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Creating a waterproof wax, please help

  1. Jan 2, 2016 #1
    Hello I found a recipe for making a type of waterproof wax using beeswax and paraffin wax, and I plan to coat this type of wax with a piece of wood. Does anyone know with this type of wax, after coating the piece of wood, will the wax still prevent the wood from expanding in water?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 2, 2016 #2
    It should be possible to completely cover your wood with a thick enough waterproof layer so that water cannot get in to the wood at all.
    Your wax recipe might work, all waxes are insoluble in water, but you might find that in warm temperature the wax melts off of the wood.
    Protection of wood from water has always been necessary for wooden boats, and for that purpose more durable form of protection are traditionally applied.
    Bitumen and varnishes are common, and varnishes are also often applied to wooden furniture to protect it from water damage.
  4. Jan 2, 2016 #3
    Do you know of any other environmental substances that can be used as waterproof coating without effusing/deriving from any toxic chemicals.
  5. Jan 2, 2016 #4
    Things like tar and bitumen are derivatives of naturally occurring substances and not particularly toxic.
    Consumer grade stuff will have been somewhat refined, but nothing dangerous added to it.
    Tar made from coal could contain some trace amounts of heavy metals though, so definitely you don't want to ingest it, though skin contact should not be a risk.
    Varnishes on the other hand are mostly synthetic and may include solvents of which some could be risky either as a fire hazard or just plain toxic fumes.if there is not adequate ventilation while you are working with it.
  6. Jan 3, 2016 #5

    jim mcnamara

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    Staff: Mentor

    Polyethylene glycol 1000 (PEG) is non-toxic. If you immerse wood in the stuff for a period of several weeks, it will become impregnated with the the stuff, and no longer exchanges water vapor (or liquid water) with the environment. It no longer looks like wood wood, it looks more like plastic, IMO.

    Reference: get a copy of B Hoadley 'Understanding Wood'. It explains this process in detail. Plus, 'waterproofing' wood is hard to do. Some very thick bar top finishes actually completely seal the wood, like PEG, but are a thick, gorpy goo that requires a catalyst and special cleanup. And look like, well, a bar top. Cheaper, too. None of this stuff is bargain basement material.


    And note: when you use an epoxy finish that is considered 'food safe' when cured, it still may emit VOC's during curing. Once completely cured it is no longer a problem. @rootone cautions are something to note with most wood finishes, even some water-base ones.
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