I’m connected to a stone information web group –http://aboutstone.org/conversa/ – basically, anyone who signs up to this group can post a stone working problem or comment or general stone information, and the rest of the people on the list are free to respond, or not–this list is made up of stone artists from all over the world.
A recent discussion on wax finishes may be of interest following Patrick’s presentation at the last meeting:
Original Question to Group:
Someone, I’m sorry my memory fails me, mentioned polishing with bee’s wax. Heating the piece and so on. Does anyone know exactly how this is done? I have just tomorrow to finish up everything and the native woman piece needs some extra protection.
Again in the UK, I use Renaissance Wax,
Seems to work well, although I have not been using it too long…
Here in the UK we can obtain something called marble wax. I think it’s intended for marble floors and the like. It is very soft and can be applied with a brush. I don’t heat the stone beforehand, as the solvent for this wax seems to carry it into the stone anyway. When it’s left to dry for a while it can be buffed up to a good shine without too much effort and brings out the colour of the stone very well .
Another finish I use on porous stone like alabaster is vaseline oil. I get this in Italy, but it might be available elsewhere. It can be applied with brush or rag. It is entirely colourless and doesn’t yellow. The makers says it is so pure it can be used for culinary purposes, but I don’t know why anyone would want to!
Whenever I use wax to add patina to plaster (obviously more porous than marbles) I dilute early coats in turpentine (melted in double pan) as well as warming piece SLOWLY in kiln/oven to aid soaking in. Sometimes you get thicker stickier patches – wipe them with turpentine rag before next coat. I tend to avoid shoe polish these days – it has solids which are not absorbed into the surface and so can lead to an easily damaged surface.
Good luck tomorrow.
FYI if you are doing a stone peace pipe I don’t recommend using the wax as a finish. as I have had complaints after from native elders they could taste and smell the wax in the tobaco
I don’t seal my pieces with anything before I use the wax, or the wax won’t penetrate.
I use a heat gun or small torch:
1. heat up about a 3″ diameter area,
2. smear wax on – bees wax or shoe wax or 1/2 1/2 mix
3. let it cool a bit,
4. pre-polish – actually it’s more like remove extra wax
5. polish with a soft cloth.
I’m usually too cheap to buy beeswax – let’s be honest here – it’s way too dear here – but shoe wax is cheap, lasts a long time and looks great. I only polish to about a 350 grit on faces so they don’t look too shiny. places where I want a good sheen I polish to 600. The first time I ever saw anyone using wax was watching a video of the carvers from Zimbabwe – they dipped an entire piece into a pot of water, let it heat up (to a boil, I think) took it out and smeared the wax all over it and polished it. I’m way too lazy for that, and don’t have the facilities for such a thing. but when I had the job of taking care of and repairing a huge collection of Zimbabwean sculptures for a few years at a friend’s outside sculpture park, their polishes lasted at least a year – even out in the harsh NM wind and brutal sun. so you can imagine how long they last inside.
Use the warm wax to coat the surface of the stone. Let the wax cool just a bit. Use a buffing wheel to buff the wax to a shine. Try using a buffing wheel on an electric drill for tight spots. Worst case scenario, use a white cotton t-shirt/rag to do the buffing by hand!
For an excellent finish on stone, first apply a color enhancer/sealer to the surface. Once the sealer dries, apply the wax as mentioned above. It will leave a deeply colored stone surface with a glass-like shine.
I was taught to use bees wax and clear shoe polish in roughly equal parts. Heat the stone with a heat gun a little, heat the surface of the bees was and polish, brushing up the melted part with a paint brush. Then heat an area of the stone until the waxes soak into the surface. Don’t let it build up on the stone. If it soaks in too much, reheat and coat it until there is a thin sheen on the surface. Let it cool a bit, then polish with a soft cloth. The wax should bring out the color and produce a shine. If it builds up so much a finger nail easily scrapes a bit off, heat it and wipe with a soft cloth. For added hardness, add a coat of clear shoe polish or carnuba car wax.
I hope this helps.
CAR WAX WORKS IN A PINCH.
I just have to tell everyone that the bee’s wax is awesome stuff. I polishes or at least looks polished where I didn’t sand past 220. It was my intention to leave the hair just a deep natural color with any shine. I buffed a small portion by hand and it started to gleam. The polished part is even better than with the akimi, way more shine than the tin oxide. I feel it is more than worth the money, a pound for $12.
Thanks again everyone.