An Oil-and-Wax Finish
This low-luster finish highlights the wood and is easy to apply and renew
Synopsis: This low-tech oil-and-wax finish requires no special tools. What it lacks in durability it makes up for in other ways: It is beautiful, functional, and easy to repair. The key is to get a smooth surface first with a handplane and card scraper, then sand selectively where needed. After raising the grain and resanding, Shackleton floods the surface with several coats of oil, burnishes it, waxes, and buffs for a lovely shine.
I strongly believe that a finish should not come between the end user and a piece of furniture. Hence, I stay away from plastictype finishes, such as polyurethanes and lacquers or varnishes. These finishes tend to sit on top of the wood rather than soak into it, obliterating the subtle textures left by handplanes. One of the most frequent comments from visitors to my showroom is, “We saw the furniture and came in to feel it.”