Liming finish: How to Lime Finish Oak: 11 Steps (with Pictures)

How to use Liming Wax on Pine Furniture » Tree Farm Design Co.

Liming wax can give pine furniture a wonderful antique finish that adds virtual years, interest and character to a piece of furniture. The look of imperfect white caught in the grain, creases, nooks and crannies of a piece is a distinct finish that really sets it apart from simpler, less dynamic finishes. Basically if you are looking at a super old piece of furniture that has white highlights and you are wondering if you should take out a second mortgage to buy this French antique piece or try to recreate it yourself, the answer is liming wax, that and no do not take out a second mortgage to buy French antiques.

For the buffet project I was tackling I knew I wanted a stained pine finish with liming wax overtop. The stain would help age the pine to the point where it looked like it came out of an old farmhouse and not off the shelf of a big box store. The liming wax would further add character, like we made the buffet stack firewood or plant trees in the freezing rain, the good kind of character.

What is liming wax?

Liming wax is, according to Bob Villa, a mix of liming paste and a wax made of either carnauba, beeswax, petroleum or shellac. A liming finish has been popular for outdoor barns and outbuildings for centuries and has provided a measure of sanitizing, and also results in the classic pastoral white barn look. Liming finishes for indoor furniture has been used as a replacement for earlier lead based whitening finishes. Liming wax should be used if you want to accentuate the grain of the wood or the architectural details of a piece.

So it’s whitewash?

Hot take but I’m coming out firmly and saying no. Some people use whitewash and liming wax interchangeably but to me there is a pretty big difference. A whitewash finish in furniture is achieved by watering down a white paint and results in a more milky wash finish, it’s much more white overall versus the liming wax finish should highlight the natural color or stain of a piece and leave only the wax in the crevices or grain.

How do you apply liming wax?

What you need for this finish is:

  • Wood stain or dye
  • Liming wax – I used Briwax Liming Wax
  • Wax brush or clean rags
  • Paper towels or even more clean rags
  • Did I mention clean rags?
  • Clear wax
  • Brown wax or dark wax

So the very first thing you need to know for the project is what the base color you are looking for. I was going for an aged pine look with the liming wax adding even further age to the overall appearance. Starting off with raw pine, it looked anything but aged.

For a few projects now I’ve used a mix of Minwax stains to get a rough approximation of aged pine that isn’t too red or orange but a nice medium toned down brown. The formula is roughly 2:3 Provinicial and Ipswich Pine stains mixed together. It’s not as interesting as DIY home chemistry like melting steel wool in vinegar overnight or melting down your kids toys and mixing it with their tears, but it’s the most effective mix I’ve found.

I actually made the mistake of going lighter with the stain here, probably using a 1:3 mix of Provincial vs Ipswitch Pine but that’s because I fundamentally misunderstood something about the liming wax. Lime is a bleaching agent. I’ll get there in a bit, but I should have gone with my tried and true formula here.

Applying the liming wax with the round brush or clean rag, you start by dabbing it on in random patterns. This is easier on places with cracks and crevices that you want to highlight versus flat surfaces where you just want to add some interest without making it look crazy. I should have targeted the knots and grain more.

The next step is to wipe this clean. What I should have done, is wipe off the excess and then use clear wax to remove the liming wax from the flats and from the areas that didn’t need to be highlighted. Sadly what I did was rub in the liming wax and dry wipe away the excess. The results looked pretty great at first.

This is almost exactly the finish I was hoping for. There is white liming wax highlighting the creases and the moldings along the pieces and overall the main stain color shines through. Unfortunately a few days later I came back down to my shop and it looked a little more like this.

It’s not a huge difference but over those few days the liming wax had bleached away most of the interest in the piece. There was very little difference or variation, it was all kind of a flat hazy white that was far more beachy than what we were looking for. At this point I was not really excited. I had spent a lot of time designing and building this piece, got the exact finish I wanted only for it to slip through my fingers like the time I lost three legged race right at the end at Field Day in third grade. Pretty much the same amount of crying. I was frantically googling how to strip off wax and start over at this point, and really not looking forward to that.

And then I found another option. Instead of taking away from the finish, I could add to it. So I bought some brown wax often used over chalk paint to age or distress finishes and applied that in areas to get back to the medium brown I was hoping for.

