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Will Beeswax Stain if used as an End Grain Sealer?

CMStewart

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Hey,

I bought some all natural Beeswax, and I used it on the end grain of certain pieces of wood, which I intend to use eventually for lutherie. I used it on a set of back & sides made of rosewood, and now (a couple days later) am nervous that it will stain the ends, and particularly with the side pieces I will need to use the whole length to cover the sides. So if they do end up stained, it may be visible when used. I just feel sort of uncomfortable about it all right now.

I have read that it can stain the wood, possibly. And when I start prepping it for use, will the surface with the wax come right off, or will it seep deep into the wood? I just don't have a lot of experience with this, and am looking for encouragement and/or advice. I probably should have bought a specific end grain sealer, but this is what I did. Any advice is welcome. Thank you all.

- Colby
 

Arn213

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The wax or any wax emulsion end sealer will “deepen” the wood color tone from it’s original raw color. For example if you use it on raw maple, the whiter sapwood will turn into a yellower hue. On any rosewood say if the color is a tint, it will turn into the shade color value; if the color in the raw is medium brown, it will become dark brown hue.

The wax when applied to the end grain, having natural pores, it will weep into those voids and surface. It will not go deep, depending on the species between 1/8” to 1/4” on dimensional lumber. More porous wood will require more applications of the wax end sealer.

I have tried every type of end sealer whether it is paint, film finish (poly, urethane, shellac), wax types, glues, oil, etc. My criteria for guitar sets or any guitar building lumber is that I want to use something clear to seal the end grain so I can see the grain orientation. Secondly, I prefer something for easy application. Thirdly, I need the best prevention barrier formulated to control moisture loss, prevent and minimize end checks and splits as the wood seasons and dry, especially on guitar sets as they can be a costly investment. What I have stuck to and proven to be reliable and dependable is Anchorseal original version for over 2 decades- not on just guitar building woods, but on dimensional lumber, smaller logs and green blanks. I prefer the original Anchorseal as it fairly goes in thicker and in my experience at least fairs a lot better with controlling checking compare to the other version of Anchor Seal 2 which is thinner.

Just to rewind back to application. I actually use a “Q-tip” (non plastic shaft) to apply the anchor seal to guitar sets. I use the width of the cotton to spread a band of it across the surface grain and for the ends. No need to use a brush or a foam brush. For dimensional lumber, I do use the blue workshop paper towel to apply the wax.

On a final note, you shouldn’t count on maximizing the full length of any tops or backs/side sets or billets. You have to allow additional length/slack for any possible natural checking or splits (some of these checks you don’t see especially when it is unsurfaced and after it has been surfaced or during/after assembly)- trim ends accordingly. I would never use that tight of a tolerance especially on greener wood or anything in the 30% moisture content range. For one there will be microscopic checks present.

Arn
PS- see photo sample below of raw Rio rose with Anchorseal apply so you have an idea of how the raw color reacts to the wax sealer.

9F039336-CA6A-4B72-8792-F04EFB80D4CB.jpeg
 
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Mike1950

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The wax or any wax emulsion end sealer will “deepen the wood color tone from it’s original raw color. For example if you use it on raw maple, the whiter sapwood will turn into a yellower hue. On any rosewood say if the color is a tint, it will turn into the shade color value; if the color in the raw is medium brown, it will become dark brown hue.

The wax when applied to the end grain, having natural pores, it will weep into those voids and surface. It will not go deep, depending on the species between 1/8” to 1/4” on dimensional lumber. More porous wood will require more applications of the wax end sealer.

I have tried every type of end sealer whether it is paint, film finish (poly, urethane, shellac), wax types, glues, oil, etc. My criteria for guitar sets or any guitar building lumber is that I want to use something clear to seal the end grain so I can see the grain orientation. Secondly, I prefer something for easy application. Thirdly, I need the best prevention barrier formulated to control moisture loss, prevent and minimize end checks and splits as the wood seasons and dry, especially on guitar sets as they can be a costly investment. What I have stuck to and proven to be reliable and dependable is Anchorseal original version for over 2 decades- not on just guitar building woods, but on dimensional lumber, smaller logs and green blanks. I prefer the original Anchorseal as it fairly goes in thicker and in my experience at least fairs a lot better with controlling checking compare to the other version of Anchor Seal 2 which is thinner.

