Best Paste Wax for Woodworking

Best Paste Wax for Woodworking

If you’re looking to protect and finish a wood surface, paste wax is one of the best options. It absorbs into the wood grain to create a layer of protection and gives it a polished sheen that accentuates its natural colors. 

It is more durable than wood oil, which also seeps into wood grain but ultimately forms a thinner barrier. Paste wax, or wood wax, is essential for keeping scratches, moisture, and dust at bay and enhancing the look of the wood’s grain and colors.

Why choose paste wax over polyurethane?

Paste wax is reasonably durable but not as much as polyurethane. One might select it over the latter top coat because it can be refined into a rich, authentic patina that you simply can’t replicate.

Wood waxes can provide different gloss levels, ranging from soft satin to glassy-smooth finishes. That’s why you should learn a little about them before deciding what you need to get.

Paste wax is available in different formulations. Some may contain ingredients like mineral oil, citrus oil, and linseed oil, which usually change the finish in one way or another. You should mainly focus on what the wood wax is based on as it can only be one of two ingredients:

  • Beeswax

  • Carnauba


Paste wax made from beeswax can form a natural barrier against water and dirt, providing adequate protection for most wood surfaces. The main reason to choose beeswax is that it’s easier to work with. It spreads easily and creates softer finishes, but its main drawback is that it is more susceptible to damage.


Despite being 100 % natural, pure carnauba can become harder than concrete. It has a remarkable ability to resist high heat and damage, making it the most durable type of paste wax. Woodworkers choose carnauba when they need a scratch-resistant, polished look.

Color of your wood surface

Finally, it’s necessary to select paste wax that matches the color of the surface you wish to protect. Go for clear waxes for light wood tones and leave the brown shades for darker wood. Using darker wax on light wood, for example, will cause it to be yellow, and paste wax typically shouldn’t alter the underlying color. 

How to apply paste wax

The application of wood wax is usually time-consuming. However, the more thorough you are, the better the finish. 

Step 1: Cleaning

The first step is cleaning off any dust particles on the wood surface. It should be free of grease and dirt as well as any impurities that will affect how the wax adheres. If the wax doesn’t stick well enough, you can easily buff it all off in the later stages of this process. 

Step 2: Application

Use a soft cotton rag to apply paste wax. First, wet the rag by dipping it into the water, then wring it dry to leave it just slightly moist. Pour a dollop of paste wax, roughly the size of a quarter, onto the fabric, then start applying the wax in circular motions. 

Cover small areas at a time to avoid missing spots. Continue adding wax as you repeat the process over the whole workpiece. Expect the surface to take on a dull look as the wax begins to dry. At this stage, grab another soft cotton rag, a dry one this time, and gently rub it over the surface to clean off the excess wax.

Step 3: Polish

You can buff the wax for as long as you need to create the gloss level you need. Be gentle and use circular motions when buffing off excess wax. Focus on small areas at a time to ensure a thorough job.

Maintaining wood wax

The main disadvantage of wood wax is that it is not as durable as polyurethane. It needs a lot more attention to maintain.  For instance, you should use a feather duster instead of a rag to wipe down wax-finished pieces. Friction gradually wears down the protective layer, so it’s good to minimize it.

Consider a re-application of paste wax when the pieces start to look dull and scratchy. 

Top choices on Amazon

Trewax Carnauba Paste Wax – Clear

Trewax is an old brand and a leading provider of wood surface protection products. The company’s paste wax is manufactured from Brazilian carnauba wax, the hardest natural wax on the planet. Carnauba wax is known to possess a hard, slow-wearing finish. This wax is ideal for hardwood furniture, floors, and other materials such as granite, marble, and bronze. 

This 12.35-ounce can is enough to cover up to 800 square feet of wood. It spreads easily and dries quickly to form a protective, non-slip top coating. Trewax carnauba paste wax is ideal for finishing and restoring old wood surfaces. 

Daddy Van’s Unscented Beeswax Paste Wax

This beeswax polish not only protects wood from water and dust but also nourishes and restores old wood. Beeswax is edible, so this is the ideal wax to use when restoring cutting boards and butcher blocks. It is odorless and all-natural, so it is safe to come into contact with food.

The chemical-free beeswax can renew the beauty of an old piece of furniture. It has a rich glow that conditions the grain back to its original state. It only takes a little amount to create a buff on wood surfaces. This paste wax is easy to apply and buff using a clean, soft rag. It also lasts quite long. 

CLARK’S Round Paste Wax Applicator

If you need a gentle applicator for paste wax, here is an option worth considering. The maple-built CLARK’S paste wax applicator features an ergonomic design that fits easily in hand.

Its small design minimizes waste and ensures consistency in the finish. The circle shape conforms to most paste wax containers, ensuring you don’t struggle to access the wax. A stiff sponge ensures that wax adheres smoothly onto the wood surface by spreading it evenly.

This applicator makes finishing less time-consuming, plus you can re-use it many times, so it is more economical than using cloth rags.

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