Sold in liquid, paste, and solid stick forms, waxes are formulated in a host of colors.Some waxes are softer, some are harder, but even the hardest waxes are softer than lacquers and varnishes. The fact that they are soft means they offer very little protection against scratches and wear. Waxes are derived from a variety of mineral, vegetable and animal sources. As a finish, waxes donot penetrate wood, but rather sit atop it. They will prevent it from oxidizing (turning gray) but don t particularly enhance the wood. In other words, once a coat of clear wax dries on the wood, it will look like freshly cut, but unfinished, wood.
Oil waxing occurs when heating begin, and before it has become actually too viscous to flow at all in the heating system oil piping, wax particles have already begun to form in the fuel. The wax platelets form first from the long hydrocarbon chains which are a component in the heating oil (or diesel fuel). It is these waxy particles that can clog an oil line or even an oil-fired heating boiler, furnace, or water heater.
Choose a simple oil or wax finish for a bar top or kitchen table that will be assaulted with scratches, hot coffeepots or strong solvents, but they are perfect for bookcases, jewelry boxes, turnings, picture frames, blanket chests and a host of similar objects. While a wax finish can go on any type of wood, avoid putting oil (or Danish oil) on aromatic cedar .These woods contain an antioxidant that will prevent the oil from curing.
Oil makes wood look richer and more translucent without adding a film on the surface. There are two different types of oils that woodworkers use: drying and non-drying oils. Drying oils will change from liquid to a solid film when exposed to oxygen in the air. Nut oils are drying oils, but vegetable (peanut, olive) and mineral oils are non-drying. Edible mineral oil is popular on food contact items, like cutting boards. However, non-drying oils stay wet indefinitely, and they will wash off when the board is scrubbed with soap and water.
To apply an oil finish, flood it onto the wood, adding extra to keep the surface wet in areas where the oil is quickly absorbed. After 10 minutes, wipe off everything that has not been absorbed. For a smoother, richer finish, repeat the process, this time sanding the oily wood with fine wet-and-dry sandpaper. This will create a slurry of oil and wood dust, filling tiny pores and leaving the surface even smoother.