carnuba as a wax finish... what is the ratio of turpentine to
As I recall a little turps goes a long way. I got into using carnuba
through woodworking and there the general rule is put your carnuba
flakes (yes, I’ve only used it in flake form) in a small jar and pour
in just enough turps to cover the flakes. As I recall this results in
a fairly soft paste, almost runny but not quite. I found that this
was a little too soft for me so I remember using a little less turps,
something like 2 parts turps to 3 parts wax.
Once the wax has dissolved in the turps it’s very easy to thin it out
as you need to. If I needed some in a thinner consistency I’d just
measure out a small amount from the “master” batch and then add a bit
of turps to that. Stir it up and you’ve got a nice runny batch that
you can brush on or even dip things into.
The initial dissolve of the carnuba can take some time, especially if
you’re scrimping a bit on the turps. You can speed it up by heating
the mixture gently in a double boiler but be prepared to wear a fume
mask and/or provide A LOT of ventilation. Warmed turps will give you
a wicked head-ache in no time and I’m sure that means it ain’t doing
you any good. Frankly I found this way too much hassle and I just
practiced a little patience to let the stuff dissolve on it’s own,
with a bit of mixing now and again to help it on it’s way.
One (obvious?) footnote here is that since you’re mixing up your own
wax you have the option of adding other things to it too, such as
other waxes like paraffin (will lighten and soften the wax) or beeswax
(will make is a little more golden and smell great) or even a little
shellac. The thing to keep in mind, or learn by experimentation, is
that carnuba is a VERY brittle wax. If it’s applied in anything like
a thick layer it will tend to dry and flake off. This is why adding a
small amount of the secondary waxes can be beneficial, they take the
brittle edge of the carnuba and make it a little more durable as a
finish. At least that was what I read and experienced.
... are there any tricks in applying the solution on the surface,
do you dip it in, or apply the solution with a brush?
That all depends on (a) what you want to do and (b) how much turps
you use to thin it out. I’ve used it as a thick paste on woodwork and
wood carvings to a watery consistency applied with a brush. Mix it to
suit you needs and take it from there.
And finally, do you buff the waxed surface, or rub it with a piece
As you wish and as your needs dictate. Both work fine but it’s
important to let the waxed object sit for about 20 minutes before you
start buffing or polishing. In some ways the buffing is best on things
that are going to get handled a lot because the heat of buffing thins
the wax and that, believe it of not, make the finish look better and
last longer. Thicker in not better when it comes to wax finishes.
That said I used a cloth to apply and rub-polish wax on our
hand-carved wooden spoons and they’ve survived years of heavy use.
Metal is different though so if it were me I’d start with the buffing
and see how I liked those results.
in The City of Light
Visit TouchMetal.com at http://www.touchmetal.com