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Subject: Furniture waxes

Furniture waxes

From: Richard Fuller <frichard>
Date: Monday, December 11, 2006
Marianne Webb <mariannw [at] rom__on__ca> writes

>It has come to my attention that Goddard's Cabinet Makers Wax which
>I have used in the past now contains silicone.  This applies to both
>the new spray version and the standard paste wax.  This has
>initiated much discussion locally about commercially available waxes
>that are safe for use on historic furniture.  I would like to know
>what other furniture conservators are using or recommending to the

I don't specialize in furniture but for many years I prepared my own
wax blends, using beeswax, carnauba and paraffin, for the furniture
in our historic buildings. I simply wasn't happy with domestic wax
products. For the public, I have usually recommended paste waxes
such as Behlen 'Blue Label' Paste Wax or Old Masters Paste Wax, both
of which contain some carnauba wax, which provides a harder finish
than most waxes alone. Neither one contains silicone. Both work well
but are not always available at the local hardware store--I
purchased them through woodworking tool suppliers or professional
paint stores.

However, for the past few years I have been using Clapham's Beeswax
Polish, a Canadian-made product available from Lee Valley Tools Ltd.
(here in Canada as well).  It also has some carnauba and
microcrystalline waxes in it, but what I like most is the creamy
consistency (which can be spread quickly and thinly) and mild,
pleasant odour. It contains mineral spirits but it is hardly
noticeable compared to the strong solvent vapours from most paste
waxes (perhaps a note of caution here). I find it superior to any
other paste wax I have used, both in application properties and the
buffed sheen it leaves. As with the Behlen or Old Master's products,
it may not be available at local hardware or building supply stores,
at least in the southern Ontario area. Lee Valley Tools Ltd.
<URL:> also stocks the 'Blue Label' and
'Conservator's Wax' products.

Richard Fuller,
Doon Heritage Crossroads,
Region of Waterloo

                  Conservation DistList Instance 20:32
                 Distributed: Sunday, December 17, 2006
                       Message Id: cdl-20-32-008
Received on Monday, 11 December, 2006

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