Chris Schwarz's Blog

Anarchist’s 2015 Gift Guide, Day 8: Better Beeswax


During the last few years as I have turned my back on finishes with lots of volatile organic compounds, I’ve begun looking for traditional high-quality finishes that won’t shorten my lifespan.

I’ve bought a lot of beeswax from a lot of different sources, from national manufacturers to the individual beekeeper. They all work, but the nicest stuff I’ve found is from Don and Carolyn Williams at

Don has spent his life restoring furniture and researching historical finishing techniques. So when he set out to make beeswax for the furniture trade, he knew it had to be pure and clean with no additives.

I’m on my second brick of beeswax from and have nothing but good things to say. It brings up a beautiful low-lustre polish with a polissoir and can be readily mixed with other waxes to create a harder finish, if desired.

I also apply it directly to turnings spinning on the lathe and love the results. There might be better beeswaxes out there, but I haven’t found them.

You can order a block of the wax for $10 plus $3 domestic shipping by sending an email to

— Christopher Schwarz

For Day 1 of this year’s gift guide, click here.
Day 2 is here.
Day 3 is here.
Day 4 is here.
Day 5 is here.
Day 6 is here.
Day 7 is here.
For my gift guides from 2013 and 2014, click here.

4 thoughts on “Anarchist’s 2015 Gift Guide, Day 8: Better Beeswax

  1. Shawn Nichols

    I got some of Don’s wax as a gift but I’m not sure what to do with it. This questions seem real basic but I really don’t know the answers:

    Do you shave off pieces and put them into solution for a finish?
    Do you shave off pieces and heat it up into a liquid?
    How do you use it with the polissoir – must it be liquid first?

    Is there a good source on how to incorporate beeswax into your finishing regime?

    Thanks Chris. I always love the guide.


    1. Christopher SchwarzChristopher Schwarz Post author


      For the basics of making a wax polish, read this excellent article by Derek Jones:

      I highly recommend you make the soft wax recipe, which will introduce you to the process. I love the soft wax so much I gave it jars of it at Christmas last year. If you have the book “Roubo on Marquetry,” take a look at his finishing instructions throughout. Yellow wax is beeswax. Lots of information there.

      When using it with a polissoir, I rub the tip of the polisher on the block of beeswax every few minutes. Most of the polish is due to burnishing. Not the wax itself. The wax more a lubricant.

  2. BLZeebub

    I like beeswax too. I buy mine from a local beekeeper who takes the time to filter his. The last time I bought from him, I bought a ten pound pan of it, cut it into pound size bricks and gave some out as Christmas presents. I still have a brick left. That ten pounds cost me $20, ten of which was a tip.

    I use Sam Maloof’s old formulation with about 10% of the mix being carnauba for a bit more body and water resistance along with a pint of BLO. Love using that stuff.

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