners you want to use something diluted and fairly neutral pH. Something like a drop or two of Dawn dish-soap in a gallon bucket, add maybe a capful of rubbing alcohol.
Restaurants are having great problems during COVID, as they regularly sanitize with stuff that has alcohol, ammonia, etc; and they never do a clear water rinse to remove chemical residue. Even complex finishes will get soft and discolor with long & repeated exposure to things that are also in paint stripper.
Why SoftWax 2.0 works is that the limonene thins both the oil & wax to make them spreadable and soak INTO the wood fibers. ( I will even use a hair dryer or heat gun to help this along. Doing this makes the finish “tack-up” faster, so work small areas and rub off quickly )
Wax returns to its “hard-ish” state, after heat and solvents leave. The oil “gently” polymerizes to get tougher and “dry”, but never gets “hard” and chemical resistant like polyurethane.
If an oil/wax finish ever gets discolored, then applying more and rubbing it off will likely solve the problem. With the fibers filled, the problem is “on” them and not in them.
Just pretend you are seasoning/ maintaining a cast iron skillet.
A suggestion to reduce down time … Get the part number from the switch and order a replacement while you’re waiting for a repair person. Amazon, eBay, Newark & Jameco come to mind as possible sources. The part may be available locally, but I’d bet against it.
What is the s inference between soft wa x and soft wax2?
As I make my living refinishing pieces of furniture; Chris is very correct in saying Not to use this over a film forming finish ( Shellac, Lacquer, Poly, etc ).
SoftWax 2.0 will not harm/ damage the finish itself; however on vintage pieces there can be micro cracks or flaked finish. ( Film finishes are like rubber bands that stretch with wood movement, yet get tired & break with age )
If there is a way for the oil/wax to seep into the wood fibers instead of staying on top of the finish; what will happen is that the oil will first polymerize and continue to darken over time.
This essentially creates a “grease stain in a T-shirt” effect that never comes out and will always be darker than the area around it ( even when chemically stripped, some residue remains )
Linseed oil has been touted as an easy “polish” forever since it has been readily available. Same with rubbing a piece of walnut “meat” to disguise scratches on shellac or lacquer furniture. These give the owner “something to do” and will look good for a while; however it’s something that professionally I would say “Please don’t.”
Wax doesn’t discolor wood over time, and even things like mineral polish or even silicone oil can be dealt with as they don’t cure.
@ jeff Stafford
is the don’t use it over a film finish rule the same for the old recipe with blo, beeswax and turpentine? @ Chris you often use black wax over shellac, how is black wax different than soft wax?
Soft wax is a lot of oil and some wax. Black wax is wax and solvent.
Hey Chris, I might be able to walk you through a repair if you want to try it over Zoom. Can you shoot me the make/model so I can look up wiring diagrams? My plan period is usually from 12:55-1:44, so if you are free then at some point we could try it out.
What have you done to Bean?
He looks traumatized!
“I want my phone call! You can’t twist my whiskers like this! My lawyer specifically said that tuna was not legal tender!”
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