Sunday, December 26, 2010

Eco-Friendly Protect & Polish Wax Recipe

One of today's projects was mixing up the wax recipe for the SF3co instruments. There are a lot of options already on the market but almost all of them contain petroleum distillates. I'm trying to avoid products like this in general but especially on this project.

We'll start by collecting the raw materials. We're using carnauba wax, soy wax, and citrus solvent. Carnauba wax is tough and great for protection but very brittle. Sox wax is soft and creamy so it's great to apply but doesn't offer much protection. The soy wax, which is actually a hydrogenated oil, should complement the carnauba wax well when blended. The resulting wax blend will be easy to apply but still offer good protection. The citrus solvent is an all natural distillate derived from the oil found in orange peels. This solvent will thin out the wax and make it easier to use. After being applied the solvent will evaporate and we'll be left with a projective layer of wax over the oiled instrument.

_MG_5145

I started with a 2-to-1 ratio of carnauba to soy wax.

_MG_5149

Using a double boiler will prevent the stove's heat from scorching the wax. This one (rescued from the camping bin) has been in the family for years.

_MG_5148

Heat is turned down to simmer and wax is added.

_MG_5153

The soy wax melts much faster so the carnauba takes a while to catch up.

_MG_5159

Some quick tests show the 2-to-1 ratio is still too brittle. More soy wax was added to bring the ratio up to 1-to-1.

_MG_5161

The final melted wax mixture is poured into a glass container and blended with the orange oil solvent 10-to-1.

_MG_5164

Things I learned:
  • The 1-to-1 ratio of carnauba to soy wax is still very hard/brittle. The ratio will likely need to be uped to 2-to-1 or 3-to-2 with soy as the majority.
  • This shape of container, and glass in general, do not work well for this kind of formula. I am currently looking into shallow tins much like the ones shoe polish come in.
  • Although I'm sure it isn't as safe, I think it would be best to pour the solvent into the wax while still on the stove to avoid mixing issues. In this test the solvent immediately turned the wax chunky. More solvent will also likely be needed.

Overall this test was a success. I will likely remelt this wax later in the week to add some more soy and solvent.