Finishing with Walnut Oil and Beeswax
Walnut oil is a great choice when creating your own oil & wax mixture due to its safety and low rancidity (it does not spoil easily, when compared with other common oils). It should be combined with beeswax, using the process outlined below.
Finding Walnut Oil and Beeswax
Walnut oil can be purchased in many grocery stores and food co-ops; there’s little difference between organic walnut oil and conventional walnut oil as the oil will not be consumed.
Beeswax can be purchased in bulk at many farmers markets, or in block form on ebay.
Creating the Oil & Wax Mixture
Add the walnut oil into the top of a double boiler, on low-to-medium heat. Boil it lightly; do not overheat.
Add beeswax to the double boiler, in a ratio of 2 (beeswax) to 1 (walnut oil). Heat the mixture to the melting point of wax, then stir to combine the oil & wax together.
When completed, the mixture should be solid enough to apply easily with a rag without being ‘drippy’ or liquid. Add additional beeswax or walnut oil as needed.
Note: The leftover mixture can be stored for several years; it will harden into a block and can be reheated for later use.
Applying the Oil & Wax Mixture
The initial coat of oil & wax should contain a higher proportion of oil, to assist in the application process. While applying the oil and wax mixture, we have found that keeping the mixture warm speeds the application. We use a hot plate to set the container on to maintain its temperature in a more liquid form. As we work the area, we also place cardboard or a painters tarp for drips or spills.
Rub the mixture into the wood with a rag. Let it set for a few hours.
A second coat is recommended, with a higher proportion of wax than the first layer. The second coat should also be allowed to set for a few hours.
Take a second (clean) rag and buff off the excess oil & wax.
The oil & wax should be re-applied at least once a year, more often for high-traffic surface areas like floors or desktops.
Guarding Against Rancidity
Although walnut oil is resistant to rancidity, all natural oils will develop a foul odor if they are not boiled, if they are exposed to constant moisture of high humidity, or if they not mixed with enough wax.
Homemade oil & wax, by its very nature, is a natural product and can react differently in various climates.