Waxing wood with fine steel wool cleans, finishes and polishes beautifully your old and new wood furniture.
It is the final step to presenting your home to friends or finalizing your woodworking project. It is used on water based coatings, oil based polyurethane or varnish, film finishes like lacquer or shellac, lacquer and other coatings. A wax rub gives wood a richer look, an even finish, a warmer feel and resists water, not to mention a great shine
IMPORTANT The longer you let a new finish cure, the easier it will be to rub it, and that goes for any sheen.
IMPORTANT You can’t rub a satin sheen up to a gloss sheen, but you will improve a shine greatly with polishing.
IMPORTANT You must have enough of a finish for this to work. You cannot polish bare wood.
Dust in the air makes it hard to get a clean, smooth finish in any environment, no matter how it’s applied. You need a dedicated clean room, and even then, the finish can dry with particles or bush strokes. So what chance do we that finish in the garage or basement wood shops have? Steel wool wax rubbing removes those problems and smooth out the sheen differences.
Also, a waxed steel wool finish just looks better. The rubbed shine just looks better. The gloss from a spray gun, brush or pad simply isn’t the same: it is smoother, reflects more light, and is deeper and more.
By rubbing in the direction of the grain, scratches on older furniture are filled to refract light in an even pattern. The steel wool leaves the surface flat, with a glossy, reflective surface without any scratches visible.
And the feel of the furniture is luxurious. Wood is a living thing, and is more than appearance. You should experience the wood. People touch the wood, hold it. You can’t get that from Formica.
Here’s how you do it.
It takes work to apply the wax in long strokes, putting pressure on the steel wool to clean and polish the wood.
Use quality steel wool as they aren’t all same and may be rough. Not all steel wool is created equal. Rub with the grain of the wood.
Start with 400 grit sandpaper with paint thinner as a lubricant to remove a small layer of finish to clean and smooth the surface of dust, scratches and marks
Fill the pad of 00 steel wool with paste wax. It will lubricate the steel wool as well as apply the wax deep into the imperfections for a smoother surface.
Don’t miss rubbing the ends of the wood, and keep going in the grain’s direction.
Flip the pad over as the pad gets worn. Add more wax as you go along.
Use long stokes in straight lines with the grain, working the wax. The entire wood surface should get at least 7 rubs or passes.
Then use 0000 steel wool to remove the excess wax and polish the wood. Apply lighter pressure when removing the wax. Use the same application pad more wax if needed.
Too much wax will show if rubbing your finger on the surface leaves a smudge. Cold water can be used to harden the excess wax so it can be removed easier with the four zero steel wool.
At the end, you can use a clean cloth for buffing off any residue wax to get a glossy surface. I don’t, but you can.