Author Topic: Homemade conditioner and wax  (Read 746 times)

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Offline aCircle

  • Posts: 15
Homemade conditioner and wax
« on: January 22, 2023, 08:52 AM »
When I first started down my woodworking self-education, YouTube fed me hundreds of cutting board videos. It seemed like everybody used mineral oil, always, and a question stuck in my head — how was this done before there were petroleum byproducts? It’s not really a moral issue or anything like that. I was just curious and am a bit of a tinkerer.

It looks like most commercial products are based on some combination of coconut oil, caranuba, or shea butter. Additionally, walnut oil also seems to be a bit in the mix but I can’t find clear answers on the allergy implications of a nut product.

Just the other day I had some time on my hands so I decided to start experimenting with my own recipe. I’ve had great luck with jojoba oil, so I started with ratios of jojoba to melted and purified beeswax.

Early results are as follows:

(All ratios jojoba:beeswax)

// 4:1 — Good thickness, but a bit chunky and less penetrating.
// 6:1 — Very spreadable, excellent penetration into endgrain. Wax content seems to hold the oil in place longer.
// 2:1 and 1:1 — Decent as a surface refresher on already-finished pieces.
// 1:4 — Nice for the bodies of hand planes, but also prone to fingerprints. Excellent for wooden pieces that benefit from just a tiny bit of tack.

Next up is to probably try some addition of carnauba for when I need a bit higher gloss and less tack.

So the criteria is neutral, food safe, and effective. Something you could make with a kid or have them apply.

Anybody else ever messed around with a project like this?

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Offline mrFinpgh

  • Posts: 536
Re: Homemade conditioner and wax
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2023, 11:28 AM »
I use jojoba oil on my hand tools to keep corrosion at bay. Works great as long as I'm consistent about it.

I've melted beeswax and walnut oil together - I can't recall the ratio - and put that in tins to give with gifts like magnetic knife blocks and cutting boards.  It's easy to do this with a double boiler type of mechanism.  I've also done it by vacuum sealing the two ingredients together and cooking it sous vide.  [big grin]


Offline six-point socket II

  • Posts: 1733
  • formerly @the_black_tie_diyer
Re: Homemade conditioner and wax
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2023, 11:49 AM »
I've made my own leather conditioner for sheaths/holsters/dog leash and so on. The basic recipe/ ratio between beeswax and other ingredients I got from Bo Bergman's Book: Knifemaking: A Complete Guide to Crafting Knives, Handles & Sheaths

So yeah, I've "messed" with beeswax, oils, (...). :)

I would have to do an extensive search to find the recipe/ my notes. That has been a long time ago. Don't even own the book anymore I think.

Kind regards,
Oliver
Kind regards,
Oliver

"... . Say yes to stuff, and it will take you interesting places." - Anne Richards, CEO Fidelity International

Offline aCircle

  • Posts: 15
Re: Homemade conditioner and wax
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2023, 05:25 PM »
Thanks both!

Great tip on the book, @six-point socket II. I found it online here and, while it was great fun to scroll through and I may well use for other projects, I didn’t see a recipe at first read-through. What am I missing?

Offline woodbutcherbower

  • Posts: 606
Re: Homemade conditioner and wax
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2023, 05:43 PM »

What am I missing?


Refined tung oil with added 4-hour dryers. Pour it on, spread it out with a paintbrush, wait 30 minutes for it to soak in, wipe off the excess with a kitchen paper towel roll, wait 4 hours and repeat. Buff with a soft cloth. Done.

That's all you'll ever need. For anything and everything.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2023, 05:47 PM by woodbutcherbower »

Offline six-point socket II

  • Posts: 1733
  • formerly @the_black_tie_diyer
Re: Homemade conditioner and wax
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2023, 06:46 PM »
Thanks both!

Great tip on the book, @six-point socket II. I found it online here and, while it was great fun to scroll through and I may well use for other projects, I didn’t see a recipe at first read-through. What am I missing?

I will have to check. Could have sworn it was from/in that book.

Kind regards,
Oliver
Kind regards,
Oliver

"... . Say yes to stuff, and it will take you interesting places." - Anne Richards, CEO Fidelity International

Offline luvmytoolz

  • Posts: 385
Re: Homemade conditioner and wax
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2023, 04:31 AM »
Refined tung oil with added 4-hour dryers. Pour it on, spread it out with a paintbrush, wait 30 minutes for it to soak in, wipe off the excess with a kitchen paper towel roll, wait 4 hours and repeat. Buff with a soft cloth. Done.

That's all you'll ever need. For anything and everything.

I've used pure tung oil with citrene to thin it on some Aussie hardwoods but was never really happy with the results. It darkened the timber quite a bit and gave a very flat finish, even after several coats over many days. Tas Blackwood which normally pops with finishes like Danish Oil, just looked very dull with tung oil. I plan to try it again on some projects as in theory it's a superior finish to many other similar ones, but I think it's a bit harder to get really good results.