We get many questions about the composition of various waxes, polishes etc so we thought it was time we produced a little recipe book! Below are some ideas for producing various products in use around the home or workshop. The DIY approach may not be cheaper, and may involve a lot of searching for the right ingredients, but the sense of achievement, and understanding of the product base, may well compensate. Good luck.
Removing Stains from Carpets:
The following can be quite effective for removing grease spots and dirty marks on carpets.
- Fullers earth: 4oz. (115gr.)
- White spirit: 1oz. (30gr)
- Potassium carbonate: 8oz. (225gr)
- Soft soap
Mix the fullers earth and potassium carbonate with some soft soap shavings. Add the white spirit until a smooth paste is obtained. Rub the paste into the mark and allow to dry. Then brush off.
Rub dry flour well into the grease or oil mark and leave for a good few hours. Then brush off. Hopefully the flour will have absorbed the grease.
Ink can sometimes be removed by applying a thick layer of common salt (This has to be done immediately after the ink has been spilt). Leave for a minute and brush off. Repeat the process until all the ink is absorbed and then wipe clean with some lemon juice in warm water.
½oz. (15gr) of washing soda per 2 pints of warm water (1135ml) is very good. Just as good is a tablespoonful of vinegar to every 3 pints of warm water (1705ml). If you are using a washing leather its best to stick with the vinegar as it wont eat it!
A very basic wax polish can be produced from these.
- Beeswax 1oz.(30gr)
- Turpentine ¼pint (140ml)
- Scrape the wax into shavings, leave to dissolve in the turps. Allow a couple of days for this to happen, but as soon as it is in a total solution, give it a shake and use as you would any other polish.
- Beeswax ½oz (15gr)
- Carnauba wax 2oz. (55gr) (From chemist, orig. = palm tree native to Brazil)
- Turpentine 1 tablespoon
- Naphtha 1 pint (570ml) (From chemist, an inflammable oil from dry distillation of organic substances, eg coal)
An expensive polish but a good one. Take a large saucepan and half fill with water. Sit a pudding bowl inside the saucepan so it floats. The water in the saucepan will be heated as normal and your "ingredients" will be heated, indirectly, inside the pudding bowl.
Using this apparatus, heat the carnauba wax and the beeswax together. Mix the turps and naphtha together in a separate bowl and add to the melted wax.
Carry on heating until the mixture is clear and then allow to cool…STIR THIS ALL THE TIME….When cool the polish can be poured into a container and be used.
Homemade shoe polish ( neutral) is fairly expensive, but fun. You will need:
- Soap flakes 1 oz. (30gr)
- Potassium carbonate ½ oz. (15gr) (From chemist)
- Beeswax 5oz. (140gr)
- Gum arabic powder(15gr) (A natural wax from the Acacia senegal tree, used as an emulsifier and thickener in glues and inks.)
- Icing sugar 1½oz (45gr)
Slice the beeswax and add to a pint of water, stir in the soap flakes and potassium carbonate. Boil until a smooth paste. While the mixture is still hot (turn off the cooker, but act quickly) add and stir the gum arabic powder and icing sugar. For a specifically black polish, 10oz. (280gr) of charcoal powder from the chemist can be added at this stage.
Mix 11¼ oz. (320gr.) of slaked lime in a fine powder with 1 oz. (30gr) of carbolic acid powder and use as an ordinary cleansing powder. Wear rubber gloves.
- Camphor powder 1oz. (30gr)
- Carbolic acid 12 oz. (340gr)
- Ammonia Three quarters fl.oz. (21ml)
- Water ½ fl. oz. (15ml)
Wearing rubber gloves, mix all these together completely (they can all be bought at the chemist). Further dilution can be done with water.
Metal and Brass Polish
- Vinegar ¼ oz .(7gr)
- Salt ¼ oz.
- Tripoli ¼ oz. (Rotten, polishing stone from chemist, should be approx £6.00/100gr.)
- Olive oil ¼ oz.
Rub the brass with a mixture of the vinegar and salt, wipe off immediately with warm water, use the Tripoli and olive oil to polish.
To remove hard putty, brush on some paraffin oil. This dissolves the linseed oil in the putty and softens it for removal.
Basic Floor Varnish
- Shellac 10oz. (140gr) Shellac is flakes of lac resin, which in turn is a resinous substance produced by the lac insect. Available from most chemists and some older hardware shops.
- Methylated spirits 2½ pints (1420ml)
Dissolve shellac into meths and wipe on.
- Shellac 5oz. (140gr.)
- Sandarac 1 oz. (30gr.) (Gummy resin of N. African conifer, from chemist or some older hardware shops)
- Methylated spirits 1 pint (570ml)
Dissolve the shellac and sandarac in the meths, strain through an old pair of tights then paint onto knots to stop the timber resins leaking out and spoiling paintwork.
- Wheat flour (950gr)
- Alum 1oz. (30gr) (chemists)
Using one and three quarter pints of cold water (995ml), stir in the wheat flour until a smooth (no lumps) paste is formed. Dissolve the alum in a ¼ pint (140ml) of hot water in a separate container. Boil Four and three quarter pints (2700ml) of water in another container and add the wheat flour mixture…Stir this well as you add it and boil the complete mixture again if it needs to be thickened up. Stir in the alum solution to the complete mixture.
Zinc chloride (chemists) 2 and three quarter ozs. (78gr)
Ammonium chloride 1 oz. (30gr)
Water 6¼ fl.oz. (175ml)
Dissolve the chlorides into the water and paint onto the parts to be soldered.
All project content written and produced by Mike Edwards