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Old 12-20-2019, 04:28 AM   #1
Gabriel
 
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Default Caring for Propeller: Beeswax Question

The general advice when caring for an original un-restored propeller seems to be simply wipe carefully with a slightly damp cloth and then polish with a pure beeswax to give a slight lustre and protect the wooden without destroying the patina on the surface.

Here's my question: there are lots of products advertised as "beeswax polish" and some which say "pure beeswax". Which is best? Presumably I don't want literally a solid block of beeswax (or do I?).

Other options include a simple blend of pure beeswax with something like natural turpentine to make it softer and easier to apply with a soft cloth. This sounds like the best option (assuming no other additives and definitely no silicons etc)

Any advice on what people have used or recommend gratefully received. Thank you.
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Old 12-20-2019, 08:24 AM   #2
Bob Gardner
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Hello Gabriel,

I can only comment on polishes in the United Kingdom where beeswax polish is widely used by cabinet makers and furniture restorers.

The B & Q chain of stores sell beeswax in a tin and the wax is coloured to match woods such as oak and mahogany. There may be other colours.

Modern spray tins of silicone polish often have beeswax as a component, but these silicone polishes can be very powerful and can cause a bloom in old polishes, which in the worst case cannot be removed, thus necessitating the item to be stripped to bare wood and re-French polished. With prized items made of mahogany, such as Georgian furniture which is two hundred years old, this is a disaster.

A variation on this theme is the danger that a previous owner of a propeller has used an inappropriate polish which reacts when a new owner polishes it with a beeswax polish, so anyone wanting to polish a prop should try applying a very small amount on the back of the prop.

When polishing with a beeswax polish apply small amounts and then polish. When the complete prop has been polished, leave it alone for several days and then repeat the process. Gradually a deep lustre finish will form.

With kind regards,

Bob
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Old 12-22-2019, 10:01 AM   #3
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Gabriel,

How are you getting on with polishing your prop?

Bob
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Old 12-22-2019, 10:22 AM   #4
Gabriel
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Gardner View Post
Gabriel,

How are you getting on with polishing your prop?

Bob

Hello Bob,

Nothing to report (yet). The sale has been agreed, but due to work and other commitments I can't collect it until the end of December. Once I've got it home and start to clean/polish it I'll post some before and after photos.

In the meantime, I hope you have a Happy Christmas!
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Old 12-23-2019, 06:01 AM   #5
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Thank you Gabriel. If you can post some before and after photographs of your polishing of your prop it would be useful and helpful for others.

With kind regards,

Bob
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Old 12-26-2019, 09:38 PM   #6
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Default General comment on beeswax application

Col Gardner I would like to take a moment and express my appreciation for the time and effort put forth by you and others in nurturing this gem of a website - unique to say the least - as a retired F4 phantom and f18 pilot and happy caretaker of a Tiger Moth and J-3 cub for the past 20 +
Years I have a been fortunate to assemble a modest collection of early propellers and other early aviation items - but to get to the point - ahem-application of beeswax is spot on -the problem is ,oftentimes one is clueless as to the existing or previous treatment- as a collector as well as dealer in 18 th century furniture I might suggest prior to wax application taking a cotton cloth and with modest amount of denatured alcohol thoroughly cleaning - this will not hurt the wood in any way but will break down and remove most previous “coatings “ and allow the natural elements to be absorbed - obviously this won’t help a twit on modern chemicals such as polyurethane ( which has ruined a great amount of otherwise remarkable items ) but will offer a clean canvas to build upon
R.S . Michael
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Old 12-27-2019, 06:19 AM   #7
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Michael,

Thank you for this excellent advice. I recall that when I bought and sold wooden props I used to clean them with a cloth made damp by dipping it in lukewarm soapy water and then rung out.

I share your horror of polyurethane varnish. When I started buying and collecting propellers I quickly discovered that between seeing photographs from a prospective seller and arriving to buy the prop, there was time for the owner to improve it with a nice shiny coat of polyurethane varnish!

I echo your thoughts about this wonderful website, which was started by, and is still run by Dave Bahnson. I am merely a disciple, riding on his coat-tails!

With kind regards,

Bob
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