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View Diary: IAN: Good Morning, January 17, 2013! (36 comments)

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  •  OK, I guess I decided to wait and see if anybody (4+ / 0-)

    asked, 8-). (I knew I'd have to elaborate a bit.)

    Basically:

    Wood Floor Wax
    1 cup olive, almond or walnut oil
    1/2 cup vodka
    30 - 40 grams grated beeswax
    40 - 55 grams carnuba wax (depends on hardness desired).

    Put oil and the waxes into a wide-mouth glass jar or tin can and set in pot of simmering water.  Stir gently until waxes are dissolved. Remove from heat and add vodka, mixing well. This "mixing well" is a very exciting step, allow about 6 inches of headroom in the container before you add the vodka. Stir VERY vigorously, until all activity has ceased. Allow to harden. Use a rag to rub into the wood. If the rag "drags" too much, dip it into a tiny bit of oil. This wax is "sticky" until it has "hardened" enough to buff. 2-24 hours. Then buff.

    We were working to re-finish the whole house (2 br, LR, central hallway), for sale. Seamless, short-length mostly-oak hardwood throughout. We started with the assumption that we would do the usual plastic surfacing; and we did do the MBR, twice, with great difficulty (getting all the brush/mop marks out, bubbles out, getting the surface to dry before it fills up with dust particles, and on and on). Also, the VOCs with standard plastic-based finishes are simply horrendous, they were making us actively ill. And it was getting later in the year, we had moved out of the house, into the big SCA tent and it was starting to rain by the middle of October. And it was getting cold enough that we weren't going to be able to get the plastic to dry! We tried doing the LR, once, and all the problems that came up in the MBR recurred, some even worse.  So we decided to LOOK for something lower-tech and less toxic. We found this

    So, I played "weird sister" in the kitchen, while DH stripped and sanded, and sanded, and sanded, and counted odd-bits (not-oak sticks), and sanded some more. This was around 60yo OAK, most of it, and he found individual sticks that had cupped and were holding very tenaciously to whatever the original finish had been. When we TRIED the varathane finish, the red oak sticks would open their little pores and bubble the surface! Worse than the MBR, with a better grade of plastic.

    So we went ARGH! and went looking for a better way. A non-plastic way. And found one. We did a test in the MBR (after we'd sanded off the plastic, AGAIN.) And the results were fantastic. So we started moving in from the tent and drying out everything, and continued with the kiddo's bedroom, I think, and ended in the LR. NO issues overlapping at doorways, or any other divisions! NO poisonous VOCs! NO impossible overlapping strokes! Practically no time constraints! You can do half a room one day and the other half a week later, and there will be no signs of where the two jobs meet. The biggest problem we had was finding buffing bonnets for Sears' blinkety-blank non-standard-sized small buffer!  

    On-going maintenance is REALLY simple!

    1. IF you happen to drip or slop liquids, you have at least 10-15 min before you are in danger of water-spotting! That's the carnuba wax's contribution.

    2. If you have areas of high-wear, it's easy to do spot-refinishes. Teh DH discovered, by accident, that spray furniture polish will take the beeswax surface right off! The spray wax stuff has a solvent in it, meant to leave a layer of wax behind on the furniture item. IF you wipe immediately, it takes off the (floor) wax that's already there! Clean and/or sand as needed, and re-apply the beeswax-wax.

    3. We have machine-washable area rugs at our points of highest wear, outside the bathroom doorway, and the "foyer" space just inside the front door. We have area rugs down wherever computer chairs live. That's about it.

    4. Misc. Let's see... we have natural golden beeswax available, and the finish on the floors exactly matches the light gold of our oak panelling. It's definitely a satin sheen, not even semi-gloss. Bought the Carnuba from local fancy woodworking chain (Woodcrafters, OR). Had a whole 225g block from the first experimenting, so that's what decided how big this batch was going to be. We'll have lots of leftovers, some to take with us, some to leave for "teh new kids." CHEAP vodka, Potter's, 40% alcohol, FYI. CHEAP olive oil will do; we use Costco's EVO Montolivo, like for the deep fryer. The container I'm melting wax in for this batch is a 3.5x6 rectangle, x9.25 inches tall Bertoli olive oil STEEL can. This is a quadruple batch. The waxes, very bulky, are filling about the bottom inch-and-ahalf of the can. Gonna waterbath in my smaller stewing pan, 9inch diameter. Will store the wax in a 32oz plastic yoghurt container, with lid. Local yoghurt factory uses really good quality containers, they stay soft and flexible without cracking for years and years.

    Will check "headroom" and amount produced by 4x batch and post later. Feel free to ask any questions that occur, I tried pretty hard to cover everything I could think of.

    "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

    by chimene on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 04:09:54 PM PST

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