Wood finishing wax ? What to use?

I'm refinishing an old maple table. I've sanded it down to bare wood and applied a maple stain. But I don't know where to go from here. Don't want to use an epoxy or anything like that. What did the people use before epoxy [table is about 70 years old].?
What wax or ? should I use to restore its original finish? Would appreciate an e-mail reply to snipped-for-privacy@gonzowrite.com
Thanks,
Trent D. Sanders
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Trent D. Sanders wrote:

The stain probably wasn't necessary. Maple is already maple colored! :)

70 years ago, probably shellac or lacquer. Of the two, shellac is much easier to work with IMHO. Lacquer should preferably be sprayed. Spray cans are expensive and hard to control. Spray equipment is expensive. There are brushing lacquers, but the stuff dries FAST, and it's difficult (impossible) to avoid lap marks.
Shellac is pretty bullet proof. If you screw it up, sand it until it's smooth and do it over again. Eventually you'll get it right. It produces wonderful results, and it's my current finish of choice. It dissolves in alcohol though, and it isn't terribly wear resistant. It's pretty easy to screw it up. OTOH, it's easy to fix it if you do screw it up.
Beyond that, there are all kinds of other finishes. Waterlox, Poly, even, yes, epoxy. Poly is the usual newbie woodworker choice. It was the first finish I ever used. It gives everything a dipped in plastic look, and it's almost impossible to avoid getting dust motes, hairs, and random particles of whatever permanently entombed in plastic resin with the stuff, because it takes six kinds of forever to dry. You can get good results with it, but it's not "easier" than shellac IMHO.

Johnson's Paste Wax is what I use. There are plenty of others. You want to use a furniture wax, not an automotive wax. Stay away from anything with silicone in it. Apply with 0000 steel wool (which you can buy at Wal-Mart, among other places) and it will cut the gloss on whatever finish you applied, and then let you buff the wax out to a nice, natural looking luster.
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I found Deft brushing lacquer to be VERY forgiving about overlaps as it does an amazing job of self levelling.This was observed on the horizontal box top where a heavy application could be risked. With its burnin attribute I wouldn't hesitate to rotate the box 90 and slather some on a side, let dry and repeat. Rubs out well also.
On Sat, 30 Oct 2004 19:33:02 -0400, Silvan

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I use Watco wax. Works for me. SH
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Wax does not offer much protection, although I use it on most of my projects after the finish has cured for a month or so. I use Johnson's Paste wax. For your project, I suggest a clear finish such as tung oil or Danish oil applied with a rag. This kind of finish is best when several coats are applied, waiting increasing longer between coats. Be aware of spontaneous combustion and be careful about proper rag disposal. After the last coat, wait a couple months and then you can apply wax and buff to a low sheen. Reapply the wax every year.
On 30 Oct 2004 15:26:16 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@gonzowrite.com (Trent D. Sanders) wrote:

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Well... My mother has a maple kitchen table, wich is by now about 15 years old. It got a wax treatment (premixed beeswax with turpentine, if i remember correctly) at the beginning and no refreshment since. The *only* stains that could not be wiped off with the rinsing sponge were left by the spores of a mushroom that lay on that table for a few hours, now the is a nice pattern of it's lamellae visible, even after a few years. The table suffers daily use in the kitchen and is still in perfect shape. So don't overdo the finishing and stay away from making a plastic table with wooden core...
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On 30 Oct 2004 15:26:16 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@gonzowrite.com (Trent D. Sanders) wrote:

There are two useful sorts of wax; one is hard, one is soft.
Hard wax is used for initial finishing on a piece. The hard wax is a mixture of beeswax / paraffin wax, but also about 15% or carnauba or candelilla wax to harden it. I use Liberon's "Black Bison". It has a lot of solvents mixed in with it, so that you can apply it - once they've evaporated, it's hard work. I use a variety of brushes to apply it, depending on size, from shoe-polish brushes to doorstep scrubbing brushes (breech cleaning brushes from Chieftain tanks are excellent, and I bought a large quantity as surplus). For "aged" work, I use a nylon bristle rotary "wire" brush in an electric drill.
Soft waxes are used for cleaning and polishing by your maid. They avoid carnauba, because it's impossible to rub out. Good ones are pure beeswax, and a little something to make it workable. Modern commercial waxes can have all sorts of junk in them.
It's worth buying raw beeswax from a beekeeper. If you have to, try making your own wax recipes with it - although most beekeepers who sell wax also sell it ready-made into a polish, which saves some work. I've posted wax recipes to here and rec.knives before, so Google for them. http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=u07kvvs3dlipncbfoj45ljuvpilab5kmai%404ax.com
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