Wax or polish?


My understanding, from the last time I finished a piece, is that you end the finishing by putting wax or polish over the topcoat. That was 30 years ago and it seems today, paint stores and hardware stores have never heard of this, shall we say, post finish. (BTW, the empire dresser I finished 30 years ago still looks beautiful.)
I've got about a dozen pieces lined up for the treatment. In general, I want to sandpaper, stain, topcoat, and then wax or polish. To avoid incompatibility, I'll use Minwax products. That means Wood Finish for the stain, polyurethane for the topcoat, and wax for the postfinish. Sandpaper/steel wool when appropriate
Does this sound right?
Any recommendations on the polish or wax? I think of polish as being something like Pledge, which is pretty useless. Are there any polishes that actually do protect? What about wax? Are the Butcher Block and Minwax waxes good? Any suggestions?
TIA,
Dan
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I have use polishing compound and wax on lacquer finish and probably always will. It brings out the luster and depth in the finish. But, I don't do this on polyurethane..... polyurethane doesn't seem to benefit from this treatment.
Woody
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I am not a finishing guy at all but I built a clock as a favor a few months back. After posting some messages here I ended up using Poly and the wax. I used Butchers Wax and it made a huge difference in the look and feel of the wood (Zebra). There are probably better waxes that BW but it worked fine for me. Before I did anything I cut 15 -20 small pieces of the wood from scrap and tested, tested , tested. As I learned there are so many variations it is a good idea to run trials.
GL, J
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Joe wrote:

I'm guessing that you're both posting from r.w. What benefit does polyeurghethane have over (say) shellac for a lasting finish? What are DtK's "pieces"? "Pieces" often benefit from "wax treatment", but I guess that's not what you had in mind.
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Chris Bacon wrote:

It's not? Please explain "wax treatment."
I wouldn't say I'm posting from rec.woodworking. I'm cross-posting to these two groups. I haven't spent much time with either one. I generally hang out with comp.sys.ibm.ps2.hardware. My initial impression is that although this thread fits better into r.w., rec.antiques tends to be more serious. As to what I mean by "piece," its furniture, not necessarily antique. This all started with noticing that the 3' x 8' conference table on which I assemble/disassemble/modify computers has some badly dried out spots. It's probably 50-100 years old and refinishing it should be rewarding. I started noticing other pieces of furniture I could finish. For example, I always hated the light color of the unfinished IKEA furniture my ex-wife had bought. So that furniture is awaiting staining.
The advantage I see in polyurethane is compatibility among Minwax products. If I stick to the party line, everything should work together well. The fishtank stand I'm working on (currently sanding it with 180 paper) will take Wood conditioner (it's soft wood), stain, polyurethane and wax. I do want to move on to shellac when appropriate. There are reasons I don't want to use lacquer, tung oil, or several other finishes.
Dan
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OK, so at least you're on topic for rec.antiques....
(There's a MCA Apricot VX under my desk as we speak)
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Have fun, polyurethane that sucker till it shines, but don't bother with wax after the poly- it doesn't need it, and you won't notice much difference. Shellac benefits from a nice waxing afterwards- and if you're refinishing something where you're moving computer parts around, it may be a better choice. You can fix scratches in shellac by applying another coat, but poly just gets wrecked.
I still don't know why the Wreck hates poly so much. Works good for plenty of things, and doesn't really look bad.
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Your ex-wife left you furniture? Lucky guy (even though it's IKEA). She must have liked you :).
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Henry St.Pierre wrote:

I started noticing other pieces of furniture I could

I let my guard down. She moved out of our Virginia house, I stayed. She was the one who wanted to break up and I was unemployed and didn't know where I would find work. I went away one weekend and came back to find she had raided the house. I asked her to make a list of what she took and she said she couldn't remember. She was Swedish and liked teak. She took all the teak furniture and replaced it with the stuff she had been using - mostly IKEA. Also the $1,000. oriental rug. But I still got the office furniture, the couch and love-seat, and my Empire dresser. Oh, and I changed the locks.
I had to buy a new vacuum cleaner and iron. We each had our own cars, but I also had a BMW motorcycle.
We both did alright in the divorce. Our lawyers were at each others throats - we had to make peace ourselves. She paid me maintenance (a/k/a alimony) monthly and agreed that she had taken $5,000. of stuff. I got custody of the cats.
Probably the worst was that while we were together, she made me get rid of one of my three computers. It was an IBM PS/2 Model 30 (8086). I now have about a dozen working computers, of which 3 are PS/2 s..
I have so much that I keep filled a storage facility in New Jersey. What I use is with me in my family's house in New York City. I'm still unemployed 6 years later.
Ah, yes, antiques. A girlfriend from 30 years ago was into antiques. She introduced me to antiques. It was then that I acquired my bible: Furniture Repair and Refinishing by Kinney.
I've made some progress in sanding down the fishtank holder. Sanding is a lot of work! So far, I've just done the top surface. There's a lot more to go!
Dan
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divorced). I got to keep my car, motorcycle, the small TV and the old stereo, her car payments and the rest of the bills. My small apartment was pretty empty for some time. Hank
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Don't use polyurethane.
If you do use poly, don't waste effort waxing it.
For wax use a hard finishing wax, such as Liberon's Black Bison, rather than a soft polishing wax.
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Dan-the-K wrote:

First of all, I'd use wood that was the color I wanted and put a clear finish on it. But if I had to change the color, say to match an existing piece, I'd use dye instead of stain.
I did use poly once for the top of an aquarium stand, but usually I use shellac or just a clear oil finish plus wax. Spar varnish for outdoor pieces.
--
It's turtles, all the way down

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Huh? Isn't a dye a type of stain? Did you mean to say "dye instead of pigment"?
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stoutman wrote:

seen were pigment particles in suspension, so to me "stain" and "pigment" are synonymous.
The exception that proves the rule is Solar-Lux. The bottle says "dye based stain" - sort of like "metal based wood" to me :-).
--
It's turtles, all the way down

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stoutman wrote:

No, but some people have coined the term 'dye stain' to confuse matters.

That would also be accurate but there are folks who don't know that stains use pigments, which is what distinguishes them from dyes.
Then there is toning, and also whatever you call treatment that colors wood by virtue of a chemical reaction with chemicals (typically tannins) that are naturally found in wood. E.g. ther is an umbrella term for fuming with ammonia, using lye, potassium dichromate, nitric acid, potassium permaganate, or whatever.
--

FF


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Ditto the comments on poly but I still prefer good old Johnson's Paste Wax for a final finish. I've tried the more expensive Briwax and others and still keep coming back to Johnson's.
Vic
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Dan
I can only comment on what is used with antique wooden furniture.
For the early stuff up to say 1850, wax was the only thing ever used and should continue to be used for such items. After about 1850 French polish came into use which gives an almost mirror piano finish - not a good thing to spill drinks on! Either can still be used successfully on new items.
Modern 20th century finishes come in a huge variety of types to give whatever appearance you are after. These should not need polish afterwards and of course should never be used on antique furniture if you want to maintain its geniuineness and value.
Simon

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On Thu, 27 Apr 2006 14:32:13 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Simon) wrote:

French polish was practically _common_ almost a century before this date (on high end work, at least).
The history of finishes and their relative popularity over time is so well documented I just can't be bothered posting more, but your post is way off.
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