Figuring Out The Difference Between Oil Finish And Wax Finish

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Oil and wax finishes are often the most preferred wood finishes by woodworkers. These always provide the best results, foolproof finishes, and just need a small piece of rag for the application. Both provide the wood a natural, glossy and rich finish. The renaissance wax is one of the most popular choices in wax finishes. The popular home design website also recommends oil finishes and wax finishes as the best option for getting the glossy and rich finish look.

For The Fresh, Cut Wood Look- Wax Finish!
Waxes are sold in a paste, solid stick, and liquid forms. Waxes are available in a range of colors too. It is available in a wide variety of wood color tones, colorless, white and amber hues too. It can be either soft or hard. But it can never be harder than a varnish or lacquer. Hence, even the harder variety of wax is soft when compared to other options. This soft texture implies that it provides only less protection against scratches on the surface of the wood. Waxes are made from animal, mineral or vegetable sources.

Waxes never penetrate into the wood, unlike oils. It just forms a coating over the surface of the wood. Hence it doesn’t enhance the looks of the wood. It just provides a protective layer and prevents the wood from turning grey due to oxidization. In short, it gives a fresh cut and unfinished wood look. Paste and liquid waxes come with a solvent. As the solvent evaporates from the wood surface, the wax cures. In case you need to remove the wax coating from any wood or any other surface, you can easily use naphtha or mineral spirits. Almost all types of waxes get dissolved in it.

Wax finishes do not provide much heat resistance as most of the wax coating start melting at high temperatures. But they form an impermeable surface and protect the wood from drinks and food spillage. Wax coatings can be applied over other finishes to give it a smooth look. But never apply other finishes over the wax finish.

Penetrating Oil Finishes For The Rich Look!
The oil molecules seep into the wood surface and do not just sit over the surface like wax finishes. Hence, it provides a richer and glossier surface coating over the wood. Woodworkers mainly use two types of oils. Non-drying and drying oils. Drying oils, as the name itself implies, quickly converts to solid from the liquid form when it is exposed to air. The oxygen content in the air speeds up the drying process. The oils made from nuts like Tung or boiled linseed are drying oils. The mineral-based oils or vegetable oils are non-drying. The non-drying oils always remain wet on the surface. These will be washed away when cleaned with soap and water. Hence, these can’t be used as a coating. It can be used as a wood treatment.

The most popular drying oil is boiled linseed oil since it is available at affordable rates. Tung oil dries off at a faster rate and hence is used on wood works that need to be completed immediately. While applying oil finishes, the oil is just flooded on top of the wood. Always add more oil than needed as the oil seeps into the wood and the surface has to be kept wet to fasten up the absorption process.