Cockrum’s DIY Hardwax Oil Finish

I started experimenting with different finishes such as Rubio Monocoat, Odie’s Oil, and Osmo Finishes. Although they provide great results, they all seemed really expensive to me.

I really like the idea of a once-and-done wipe-on finish that has both penetration into the wood and is able to be polished. I researched searching several different finish recipes (Sam Maloof’s, Danish Oil, Wood Butter, etc.) but wasn’t getting the results that I wanted (like the commercial hardwax oil finishes) so I went rogue and started trying a few different things.

After 3 tries, I settled on a paste finish that contains Tung Oil, Boiled Linseed Oil, and two different hard waxes (Candelilla and Carnauba). I added some mineral spirits to keep it in a soft, easy-to-apply form. The mineral sprits should evaporate shortly after application leaving only the hard waxes and oils behind.

Ingredients (by weight):

2 oz – Pure Tung Oil

2 oz – Boiled Linseed Oil

.5 oz – Candelilla Wax Pellets

.5 oz – Carnauba Wax Flakes

2 oz Mineral Spirits

The Tung Oil and Linseed oil are mixed and brought to 165 degrees and the Candelilla wax is added while stirring. When that dissolved, bring the mixture to 185 degrees and stir in the Carnauba wax. After that dissolves, remove from heat and stir in the mineral spirits. Pour into safe containers (I use these 4oz metal containers from Amazon). I use an inexpensive laboratory stirrer / hot plate that I got on Amazon.

I’m continuing to experiment with other mixtures and plan to provide a future recipe for a liquid version that uses a mixed-in hardener.

Here is what it looks like on some Veneer Inlay that I made with my Xtool D1 Pro laser.

WARNING: Make at your own risk. You should always wear protective eyewear, gloves, clothing, and respirator when mixing chemicals in an appropriate well-ventilated area. Since this contains Boiled Linseed Oil, leaving it to oxidize on rags may lead to spontaneous combustion just like other oil-based finishes.

4 thoughts on “Cockrum’s DIY Hardwax Oil Finish

  • February 3, 2024 at 3:34 PM

    Thanks for this! what’s the dry time/cure time? Same as name brand HWO’s? Looking forward to the liquid version with the mixed-in hardener!

  • February 3, 2024 at 4:34 PM

    It dries to the touch in a few hours. To fully cure is probably a couple of weeks.

    I have no idea if it is “the same” as the commercial products but it works for me and seems to be harder than other finishes.

  • March 12, 2024 at 9:12 PM

    sounds good to me.

  • April 3, 2024 at 10:33 AM

    Hello! Thanks very much for your post, I’m also ‘hot on the trail’ for a shop-made finish that compares with the expensive wax oil two part products. The part I am ‘missing’ at the moment is how to incorporate a dryer in a separate solution…but being an hobby woodworker, the two weeks to cure is not really an issue as the workpiece is dry to the touch overnight…it is the polymerization that takes time and provides improved hardness. I use Limonene solvent (food grade from Amazon) as it provides the same function as mineral with a nice orange aroma (especially good for making wax). One extra thing I include is some Pine resin (also from Amazon) to improve the sheen…about .25 part of the amount of hard wax you use. Adjust to personal taste. All the Best, -Veteran ’66-68 P.S. When you get the dryer thing figured out, sure would appreciate a shout!


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