Finish and application:
Oil and wax wiped on and off.

Skill Level: Easy

Finish Products: Boiled linseed oil, paste wax, abrasive pads, 0000 steel wool.

Project type: Bed

Maker: Charles Shackleton.

Materials: Cherry.

Hand-applied oil and wax gives a low-luster finish that highlights the wood and is easy to apply and to renew.


1.Prepare the surface
To reveal the wood's figure and luster, handplane the surface and follow up with a card scraper in any torn-out areas. Then sand using P220-grit paper, paying particular attention to end grain and sharp corners, but avoiding large surfaces planed and scraped.
Wipe the whole piece with a damp cloth to raise the grain. Then lightly sand the wood with 400-grit paper (CAMI). Finally, polish the whole surface with either a gray abrasive pad or 0000 steel wool. This allows the oil applied next to penetrate more evenly and reduces the chances of blotching.

2. Apply the linseed oil
Flood the surface with boiled linseed oil and wipe it around with a cotton cloth. Allow the oil to penetrate the wood for an hour and then wipe the surface dry with a clean cloth. Spread the used cloths outside to dry before disposing of them to avoid the risk of spontaneous combustion. Wait two days, and then apply more oil in the same way as the first time. It any areas are still absorbing oil, wait two days and apply a third coat of oil.

3. Wax the piece
After the last coat of oil has dried for two days, rub the surface with a white abrasive pad to smooth away any small dust nibs. Then wipe on a coat of paste wax. If you wish to darken the appearance you can use a colored wax. Wait for thirty minutes, then buff the surface with a piece of soft cotton cloth.