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Wax or oil or ? finish for boxwood


Will Dikel

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Greetings, fellow carvers,

 

I recently finished a boxwood carving (3D photos posted in new work section) and don't know what I should do for a finish. I have reviewed different opinions in the forum and am still pretty confused. I am looking for something that will protect the wood (especially from cracking in the dry Minnesota winters), be smooth to the touch (I sanded down to 12000 grit with Micromesh), and won't alter the color much or at all.

 

I have heard conflicting information about linseed oil- whether unboiled is better in the long run despite taking a long time to dry, vs. boiled linseed oil. Some have recommended Watko oil.

 

Wax advice on this site has included Briwax, Mohawk Blue Label Paste wax and neutral wax shoe polish. The carving doesn't have a lot of nooks and crannies, so I suspect that wax might a good choice.

 

The Masatoshi Netuske book describes the wax that he used (p. 50):

 

"Ibotaro, a wax which imparts a fine gloss, is made from the secretion of an insect that infests the ibota plant. It is classed as a vegetable or tree wax to distinguish it from bee's wax. I impregnate a cloth with melted ibotaro and use it to rub the netsuke. (Thirty minutes)."

 

I looked on line and couldn't find a source of this wax. I found a picture, with a bad translation at

 

http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=e...6lr%3D%26sa%3DG

 

Has anyone heard of this, used this or know where to get it?

 

Any info and advice would be much appreciated.

 

Regards,

 

Will

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Ibota source:

 

Namikawa heibei ...

 

http://www.namikawa-ltd.co.jp/cgi-bin/list_e.cgi

 

halfway down the page under the heading of migaki, its used as a burnishing lube in the final stages of polishing the back surfaces of the Japanese Sword, it is also used as the final "finish" on the plain wooden storage mounts for the swords.

 

 

Samuel

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Guest ford hallam

The attached image shows the stuff as supplied by Namikawa. The solid lump is a piece of refined Ibota wax and is apparently very hard to come by. It is surprisingly soft and crumbles easily between your fingers. I get the impression that it is some sort of residue from the more complete refining process that yeilds the solid wax. It does however, seem to contain enough wax to allow for a useful light wax application. Obviously the more you rub on the more wax you'll apply. You can make up a fine powder and apply it to the wood surface using a soft cloth or a bristle brush. The left-overs can be reused and I would suggest keeping a cloth and brush solely for use with this particular wax.

 

The refined wax is extremely hard and is quite difficult to apply. It is, incidentally, the traditional finish for Japanese coloured metalwork. A suitable alternative is Renaissance wax, which is a specially formulated micro-crystalline wax. I have also used it on wood to achieve a satisfactory glow and protective finish.

 

I would also like to add that Namikawa Heibei are a real pleasure to do business with. They are utterly reliable, trustworthy and very quick. They can deal with e-mail enquiries in English and take visa card payment. ( which is not always an option in Japan ).

 

regards, Ford

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Thanks, Samuel and Ford, for taking the time to send me the info on Ibota wax.

 

I am still in a quandary about my first question- what is the best finish for boxwood carvings- oil or wax or some other finish, and, if wax is the best finish, is Ibota wax the best one to use?

 

I went to the local woodworkers supply store, where the "finish guy" suggested Antiquax, a blend of beeswax and carnuba wax.

 

What to do?

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Thanks, Samuel and Ford, for taking the time to send me the info on Ibota wax.

 

I am still in a quandary about my first question- what is the best finish for boxwood carvings- oil or wax or some other finish, and, if wax is the best finish, is Ibota wax the best one to use?

 

I went to the local woodworkers supply store, where the "finish guy" suggested Antiquax, a blend of beeswax and carnuba wax.

 

What to do?

 

There isn't any "best" finish.

 

But I would say that wax is about as easy a finish as it gets, and I would second the recommendation for Rennaissance Wax.

 

It's very good stuff, superior to any other paste wax I've tried, including Briwax, Liberon, and numerous carnauba and carnauba-blend waxes from assorted manufacturers. A little goes a long way, it doesn't fingerprint, it's colorless, very easy to apply and imparts a nice low satin sheen.

 

I doubt that Ibota wax has any real advantage over it, save for the specialized requirements needed by makers of Japanese swords and sword fittings, colored metalwork as mentioned by Ford, and so on.

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Thanks, Musket.

 

Janel gave me some Renaissance wax, so I'm ready to take the plunge. After hearing a few horror stories about linseed oil (when wood is spalted, or of varying porousity), I will feel more comfortable with wax. Does anyone know how many layers I will need to apply in order to ensure that a piece won't crack in a dry winter home?

 

Will

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just FYI. My first netsuke, the duck from Mr Sterlings pdf was soaked in danish penetrating oil for several hours. It turned out looking great. A couple of days later I decided to add some carnauba-blend wax and the end grain ate this wax up and turn a heathly shade of black. After beating my head on the floor, I managed to get about 75% of the black removed and finally decided to chaulk it up to a learning experience...

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Hi Nebraskarod,

 

Did you use a new and clean brush for the wax application, or was the brush used for other things prior (like shoe polish)? Even if the brush has been used for clear shoe polish but has applied it over colored polish, it will pick up enogh dark to damage wood appearance. I've had bad experiences in the past with wax if the brush wasn't absolutely reserved for clear wax on uncolored wood only. The wax tends to dissolve anything from the surface and/or prior uses and, and of course Murphy's Laws take over from there to place the bad stuff right where it will do the most damage.

 

I stick to linseed oil finishes, and occasionally the renaissance wax. I only apply the wax after the last linseed oil application has dried for several weeks.

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