How to Make Green Wood Sealer

Recycle old candles into a great green wood sealer using paint thinner.
Recycle old candles into a great green wood sealer using paint thinner. (Image: Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images)

There are many advantages to working with green wood, but keeping green wood from drying out before you can start your project can be a challenge. By slowing down the rate of water evaporation from the wood or equalizing the rate of evaporation, many of the drying problems can be eliminated. Several commercial products are available to do this, but here is an easy way to make a paintable wax emulsion to protect your green wood blanks from drying out before you are ready to use them.

Things You'll Need

  • Paraffin wax candles (new or used)
  • Large ziplock bag
  • Hammer
  • Small food scale
  • Hot plate
  • Small pot or saucepan (2 qt.)
  • Paint thinner
  • 1 quart glass canning jar with lid

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Gather up as many old candles as you can spare and place then in a large ziplock or plastic bag.

Using a hammer and medium force, break the candles into smaller pieces. Remove the remainder of the wick and extraneous paper or metal before continuing.

Place the plastic bag filled with the broken candle pieces on a food scale and note the weight in ounces. Write this number down for future reference.

Heat an old saucepan on a hot plate or stove top. Add the broken candle pieces to the warm saucepan and increase the heat until the candle pieces start to melt. Continue to mix in pieces of broken candle until all are melted.

Place the glass jar on the food scale and pour in enough paint thinner to equal one-fourth of the weight of the broken candles. For example, if the candles weigh 8 ounces, pour in 2 ounces of paint thinner. Remove the jar from the scale.

Pour melted wax into the glass jar with the paint thinner. Screw the lid on the jar and shake gently to mix and blend the wax and paint thinner. Your green wood sealer is now ready to apply with a brush, or simply dip small pieces into the glass jar.

Tips & Warnings

  • The paint thinner allows the wax from the candles to expand and contract as the wood moves and doesn't flake off like it would if you used straight paraffin. Stir or shake the mixture before using. It is best to use an old saucepan for melting the wax. These can be easily obtained at a thrift store or yard sale.
  • If the wax settles and solidifies over time, place the jar in a saucepan filled with hot water for a few minutes.
  • Another quick method is to dilute white glue with water to a 50:50 mixture and spread over the ends of the green wood with a brush.
  • Read and follow all manufacturer's warnings and guidelines before using their products. Keep paint thinner away from stove tops or any open flames. Do not pour unused or excess wax down the sink; rather put into a garbage can or disposable container.

References

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