Can You Use Finishing Wax on Bare Wood? Spoiler, Yes you Can.


While there are different finishes you can apply on wood, using wax is one of the easiest ways to finish. Wax lends a smooth and sheen look to the wood that brings out the wood’s natural color. However, wax forms a layer on top of the wood and is not actually absorbed by the wood. They are easy to apply on wood and can lend a shiny look to the wood surface.

You can use finishing wax on bare wood. The advantage of using a finishing wax is that it brings out the wood’s natural color and can be buffed until you get the required sheen. A wax finish is suitable for wood that is usually not subjected to a lot of use. They are excellent for picture frames, jewelry boxes, bookcases, blanket chests, and other similar wooden items. Wax is soluble in alcohol, so it is not suitable for end or coffee tables.

Finishing wax is not recommended for the daily use of wooden items as the wax coating can wear off quickly. While they are resistant to food and water spills, it is recommended to wipe off water from the wax finished wood as quickly as possible.

How Do You Wax Bare Wood?

If you are starting as a woodworker or are a hobbyist, the chances are that you would love a finish that is quick to apply on bare wood. A wax finish on bare wood is an ideal choice if you are looking for a quick finish to bring out the beautiful natural color of the wood. The application is simple, and you can get the sheen you desire in a short amount of time.

Waxing bare wood will not need a lot of equipment. We will go through the things needed to wax bare wood so that you are informed and prepared to apply a wax finish on bare wood yourself.

  • Wax
  • Lint-free Cloth
  • Buffing Pad
  • Random Orbit Sander

If you are using a block of wood that can be buffed without a random orbit sander, you can even use a clean cloth to buff it. However, it is recommended for larger wooden items to use a buffing pad on a Random Orbit Sander to do the job efficiently.

Wax in itself is essential. Be sure not to prepare your own wax and go with the most trusted finishing waxes available in the market. Waxes are available in liquid, paste, and solid stick forms. They come in various colors to suit your woodworking project. Choose a dark-colored wax if you’re working on dark wood.

You have to remember that when you’re applying wax on bare wood, less is more. Make sure you take the appropriate amount of wax needed on a lint-free cloth and work on the wood in circles, applying the wax all over the wood. Be sure to know the time to leave the wax to dry off as instructed on the wax container.

Once the wax has dried, you can take a buffing pad on a Random Orbit Sander and work it smoothly over the wooden item that is waxed. This will bring out the sheen and give the wood a beautiful natural look. Once you’ve finished buffing the wood, you can apply another coat of wax on top and repeat the process until you achieve the level of sheen you desire from the wood.

Can You Use Finishing Wax on Bare Wood?

You can finish your wood with wax to give it a shiny, lustrous look that looks smooth and fresh. While wax does not offer much protection against scratches on the wood’s surface, it gives a rich and natural look to the wood. Waxes will prevent the wood from oxidizing as it forms a coat over the wood that prevents the wood from turning gray.

For a lot of wooden items that will not be subjected to wear and tear due to excessive use, a wax finish is suitable to make the wood look smooth and clean. You can add layers to a waxed wood and buff it until you’re satisfied with the end result.

However, there are times when you want to finish waxing with a darker wax, but there is a lighter wax already present on the wood. The light-colored wax may affect the color of the dark wax when it is applied to the wood. Hence, you may need to remove the wax already present on the wood at times like these.

The best way for you to do this is to make use of a wood and polish remover available in the market. You should also note that mineral spirits can dissolve almost all waxes and it can be your go-to remover for removing wax.

Once this has been done, you can make sure that there is no wax on the wood by dampening the wood with water. In places where the wood dampens, you can be sure that the wax has been removed. However, if there are places that are not dampened by water, you can repeat removal until everything is clean.

After you have the bare wood clear of wax, you can apply the new wax to the wood to get the desired finish. If you’re looking for a more durable finish that is clear as wax, you can look at hard wax oils that blend oils and waxes that provide a long-lasting finish and give a smooth, natural color the wood.

Best Finishing Wax for Bare Wood

You can use many good wax products as a finish to bring out the beauty of the wood surface. We have taken the time to curate a list of the best finishing wax for bare wood. Be sure to select the wood wax that suits the type of wood you’re working with.

1. Howard CS0014 Citrus Shield

This natural multi-use wood wax has Brazilian Carnauba, which is the strongest wax from nature. The Howard CS0014 Citrus Shield can be used on many wooden surfaces and buffs to a nice-looking shine. The wax is excellent for polishing wood finishes on cabinets and antiques. The application is easy, and you will get the natural beauty of the wood grain thanks to the blend of Brazilian Carnauba wax, Beeswax, and Orange Oil.

The superior wax finish is combined with its ability to repel water. The wax is available in different colors, including Golden Oak, Walnut, and Dark Oak.

2. Minwax 785004444 Paste Finishing Wax

A highly-recommended finishing wax that comes in a paste form, the Minwax 785004444 Paste Finishing Wax is suitable for furniture, woodwork, cabinets, doors, antiques, and accessories. The dry time is around 10-15 minutes, and the wax leaves a nice polished look on the wooden surface. The cleanup of the wax can be done with mineral spirits or with paint thinner.

There is little to no odor from the wax, and it works to highlight the natural grain of the wood it is applied on. You can use wax for many woodworking projects to showcase the natural, elegant color of the wood.

3. STAPLES 211 Carnauba Paste Wax

The STAPLES 211 Carnauba Paste Wax is made with imported carnauba that provides unsurpassed durability and protection for all kinds of woodwork. The wax brings out the wood’s rich color while adding a luster shine that looks excellent on the wood surface.

The clear paste is soft and buffs to give the natural wood color. Applying a little of the wax goes a long way. It is easy to apply and gives a good top coating for wooden floors and furniture. The odor is a little strong, and hence it is recommended to place the wooden item on which it is applied in a well-ventilated area.

4. Howard Products FW0016

The Howard Feed-n-Wax wood wax makes the process of applying wax to the bare wood very easy. The blend of Carnauba Wax and Beeswax gives a soft luster to the wood, and the conditioning oils in the product keep the wood from drying. You can enhance the wood’s natural beauty on various wooden items, including kitchen cabinets and antiques.

After applying the wax, let it stand for a minimum of 20 minutes before you wipe off any excess. You can use a clean and soft cloth to polish the wood’s surface and buff it to a nice luster. Be sure to test out the product results on a test area before moving on to apply to the wooden surface.

Using a finishing wax on bare wood will give you the look of a freshly cut wood giving out its original color. While the wax doesn’t penetrate the wood, it sits on top of the wood to add a nice look. If you’ve got wooden items that will not be put to a lot of use, then the wax is definitely one of the best ways to give them a welcoming look.

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