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Oct 14, 2020 - 9:12:18 PM
4814 posts since 1/5/2005

 I just finished making a special-request kitchen cutting board for my daughter-in-law. She's a food photographer, and needs a differently looking kind of board, round shaped, for her studio - Mr. Mike would agree it's banjo-shaped enough to be fair game on this forum smiley

Since it'll be used with/for food, I don't want to use a regular oil finish and remembered Rudy - we miss you man!!! - talking about beeswax finishing some while ago ( ).

My question: I don't have any, so before a go to the store to get some - does a beeswax finish darken the wood like any kind of finishing oil would, or does the colour of the wood remain the same except for getting shinier?

Looking forward to your wisdom,


ADDED: it was kinda late last night when I posted this. Here's a picture of it, unfinished as of yet, the diameter is a just shy of 9 inch. The wood is the same as the wood of the coffee table that it's laying on to show the colour it would be when oil finished.

Thanks so much for the suggestions, they saved me a trip to the store smiley

Edited by - Bart Veerman on 10/15/2020 09:13:53

Oct 14, 2020 - 11:44:48 PM
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581 posts since 7/10/2012

I can tell you that carnauba wax darkens the wood ever so slightly (thanks Rudy!), but the tone of the wood is really enhanced by it, IMHO. I'd imagine beeswax would be similar.

Oct 15, 2020 - 4:48:22 AM



1392 posts since 2/3/2012

I just did a bees wax finish on my fiddle neck and it didn't darken.

Oct 15, 2020 - 5:11:22 AM
Players Union Member



13278 posts since 8/30/2006

Blue Diamond out in Chino Calf. will sell you the best beeswax by the pound. It's pretty blond out of the package.

The only thing that darkens beeswax is heat and contact with steel.

It doesn't penetrate deeper, it just seals better. The interaction with light will make the color of the wood deeper,not darker.

Let us know how it works out, Bart.

Oct 15, 2020 - 5:33:03 AM
Players Union Member



5777 posts since 8/19/2012

I have gone to Bees wax as my 'go to' finish for most wooden projects. Done some shelves, 2 backpacker guitars and a wooden head practice banjo. Bee's Wax does not seem to darken the wood much if at all. I have only used it on walnut, mahogany, maple and birch and it seems to bring out some of the grain. I like the way that it goes on fast, drying time is only a few minutes but you have to accept that it will be a 'satin' finish not high gloss. I liked the way that you can 'repair' a little ding with a hair dryer. You do have to be careful because the melting point of beeswax is just a little lower then the melting point of Titebond so be careful around the joints. You don't need much so a 1# block will last for years unless you are a prolific builder. I get mine from local bee keepers.

Oct 15, 2020 - 5:35:01 AM
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400 posts since 12/30/2012

mineral oil is the finish of will not (sour).

Oct 15, 2020 - 10:35:48 AM

2248 posts since 2/7/2008

When I made a butcher block countertop for my kitchen, I made a coating that was mineral oil and parrafin. Some folks use mineral oil and bees wax.

It doesn’t produce much sheen which I would think would be preferable for photography.

Oct 15, 2020 - 10:41:15 AM

Alex Z


4046 posts since 12/7/2006

Is "mineral oil" petroleum based?

Oct 15, 2020 - 12:07:25 PM

431 posts since 7/28/2016

why not food grade walnut oil ? It darkens wood and leaves it looking very rich. Maybe not all woods I'm not sure. But she could re-apply as needed.

Oct 15, 2020 - 12:46:16 PM
Players Union Member



15950 posts since 6/30/2015

Mineral oil is a petroleum distillate, but it is generally considered non-toxic. It is sold as a laxative, so consuming too much will make you go too much. Food grade mineral oil is sold for salad bowls and cutting boards. Using food grade mineral oil, or a mixture of oil and bees wax would be a non-toxic coating for the cutting board that would not go rancid. Swedish Fish contain food grade mineral oil. I would tend to think that the mineral oil sold at the pharmacy as a laxative would be food grade, but I have a bottle in front of me and it does not say as much.

To answer the OP, I have never noticed any darkening of wood due to the application of bees wax.

Oct 15, 2020 - 5:48:07 PM

Alex Z


4046 posts since 12/7/2006

"Food grade."  Good idea.  Seems to darken the wood.

Oct 15, 2020 - 7:17:08 PM

Bart Veerman


4814 posts since 1/5/2005

Alex: didn't know HD sells salad dressing devil

Oct 16, 2020 - 2:49:28 AM
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1596 posts since 12/26/2007

FYI, here are black walnut and tiger maple with one application of beeswax (patch on right side). I made a fretless neck for a friend and he requested beeswax finish, which I made using beeswax from an Amish flea market and heavy mineral oil (Swan lubricant / laxative.... oil:wax 3:1 by weight). I stained the walnut neck before I applied the beeswax/oil so the color isn't relevant here, but I will say that the feel is very nice and the surface has no gloss. In the samples that I made up this AM the color change is modest.... maybe a little bit lighter than water-wetting, but it may darken a little with multiple applications. If you make your own beeswax finish, use a small plane to shave the beeswax into thin curls before you melt it and mix w/ mineral oil.


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