The Professional Way to Wax Polish Antique and Vintage Furniture

How to wax polish antique furniture

  1. If the surface to be polished is particularly dirty clean it with a slightly damp cloth and wipe dry
  2. Lay a dust sheet on the floor if you are polishing in a sensitive environment
  3. Apply the wax sparingly to the surface with ‘0000’ wire wool (It’s like cotton wool) or a soft cloth
  4. Apply in small amounts evenly and in the direction of the grain (avoid over application)
  5. Allow to dry and harden for 20 to 30 minutes - put the kettle on, have a cup of tea
  6. Buff with a clean cloth in the direction of the grain  

Wax Polishes 

William Arscott Head Restorer at Gilboy’s:William Arscott Head Restorer at Gilboys

"There is absolutely no substitute for a pure beeswax polish. It is the very best way to look after and preserve the finish on your furniture.

We have found the majority of furniture polishes and wax polishes available to all of us contain a very poor amount of beeswax, many will also contain petroleum based white spirit, perfumes, oils and some have water in them to make an emulsion paste.  

These types of polishes should be avoided. It is likely that some of these polishes will cause harm to the patinated finish and in the long term will require professional restoration and conservation to the finish.

Spray Polishes 

spray polishes are bad

Spray polishes should also be completely avoided. We understand why they are used as time is precious to all of us. They provide a very quick result with one spray and wipe. Manufacturers of these polishes understand this and promote their products with convincing marketing telling us that there is real goodness in them. How can there be? It’s a liquid chemical spray. We do know that they can be extremely harmful to the finish of period and modern furniture. Some of these spray polishes state that they are silicone free and contain beeswax. I am sure this may be true, but how much solid beeswax can be forced into a pressurised liquid suspension that can be of any benefit to the furniture is beyond our understanding.     

Liquid Polishes

Many of our customers will talk about furniture polish recipes that have been either handed down to them by relatives or recommended to use by friends or they have seen on the  internet. We would strongly advise not use any these recipes. In most cases a single application can be very harmful to the finish.

Oil Polishes

Teak Oil - Tung Oil - Danish Oil - Linseed Oil - Hard Wax Oil - Etc

These oils should never be used on interior furniture without prior consultation with a specialist french polisher or furniture restorer. Oils will penetrate deep in to broken and dry finishes, this will often result in a sticky residue being left behind and over darkening of the area. It also will attract dust and dirt.

Wet Polishes

In the same way that the pressurised liquid spray polishes are atomised at the nozzle creating a cloud of pleasant smelling chemicals, hand pumped bottles that contain a liquid oil should also be avoided. ‘Wet polishes’ when applied can easily creep under the surface of the finish and cause darkening to the area and lifting of the finish away from the wood. 



Given that we are no longer talking about using anything else other than beeswax polish. Wax polishing should only ever need to be done once a year and in many cases once every few years sometimes even longer.

(In our instructional videos you can see Simon applying wax polish with fine wire wool. This wire wool is extremely soft and very fine, it has the texture of cotton wool. It is the professional way to apply wax polish. If you are at all concerned about using it just use a soft cloth to apply.)

Daily or Weekly Care and Cleaning of Your Furniture  

Use a slightly damp cloth to wipe away dust and a similar dry cloth to clean any residue is all that is necessary for the daily or weekly care of all antique and modern furniture.

The Development of Gilboy’s Gold Fine Antique Furniture Wax Polish

We have struggled for years to find a truly high content pure beeswax furniture polish that had been blended with the necessary fine ingredients to make a superior wax polish.

oils and polishes

There are a few manufacturers that do make good wax polishes but we found that they were only successful at polishing certain finishes and time periods; consequently our store cupboards were full of all sorts of polishes.

A good wax polish should have just the right content to provide a thin protective layer to the furniture adding to the long term preservation and patination of it. It is for these reasons we started to develop our own pure beeswax polish.  

We approached our local Devon Beekeeping Association and asked their members if we could buy any spare beeswax and they were only to happy to help, not only with wax but also with advice on wax polish recipes.

pure triple-filtered beeswax from Buckfast Abbey

So for many months we developed and refined our own special blend of wax polish that suited our needs in the workshop, each new recipe carefully written down and trialing it on our own antique and vintage furniture.

During the latter stages of the wax development we were commissioned by Buckfast Abbey to restore some of the abbey’s antique furniture. It was during this restoration process that we were offered to use the beeswax produced by the monks own bees for our wax polish. We were obviously over moon to have this wax offering, especially as they were only a few miles away from our workshop. The head beekeeper Clare Densley, with her colleague Martin Hann allowed us to hand select the most golden wax which was then very slowly remelted and triple filtered and the result of this careful attention is a pure golden solid beeswax. It is this wax that makes Gilboy’s Gold.

Gilboy's Gold Beeswax Polishes are available in three shades  


 Beeswax Polish in Jars Complete Polishing Kits Tins for Professionals
beeswax wood polishes in jars beeswax wood polishing kits 1L beeswax wood polish


  • Barbara Smith

    Thank you for sharing the professional way to wax polish antiques and vintage furniture. This is a very interesting article to read, you learn a lot.

  • Carol Alston

    I purchased a Georgian bureau book case and intend polishing it with your lovely polish. My question how do I clean the insides of the many drawers which are rougher than the outside of the mahogany.The item does not require restoration only cleaning / polishing as it is in very good solid order

  • Adrian Turgel

    Dear Gilboy’s – I will purchasing some of your antique gold polish in the near future (when I ‘ve saved up in a couple of weeks! I’m a pensioner) as I’m preparing a (Druce and co.)walnut davenport that belonged to my grandmother ca. 1910 ready for imminent sale so that I can MOT my old car… it appears almost identical to the one you are seen working on – the only difference being a slightly different carving on the serpentine legs… I should add that I’m an ex-joiner/cabinet-maker (nowadays a semi-retired archaeologist!) … was wonderingif you could give me some idea of what I should be asking if I were to put it one ebay or similar…? Btw -had a friend who worked at Dartington as a wood carver back in the ’80’s – Bill Titley…?

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