In lieu of this week’s Photo Thursday (which would be a day late at this point anyway), here is the first installment in a new post series: Herbal How-To. Unlike the other series I’ve started, this one isn’t necessarily going to recur on a weekly basis, just whenever I have an herbal recipe or technique to share.
This particular project came about because I wanted to find a good wax designed for fine wood furniture to treat my new spinning wheel, because while she is definitely in good shape her wood looks thirsty in places. I already rubbed her lightly with jojoba oil her first day here, but wanted something more protective. Ashford sells a spinning wheel wax, of course, but it costs about $25 per can, and I was sure I could do just as well (or better) with all the herbal products and resources available to me at my job. I also thought a good recipe for an herbal, chemical-free fine furniture wax might be useful to some of my readers who have used (or new, for that matter) spinning wheels of their own. As an added bonus, this recipe contains lavender essential oil, which—in addition to its relaxing effects and fabulous fragrance–is a moth deterrent, and thus perfect for using in areas where you’ll be working with wool. (We have a very lavender-intensive household!)
I found this recipe in Herbal Housekeeping: Simple Recipes for a Naturally Clean Abode, by Sandy Maine. It calls for only a few ingredients: 1/4 cup carnauba wax, 2 tablespoons beeswax, 1 1/4 cup olive oil (I used extra virgin), and 1 teaspoon lavender essential oil. Carnauba wax is a hard wax from the Brazilian wax palm tree, frequently used in lipsticks and furniture waxes.
Melt the waxes over a low heat with the olive oil, stirring frequently. (As you can see, I don’t use a double boiler, but I do stand right over my pot watching it and stirring like crazy. You definitely don’t want to burn the wax!)
Then, before the wax begins to harden, pour it into your containers, which can be glass, plastic or tin. Be careful pouring the hot wax, as it can burn you and is very messy; I recommend using a funnel (which I didn’t do this time, as you can see).
Let the polish sit undisturbed until thoroughly cooled, and use as you would any furniture wax.
Oh, and one more thing: this recipe made far more wax than I had intended, so you might be happy halving it. (This way, though, I have enough to give a tin to a friend!)