There are many options for finishing wood furniture. Most people know that to achieve a durable finish on your furniture, you should seal the piece with a protective sealer such as polyurethane. But for an extra durable and beautiful appearance, you can take the extra step of waxing your wood furniture. Applying a coat of wax to the furniture will prevent your carefully applied finish coat from sustaining scratches and stains, and can even lend a lustrous sheen to the wood. Learning how to wax furniture requires only a few simple tools and a little time.
Seal the wood furniture first. Wax is not well suited for use as a finish coat itself, but rather as a further protective layer over an existing finish. Make sure your wood furniture has an existing finish coat such as polyurethane, varnish, lacquer, or shellac.
Clean the furniture of any dust. Before applying the wax to the wood furniture, rub it down with a clean cloth to remove any dust and debris. If not removed, this dust can mix into the wax and mar the appearance of the finished piece.
Apply some wax to a clean microfiber cloth. The type of wax used for finishing wood furniture is called "paste wax" or "finishing wax," and can be purchased at most hardware stores. It is best applied using a clean microfiber cloth, onto which it can be dabbed straight from the container. The only significant mistake you can make when applying the wax is laying it on too thickly. A thick coat of wax will dry unevenly and create a splotchy or hazy appearance. For this reason, apply only a little wax at a time to the cloth. For better control over the amount of wax you apply, you can place a small chunk of paste wax into a piece of cheesecloth and then wrap the cheesecloth into a ball around the wax. The slow seeping of the wax through the cheesecloth will prevent you from applying too much.
Apply the wax to the wood furniture. To apply the paste wax, simply rub it into the wood surface with the cloth using smooth, circular motions. Work from one end of the furniture to the other, and aim to apply a thin, even coat. You do not need to apply the wax in any particular relation to the wood's grain.
Allow the paste wax to dry. After application, the paste wax should take about 20 minutes to dry, or a bit longer in chilly or poorly ventilated spaces. You can test for dryness by touching the wax with your finger in an inconspicuous location; it should no longer have any tacky feeling.
Buff the waxed furniture with a clean cloth. After the wax has dried, it will need to be buffed into the furniture. This process imparts a lustrous, beautiful sheen to the wood. To buff the wax, use a soft, clean cloth to rub the wax in a gentle, circular motion all across the furniture's surface. The softer the cloth you use for buffing, the more luster you can achieve in the finished appearance. Scraps of old tee shirts work well for buffing wax. You will know when you are finished buffing when the furniture no longer improves in sheen as you buff.