Bring out the natural beauty of wood furniture with paste wax.

How to Finish Furniture With Paste Wax

by Heather Montgomery

If you love the look of natural wood grain and wood furniture in its natural state, paste wax is the right choice to finish your furniture. Paste wax dries to a hard sheen that accentuates the natural grain in furniture. While the process of applying paste wax is laborious, the results are a beautiful, durable finish. Apply paste wax every few years, though you may need to refinish the furniture sooner if your children and family members do not use coasters and are hard on your furniture.

Sand the furniture with 400-grit sandpaper to remove grease, debris and defects in the wood. Wipe it down with a tack cloth to remove the sawdust produced by sanding. Sand with the grain in the wood, not crosswise to it.

Dip a clean fiber-free cotton rag in the paste wax and wipe from end to end of the furniture working with the grain. Apply the wax in long strokes with the grain, picking up more wax from the container as needed.

Allow the paste wax to sit on the furniture for at least 10 to 15 minutes after application. If you allow the piece to cure overnight, it might make buffing easier.

Use a buffing cloth or an electric buffer to buff out the paste wax to a smooth finish. Buff in the direction of the grain using long strokes from end to end of the furniture piece. If the piece is to shiny for your liking, rub the piece with No. 0000 steel wool to dull the finish, and buff again with the cloth or buffer.

Repeat these steps to apply a second or third coat to the furniture. Allow plenty time between coats for the finish to cure. Additional coats offer more protection, as this type of finish is not as tough as varnish or polyurethane.

Items you will need

  • 400-grit sandpaper
  • Tack cloth
  • Cloth
  • Paste wax
  • Buffing cloth
  • Electric buffer
  • No. 0000 Steel wool
  • Mineral spirits


  • Clean wax from hands and surfaces other than the furniture piece with mineral spirits.
  • You can choose a wax in a natural, clear finish or darker finish depending on your preferences.


  • Keep paste wax and mineral spirits out of your children’s reach at all times. Soiled cloths and buffing pads should be stored in a metal container full of water to prevent combustion.

About the Author

Based in Lakeland, FL., Heather Montgomery has been writing a popular celebrity parenting blog and several parenting and relationship articles since 2011. Her work also appears on eHow and Everyday Family and she focuses her writing on topics about parenting, crafts, education and family relationships. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in early education from Fort Hays State University.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/ Images