How to Finish a Wood Table with Wood Wax

A wood table.
  • 2-4 hours
  • Beginner
  • 50-350
What You'll Need
Wax Polish
Clean Lint Free Cloth
Tack Cloth
Wet and Dry Sand Paper
Buffing Pad

A waxed finish on a wood table looks highly luxurious. If you currently have an antique table or a table which has a rustic appearance that you want to improve, you can use wax polishing to accentuate the grain and natural beauty of the wood. When wood is at its best it can be a great feature for your home furnishings. It adds class and opulence to a room. A grained wood that has a decorative design will benefit greatly from a high polished wax finish.

Prepare the Table

The wood table must be thoroughly cleaned before you begin to wax it. Any blemishes should be removed, so if you have any scratch marks, dents, notches, or other scars on the table make sure you treat them before you wax. Any blemishes that are not taken care of prior to waxing will show up more highlighted on the finished table and be even more obvious.


Use wet and dry sandpaper to remove the top layer and allow the wood to accept a wax coating. This will help the wax to penetrate more deeply into the grain of the wood and nourish it deeper down. Sand it gently in small circular motions and then finish by sanding in line with the grain to prevent grain scarring. If the table has already been varnished you can sand it very lightly with the wet and dry sandpaper and then clean it with the tack rag before applying the wax.

Apply the First Wax Coat

Wax should be considered very carefully before you undertake this sort of project. The outcome will depend on the type of wax and the quality of wax you use. There are many different types of wax polish available, like beeswax, pigmented wax (which colors the wood as well as polishes it), clear wax (best used for finishes which have already been stained and colored), and pine wax. Choose a small starting area and apply wax to a clean, lint-free cloth.

Be liberal with the wax and begin rubbing in small circles creating a penetrating massage into the wood grain. Move the wax around to create a new circle after a new circle and reload the cloth with plenty of wax when it begins to fade out.


The first coat of wax needs time to settle in and dry into the wood, so allow a few hours for that to occur. The deeper the wax goes, the better the quality of finish and protection it will offer. Buff the wax coat with dry clean buffing pads and bring it to its natural shine.

Add a Second Coat

It is not essential to have more than two coats but you may apply as many as you choose. The second coat goes on straight over the top of the first coat, without any further sanding. Apply the second coat in exactly the same way as the first coat and use plenty of wax on the polishing cloth. Let it soak in and buff it to a shine.