Briwax to Restore Wood, Wax Suede, and Other DIY’s

Over the years, we’ve become big fans of Original Briwax for a variety of diy projects, from waxing suede to cleaning and restoring wood that’s become dirty from use or age. Briwax is a blend of beeswax and carnauba wax mixed with the solvent Toluene (Briwax’s Toluene Free formula contains the solvents Xylene and Naphtha); solvents make the hard waxes spreadable AND help it clean dirty wood. We consider them a necessary evil, so we use Briwax in a well-ventilated space, and wearing gloves.

Recently, we used Briwax to clean a treasured burled wood hand-held mirror friends had given us years ago. We purposely cleaned half the mirror to show just what Briwax can do. 

We rubbed one half of the mirror with a paper towel dabbed with Briwax until we’d removed all the dirt. You can see the cleaned mirror on the right and the dirty side on the left.

Sally Schneider

Sally Schneider

Our test complete, we cleaned the remaining dirty side. Then went over the entire oval of wood with Briwax again and let it set for about 30 minutes. Once the Briwax has dried, we polished it with a cloth until the wood took on a sheen and was no longer tacky.
Sally Schneider

Sally Schneider

At voila! Before:

Sally Schneider

Sally Schneider



Sally Schneider

Sally Schneider

You can buy Original Briwax here. Be sure to get Original Briwax, as some versions have stain in them and can be used only on specific woods.
Check out our experiments (and success) using Briwax to wax suede and transform it into a very cool leather.

7 Responses to Briwax to Restore Wood, Wax Suede, and Other DIY’s

  1. Jim Dillon 04.29.2014 at 11:26pm #

    I love wax!
    For all the reasons you mention in this blog, plus others, for instance that you can remove it with naphtha, a relatively gentle solvent. Emphasis on RELATIVELY, but it does evaporate quickly.

    Sally, please email me at the email address I provided here – – – my last couple of emails to you have bounced! We’re heading up to ramp country this weekend and I found a link with some recipes you might like.

    Jim Dillon

  2. elisa 04.30.2014 at 12:38pm #

    This causes systemic (organ damage) by both inhalation and skin contact. Here is the MSDS sheet.

  3. Sally 04.30.2014 at 2:15pm #

    Yikes, Jim. Please let me know the email address you are using. Since migrating to a new server, we’ve had a number of technical glitches. I’ll email you right now.

    And I’m wondering if you can answer a question. A reader commented that the MSDS sheet on Breewax is pretty scary. I use it with gloves and in open air so have felt fine about it AND have never found anything comparable. But is there any wax you can recommend that will do the same things: clean and refurbish?

  4. Evelyn Hill 04.30.2014 at 9:08pm #

    Try Skidmore’s Woodfinish Cleaner. Beeswax based, no naphtha.

  5. Sally 05.01.2014 at 10:30am #

    Thank you so much. I’ll definitely check it out.

  6. Jim Dillon 05.07.2014 at 1:41pm #

    Sally, all the commercially available paste waxes will do some of the cleaning and refurbishing you’re looking for, because they all include some sort of organic solvent to keep them soft until they’re applied. I think Briwax includes xylene and toluene. I find the odor of Briwax obnoxious compared to some of the other brands, but I have used plenty of it through the years because of its nice creamy texture and the colors (in the tinted versions) are quite nice. I would say, use whatever brand you like, because you’ll need to take the same precautions for all of them, mainly by avoiding lots of skin contact and using them in a well-ventilated space. The brand I’ve used most of all is SC Johnson, the version meant for floors, because almost every hardware store has it and it’s usually the cheapest! Some other brands you might not know about: Butcher’s Bowling Alley Wax and Butcher’s Boston Polish – – these are also from SC Johnson Company, but I find their odor less obnoxious, I think there might be some turpentine in there. Renaissance Wax is very highly refined paraffin, with very low odor, and it imparts the least color of any wax I’ve used. Then there’s Lord Sheraton’s Beeswax Balsam. I’m not sure it’s available in the US; I brought some back from England a few years ago. It’s a blend of beeswax, linseed oil, and turpentine. I happen to really like the aroma of turpentine. Since the only wax in it is beeswax, it leaves a soft, matte finish and can’t be buffed to a high shine like carnauba or candelilla waxes can.
    No doubt that’s more information than you wanted, but sometimes I’m like a mother bird disgorging information into the ear that looks hungry.

  7. Sally 05.11.2014 at 11:22am #

    THIS IS GREAT INFORMATION. Thank you Jim. I didn’t realize that Butcher’s Wax did the same thing. And much easier to get. I’m going to try some of the others you suggest. I keep finding uses for the stuff.

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