Just to rewind back to application. I actually use a “Q-tip” (non plastic shaft) to apply the anchor seal to guitar sets. I use the width of the cotton to spread a band of it across the surface grain and for the ends. No need to use a brush or a foam brush. For dimensional lumber, I do use the blue workshop paper towel to apply the wax.

On a final note, you shouldn’t count on maximizing the full length of any tops or backs/side sets or billets. You have to allow additional length/slack for any possible natural checking or splits (some of these checks you don’t see especially when it is unsurfaced and after it has been surfaced or during/after assembly). I would never use that tight of a tolerance especially on greener wood or anything in the 30% moisture content range. For one there will be microscopic checks present.

Arn
why would you not use a brush or a foam roller?
 

Arn213

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why would you not use a brush or a foam roller?
Personal preference. Most of what I have are in dimensional lumber form and I would say about 90-95% I get usually lands between 4% to 20% moisture content (as dry and season as much as possible as typically it takes a good minimum of 10 years to properly use lumber or sets to build instruments)- very seldom I get partial green to green lumber (some short logs, turning blanks and billets usually domestic). I never use a brush, but have used “foam” brush for bigger pieces in block form. Never had a need to use a foam roller which makes sense for you on huge burls and slabs like you harvest Mike.
 
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Mike1950

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Personal preference. Most of what I have are in dimensional lumber form and I would say about 90-95% I get usually lands between 4% to 20% moisture content (as dry and season as much as possible as typically it takes a good minimum of 10 years to properly use lumber or sets to build instruments)- very seldom I get partial green to green lumber (some short logs, turning blanks and billets usually domestic). I never use a brush, but have used “foam” brush for bigger pieces in block form. Never had a need to use a foam roller which makes sense for you on huge burls and slabs like you harvest Mike.
I seal a few things but most burl I do not. 90% of it goes to be stabilized and they hate sealer. I will ship green burl wrapped in shrink wrap- new owner can do as they please but if I sealed a crate of maple burl- it would be a customer lost.
 

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Non of my experience is in luthery so, adjust as needed. I've used beeswax and usually have melted it in with a torch or heat gun to get good penetration. I also do as Mark says and always make fresh end cuts to size so any wax is removed. But, I also make a finsh with 50/50 beeswax/linseed oil. Beeswax is very different than the parafin based sealers and will blend well with most oil based finishes and if there is any change in hue from the wax, it shouldn't be any different than the change you get from applying most finishes. A water based finish, I would expect issues.

You may also be able to use a solvent to remove most of the wax. Something like citrus solvent maybe. Acetone certainly but I have no idea what affect that might have on the wood, especially Rosewood.... do couple tests on scraps first.
 

Albert Kiebert

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My thought is that it might not penetrate very much, if at all seeing as most rosewoods are tight grained. In the future I would to a test on a small piece of the same wood to see what the sealer would do. If your piece is oversized then you possibly can cut your needed size and not use any of the sealed parts.
If what you have sealed does stain perhaps it will turn out as a nice accent on the edges ??
 

CMStewart

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Hey, thanks everyone for sharing.

Given the dimensions for sides, especially with certain species (rarer ones), it's not always easy to find pieces that are larger than you will need. But I certainly get the point. It would be best to be able to trim things down to the needed size... in an ideal circumstance. I may just have to rely on a wider end graft, in cases like this.

Since I've already applied beeswax, I have a follow up question about it. The beeswax I used is much like Jelly. So far, it hasn't dried completely the way normal wax does. I don't have a lot of experience with it. Will it always keep that consistency, or will it ever harden, to where I can touch it without it coming off or smearing?

Arn, thanks for your suggestions. I will look into the anchorseal for future projects. I actually came across this product recently from Heritage Natural Finishes. Has anyone ever heard of it? https://www.heritagenaturalfinishes.com/SearchResults.asp?Cat=33
 
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