How to Refinish Waxed Wood

Updated February 21, 2017

Wooden surfaces are often treated with a wax polish to provide a glossy, protective finish. It is a more natural alternative to popular commercial wood varnishes that contain chemicals. The wax typically requires multiple applications to build a durable coat, and can easily be marked by water and dirt due to its slightly sticky texture. The wood will eventually require refinishing over time in order to restore the wax and preserve the condition of the wood.

Dampen a clean cloth with white spirit and rub it over the wood to remove the existing wax. This clear solvent will dissolve the finish and prepare the wood for reconditioning.

Reapply the white spirit as needed until the majority of the coat has been removed. Use a fine steel wool pad to remove any stubborn traces of the wax, rubbing the wood in the direction of the grain.

Apply a proprietary polish reviver to the wood according to the manufacturer's instructions. The solution will remove stains, marks and fine scratches from the surface to provide a clean foundation for the new finish.

Sand the wood with 100-grit sandpaper to smooth the surface and ensure proper adhesion for the wax. Wipe the surface thoroughly with a tack cloth to remove the sawdust.

Use a painter's rag or foam applicator brush to apply an even coat of wax onto the wooden surface, following the direction of the wood grain. Beeswax is the most commonly used wax finish and is available in various colours.

Follow the instructions on the product label for recommended waiting times between each coat of wax. Allow the first application to cure, then apply a second coat using the same method once it has dried to the touch.

Things You'll Need

  • Cloth
  • White spirit
  • Fine steel wool
  • Proprietary polish reviver
  • 100-grit sandpaper
  • Tack cloth
  • Painter's rag
  • Foam brush
  • Beeswax
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