Wax finish gets dull fast

Q: I recently refinished the 80 year old white oak floors in our family and living rooms. Having used a drum sander and edger in my first attempt 11 years ago, and finishing with a water-based polyurethane, the innumerable chatter marks and other disastrous mistakes encouraged a new approach this time around.

First, I opted to use the Random Orbit sander, as the tool rental clerk suggested it to be more forgiving than the drum. This proved wise, as I was extremely pleased with the smoothness and lack of sanding marks visible after I had put the final wax finish down.

The trouble that I am now experience must be due to my choice of wax or my finishing technique. The product I chose was H*****’s Feed N Wax, a combination of beeswax, carnauba wax and orange oil. It produced a splendid coloration and pulled out the natural grain of the wood. Yet, the finish is somewhat less dull in some places than the promised satin matte. Furthermore, the high traffic areas are seeming to lose their sheen almost immediately, while less traveled areas show foot and shoe marks that can be removed by light buffing.

I applied one thick coat with a lambskin applicator, wiped the excess oil up after the suggested 20 minutes and buffed vigorously with a 13′ buffing machine. What can I do to produce and maintain a consistent shine, while not needing to follow up each footprint with a soft rag?

A: I’m afraid I don’t have much advice for you on this one. This is why most people don’t want a wax finish. It takes constant maintenance, scuffs easily and gets marks from spills. I would suggest speaking with the company who manufactures the wax finish you applied.