Wood treatment

I needed to treat a new paddle’s grip, and my favorite has always been boiled linseed oil. But a trip to the local big box store found me staring at lots of the usual oils, but no linseed available.

I was about to leave when I spied a bottle of butcher block maintainer, consisting of beeswax, mineral oil, and Carnauba wax. I decided to try it just for giggles. I have used beeswax on leather knife sheaths before and have been pleased at the results.

My new paddle now has about 5 thin coats, and feels great. Now I am considering trying this on wooden gunwales.

Anyone here use beeswax as a wood preservative? If so, pros and cons?


I think this came up before
I think I remember someone pointing out that once you put wax on 'em, oil will never really penetrate again. That would be enough to scare me away from a FOP gunnel treatment.

Report your long term results.
The mineral oil is probably there as a carrier, to get the other components into the wood grain. I don’t see a problem with wax preventing subsequent oil applications, because if the wax is still there, it’s doing the same job as finishing oil. It may be another matter if you subsequently want to varnish or epoxy.

I waxed my gunnels… once.

– Last Updated: Apr-11-12 5:45 PM EST –

Standard Butcher's paste wax after the Watco had cured. First time I tossed the boat on my car's crossbars, it nearly slid right off the other side. Water sure beaded up and rolled off nicely, though!

Wax is easily removed with a clean rag and mineral spirits rub-down.

Clarion, once you put a drying oil on wood, subsequent applications won't penetrate, either. The end-grain will suck up more of the first application, but on long-grain ash, it won't penetrate beyond a few thousandths of an inch on bare wood, even if you thin it way down.

I used git-rot lol NM

I wouldn’t expect just rubbing with
mineral spirits to remove wax well enough for epoxy, though it might suffice for varnish.

You’re prolly right.
I’d be concerned about compatibility issues over oil, too, and sand to bare wood for epoxy.

With some finishing oils, if they have
had a long, long time to dry and harden, epoxy will adhere well enough that deep sanding is not necessary. My favorite for furniture is Minwax 209 (clear), a very thin oil that leaves a “dry” surface after many applications and a final “wet” sanding using the 209 as the “water.”

Watco Exterior and similar oils seem to leave a waxy surface, and I would not epoxy right over them.

I guess I will be a guinea pig then.

– Last Updated: Apr-12-12 2:16 PM EST –

My Magic's gunwales are candidates for replacement, as the end-cap holes were drilled off-center and the ends of the outwales are splitting out.

May be able to apply a coat or two next week as time permits. Then we shall see if this idea works.


BTW, I read somewhere that beeswax naturally preserves leather and retards the potential damage from microorganisms. I do not know if this includes wood rot, but so far none of the leather knife sheaths I have treated have developed wood rot.

As has been mention here before,
most oil finishes for wood these days are technically wiping varnishes in that they almost universally contain solvents, linseed oil, other proprietary resins, metallic driers, and, sometimes, UV inhibitors and fungicides.

Mostly, these additives improve performance and help simplify application, but it ain’t your father’s boiled linseed oil anymore. The purists have to find “pure” tung oil or buy linseed oil from art supply stores and mix their own concoctions.

beeswax protection?
Hi Jim,

Regrettably, my bee keeping father has moved on to tending hives in the sky and no longer available for giving me advice.

The one thing I can tell you is that if you treat your paddle with that butcher block mix, you can safely use it as a cutting board for cheese at Raystown.


Oh, no. I will have
the inwales, outwales and thwarts available for that! Little cubes of cheese and sausages lined up for 16 feet each side plus whatever the thwarts measure.


paddle as serving tray

Not only could you use the “safely sealed” paddle as a cutting board, it could then become a serving tray with a handle. On sat night, you would be able to reach those sitting in the back row of chairs without weaving around the front rows.


Another use for duct tape …

– Last Updated: Apr-13-12 9:21 AM EST –


Somehow I do no see me using
my Mitchell Surreal as a cutting board for steak. Remember folks, I was originally only talking about treating the grip!

Jim :wink:


Had you the courage, it would be surreal


Only if
the steak was butter soft and I was able to cut with plastic dinnerwear.