Oiling and Waxing for Durability

Oiling and Waxing

Once you have ordered a beautiful slab of wood from us and used it to create a unique piece of furniture or table top, you will want to protect the surface from damage and enhance the wood’s beautiful qualities.

Good timber care is vital to preserve the durability and enhance the appearance of your live edge wood. Using oil or wax will protect your timber and keep it looking its best for many years to come.

Oiling for Timber Care and Durability

There are different types of oils you can use on live edge wood. Each has its own characteristics, so select one based on the type of wood you are treating and your preferred finished look. You can choose from:

  • Tung oil – a natural drying oil derived from the seeds of the tung tree, commonly known as the “China wood oil tree” or simply “wood oil tree.”. It has excellent protective and water-resistant properties, making it a popular choice.
  • Linseed oil – a natural oil extracted from flax seeds. It has the ability to penetrate deep into the wood fibres, providing protection and enhancing the natural beauty of the wood.
  • Mineral oil – a clear, odourless, and colourless liquid made from petroleum. It is a good option for wooden items that come into contact with food or are used in food preparation areas, such as chopping boards or kitchen counters.
  • Danish oil – a type of wood finish that combines tung oil or linseed oil, varnish, and mineral spirits. It is easy to apply, dries quickly, and provides a durable finish.

Before applying the oil, make sure the wood surface is clean and free from any dust or dirt. We recommend that you sand the wood lightly to smooth out any rough spots.

Apply the oil using a clean cloth or brush, making sure the wood is covered evenly. You can apply multiple coats for better protection. Before adding each layer, give the oil time to penetrate the wood, allowing it to seep into the wood fibres and nourish them. Allow each coat to dry completely before applying the next.

After the oil has had time to penetrate, wipe off any excess with a clean, dry cloth. This helps prevent the wood from feeling sticky or tacky. Let the wood dry and cure completely according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This can take anywhere from 24 to 72 hours, depending on the type of oil used and environmental conditions.

To maintain the durability and appearance of the oiled wood, periodically reapply the oil as needed, especially in high-traffic areas or when applying to outdoor furniture exposed to the elements.

Remember to work in a well-ventilated area and follow safety precautions, particularly when working with oil-based products.

Once you have finished oiling your wooden slab, you may wish to apply a topcoat finish, such as varnish or wax, to further protect the wood and enhance its appearance. 

Waxing for Timber Care and Durability

Waxing wood will add a protective layer that repels moisture and prevents the wood from drying out. Select a wax product that is suitable for the type of wood you are treating and your preferred finish. Some waxes come in liquid form, while others are solid and need to be melted. You can choose from:

  • Beeswax – a natural substance produced by honey bees. It is widely used as a wood finish and polish due to its protective, nourishing properties and pleasant smell.
  • Carnauba wax – a natural wax derived from the leaves of a palm tree. It is one of the hardest natural waxes available and it forms a tough, heat-resistant layer on the wood’s surface.
  • Paraffin wax – derived from petroleum, making it a popular choice for treating outdoor items, such as fences, decking, and outdoor furniture.

If you are using a solid wax, melt it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Use a clean, soft cloth or brush to apply the wax evenly to the wood surface, working in the direction of the wood grain. Ensure complete coverage, but avoid applying too thick a layer, as this can result in a sticky finish.

Let the wax dry and cure by allowing the wax to sit on the surface until it has hardened and formed a protective barrier. Once the wax has fully dried, use a clean, dry cloth to buff the surface gently. This helps remove any excess wax and achieve a smooth, lustrous finish.

Depending on the level of protection you want and the type of wood, you may need to apply multiple coats of wax. Allow each coat to dry completely before applying the next one. Inspect the surface of your wood for signs of wear or damage and reapply wax as needed to keep the protective layer intact.

Visit Elephant Timber

If you are looking to create unique pieces from live edge timber, please visit our online store or visit us in person at our workshop on the Sussex coast. 

Our normal opening hours are Monday-Friday 07:30 – 17:00. Please contact us on 07941 034 822 to make an appointment, as we are not always based in the workshop. Out-of-hours or weekend appointments can be made by arrangement.