Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Beeswaxing my speakers

I do like using proper old-fashioned beeswax polish; hard wax with just a little turpentine to soften it out (and intensify that wonderful aroma). I always use the Jonelle brand from John Lewis - they carry it in Waitrose too these days, and the real thing is so difficult to find in other ranges. They all seem to prefer those aerosols with a dreadful wet spray and not exactly a lot of wax, just useless.

The key to successful waxing is not to do it too often; it does need to build up slowly over the years. The polish hardens very slowly with warm temperatures and if you rush building up the layers the wax is simply too deep to dry out.

And when you apply the wax, you need to wait some time before buffing it. On a hot summer's day 30 minutes is enough, but a very cool Easter weekend like the one we have just had requires around 3 - 4 hours. But as with so many jobs, the waiting is worth it.

If only I had a houseful of furniture that would take a proper polish but sadly I don't, just a few pieces. Thankfully my hi-fi is all real wood, and as music is very important to me anyway it is always a real pleasure when spring comes around and all that red cherry gets it's annual wash and brush up.

It's getting easier with these speakers; I've had them for a good number of years now and the natural tone of the wood is starting to deepen and intensify. Not that well captured in the photo I'm afraid; it really has gone the most wonderful red. There's only one problem; should I use the speaker grills or not? I prefer to, as they reduce the temptation visitors have to poke the tweeter.

I have a second setup upstairs, far older. But the cabinets for those speakers, and all the boxes too (yes, they used to make those of wood in those days) are all teak, and a quick wipe with teak oil keeps them all looking just so. Far less effort though, and I think that a bit of elbow grease seems more than a fair exchange for such a satisfying end result.


Rebecca Davis Winters said...

What an interesting practice! I had never thought of using beeswax on speakers or other home furnishings... but it makes a lot of sense.

I carve wooden Rune pieces, which I preserve with beeswax. It does take a lot of time for the wax to "cure", but it's well worth it. If you want to see a picture, here is a pine set I made several years ago:

Kathleen said...

It's not that unusual to use beeswax on furniture, Rebecca. Most antique furniture will have been beeswax polished from new; that's one of the main elements in the lovely patina you find with older pieces.

Stephen said...

I've been beaten to it! Yes, beeswax has been the polish of choice for as long as people have been polishing wood. It's only the modern synthetic wood finishes that have largely made it redundant sadly.