A Little Dab will Do Ya? Use More Only if I Dare?


Getting ready to wax some samples of oak I fumed in household ammonia. Half the samples finished with a coat of 1 pound shellac and then 3 coats of Waterlox oringial. Same Waterlox on the other halb but without the shallac sealer coat. I have some Briwax original I am going to add artists oil color to to make it black. My question is how mouch of the color do I add perchetage wise to the wax? A little dab to just render it black or would the finish benefit from a higher colorant ratio. I am assuming that when my finishing reference discuss finishing with black wax they are refering to a paste wax and not some kind of a hard wax that is rubbed into the wood grain. Thanks
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On 23 Oct 2005 09:55:04 -0700, with neither quill nor qualm, "Mike in

Are you going to use a double boiler to melt the wax down to mix it? Careful, the solvents are flammable.
Try mixing a bit, letting it cool, and trying it on scrap samples. Um, you DID make extra samples to try out different finishes, right? <g> Then add more if needed. Better yet, keep the original Briwax for light woods and buy a can of black Briwax (dark, whatever) for dark woods. $10-15 worth of wax goes a long, long way.

Right, dark Briwax for dark woods, etc. I prefer to have my pores open, so I'd use the dark wax and a stiff boot brush to remove it from the pores. Others prefer to fill their pores with filler for a smoother finish. My question to them is always "Then why'd you start with a rough and textured wood?" because filling pores removes the lovely highlighting that empty pores provide with almost all lighting. YMMV.
So, what look are you aiming for, Mike?
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I really don't understand the reasoning behind putting a colored top coat on something that you know will rub off.
quickly quoth:

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CW wrote:

Some of the dark wax stays in pores, corners, etc... This creates an older, antique look.
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Kind of like dirt?

coat on

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CW wrote:

Exactly! Only faster! <G>
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<<So, what look are you aiming for, Mike? >>
I was trying for that dark golden craftsman style finish. I'm not using quarter sawn for testing because I didn't have any. Saw an antique craftsman style mirror frame I have kinda reproduced in flat sawn oak as a precursor to making a final one is QS. Wanted to experiment a bit with scrap even though the frame is a test piece. So far my better half hasn't been thrilled with the look. "Not golden enough" she says and I guess I agree. It's kind of a flat brown dull finish even when carried through to final waxing. I'm doing something wrong, household ammonia isn't sufficient, or flat sawn oak doesn't provide a suitable surface for fuming. In addition, one side of one of the samples didn't darken at all, even after extended time in the fume box. Its opposite side darkened fine. Multiple painted on applications of tea and then liquid ammonia is gradually having an effect. The tea provides tannic acid, something this particular piece of oak was evidently lacking. Wether it was the growth age of the wood or the way it was cut, I have no idea. It looked pretty much the same as the other samples and the samples all came from one board. The board was sanded to 120 grit before being cut into samples 8 x 2 x 1/2
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