How to use hard carnauba wax on bare wood

Updated February 21, 2017

Carnauba wax is produced from the Brazilian wax palm tree and is commonly used by woodworkers as a finish for cabinets and other wooden pieces. Because carnauba wax is one of the hardest natural waxes, it is able to produce a unique glossy shine. It may be tricky, however, to apply the wax to bare wood because of how hard it is and the melting point it has to reach to be applied.

Break off the carnauba wax with a chisel or utility knife and melt the carnauba wax until it dissolves into a solvent. Let the carnauba cool a little, but don't let it harden too much. It should be just cool enough that you won't burn yourself by touching it.

Wipe off the surface of the bare wood with a cloth.

Dip a small paint brush into a can of paint thinner and apply a small coat onto the wood. Let the paint thinner dry completely before applying the wax.

Dip a clean cloth into the carnauba wax and apply a thin coat on the wood. Make sure the coat is evenly distributed.

Buff the wood with a clean cloth to bring it to a shine.

Reapply a second coat of carnauba wax, and buff after the second coat.

Apply pure tung oil or other finish to maintain the glossy shine and protect the carnauba wax polish.


Keep the wax away from flames, as it is flammable.

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About the Author

Krista Martin has been writing professionally since 2005. She has written for magazines, newspapers and websites including Live Listings, "Homes & Living" magazine and the "Metro Newspaper." Martin holds an honors Bachelor of Arts in English from Memorial University of Newfoundland and a Master of Journalism from the University of Westminster.