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April 07, 2009

Shellawax - nice food-safe wood finish in just one coat

I'm finally finishing the bamboo desk I started last year.  I just love the finish I found at Lee Valley Tools - Shellawax Liquid - it's made by an Australian company and it creates a tough semi-gloss finish in one coat.  That's beyond awesome.  And it smells good too, kind of like men's aftershave mixed with pipe tobacco and good port.

Shellawax is actually meant to be used as a polish for woodturning projects on a lathe, but I've been so happy with the finish it's given me on my turned projects that I decided to try it on a (huge) flat surface.  I'm working in small 6-inch squares to apply the finish, then hitting the area with the heat gun to simulate the heat caused by friction on a lathe.  Then a quick rub with a cotton rag to even out the warm finish, which is dry-to-the-touch pretty much instantly after heating.  Shellawax is non-toxic after curing, and low-odor during application (even my chemical-sensitive husband wasn't bothered by it).  After three weeks of curing the Shellawax finish is alcohol and water-resistant - good news for us spillers. 

Mag Ruffman putting a Shellawax finish on bamboo plywood


Abi Mensah

I remember last year you told me that you would have pictures of the finished Desk.. Wow im now fianly seeing it! Thank you for posting the pictures!

Designer Home Hardware

Just one coat? I'll believe it when I see it. I'll have to go buy some Shellawax for myself.


Yeah, friction polishes are cool that way. The heat activation seems to suck the wax into the cells of the wood where it cures and renders the surface dang hard. The manufacturer says you can add more coats but then it will scratch more easily because now you've got a surface polish rather than an inside-the-cells shield. Whatever, I like the effect of one coat just fine, even with porous bamboo. Let me know what you think if you try it.



Shellawax is great, but try it with the EEE polish made by the same company as well sometime. Results have to be seen to be believed.


Hi cchopin,
I have some of the EEE polish but I haven't tried it on flat pieces yet. Now I'm encouraged - thanks for the tip.


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