My process here was mostly just trying to knock down some of the more bleached out areas and leave the real white liming wax areas as highlights. This helped get back to a more interesting variated finish. It took a few tries to get the entire piece to a consistent look, and make sure to get more to an antique cottage or farmhouse look versus bleached out beachy look, but in the end I got there.

Final Verdict

I would definitely use liming wax again but there were two clear takeaways for me.

  1. Don’t be afraid to start with a bit darker stain.
  2. Use clear wax when removing excess liming wax so that I don’t rub a bleaching agent in across the entire piece.

Liming wax is also meant to evoke an older piece of furniture. An imperfect finish should be embraced, especially when you are in the middle of finishing it and panicking if you just wasted weeks of effort building this thing.

Post Final Thoughts

After I completed this project I later tried again with making a reproduction antique door and finishing that with liming wax over stain. I took a lot of the learning from this project and feel like I got an even better result on that one.

What is Liming Wax and How To Use It

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Liming wax, a transformative tool for wood refinishing, adds a whitewashed aesthetic and shine to furniture. Perfect for DIYers and woodworking professionals, it’s a technique ideally used when you aim for a vintage or distressed look while preserving wood’s natural beauty.

What Is Liming Wax Exactly?

Liming wax, often referred to as lime wax or white wax, is a specially formulated product that’s primarily used for enhancing the appearance of wood furniture and other wooden items. The main ingredient of this wax is a white pigment, which is why it’s sometimes called white wax . This pigmented wax, when applied to bare, grained timber, settles into the wood grain, accentuating its pattern and texture and giving it a beautiful, whitened effect that’s both distinct and stylish.

This white wax is designed to work its way into the grain of the wood, highlighting its natural characteristics and giving a sense of depth and texture to the surface. It’s a particularly effective tool when applied to woods with a prominent grain structure, as it makes the grain patterns stand out in a striking way. When you lime wash wood, you can create more interesting finished pieces.

Moreover, one of the significant advantages of liming wax is that it not only enhances the wood’s aesthetic appeal but also provides a water-resistant and durable finish. This makes this type of finishing product an excellent choice for pieces of furniture that might be exposed to moisture. For added stain protection and to achieve a longer-lasting finish, it can be used in conjunction with a clear wax. This combination offers a level of protection and durability that’s perfect for high-traffic areas or frequently used furniture pieces.

Most Common Uses of Liming Wax

Liming wax, with its transformative properties, is often used for a variety of applications involving wood furniture. One of its most common uses is in furniture restoration, where it gives old, worn-out pieces of furniture a fresh, updated look. By applying lime wax to a piece of vintage furniture, you can enhance its character and give it a modern, stylish appeal while still preserving its original charm.

The specially formulated product is also regularly used to create distressed effects on new wooden crafts. It is particularly effective on deeply grained timber, namely oak, where the white wax can settle into the grooves, accentuating the grain and adding a sense of depth and texture to the entire piece itself. The resulting look is one of antique elegance and rustic charm, making this finishing product a favorite tool among woodworkers aiming to create pieces with a sense of history.

In addition to stain, liming wax is frequently applied to wooden floors and wall panels, offering a unique, whitewashed aesthetic that adds a touch of elegance and sophistication to any room. This whitewash application not only enhances the wood’s natural beauty but also provides the floor with a water-resistant finish that helps to protect the wood from damage, making it a practical as well as a decorative choice.

Another popular use for liming wax is to apply it as a finishing touch after a piece of furniture has been painted. The lime wax can be worked into the paintwork, giving the piece a distressed, shabby-chic look that’s incredibly popular in contemporary interior design. When sealed with a top layer of clear wax, the liming wax offers a long-lasting, water-resistant finish that’s perfect for everyday use.

Why Liming Wax is Ideal for Certain Projects

Liming wax is perfect for projects that require an enhanced rustic, antique appeal. It’s versatile, easy to use, and doesn’t compromise the wood’s original features. When you use liming wax, your wooden pieces will stand out with a shine and an attractive, whitened grain pattern.

How to Use Liming Wax: A Step-by-Step Guide

Applying liming wax requires a bit of preparation and a careful process, but the resulting vintage look makes the effort worthwhile. Here, we present the technique in a comprehensive guide that covers every step, from preparation to final buffing.

Necessary Tools and Preparation for Applying Liming Wax

For a successful application of liming wax, you’ll need a few tools: a soft cloth or brush, sandpaper, wire brush, and protective gear or gloves. Preparing your workspace with a well-ventilated area, and ensuring the wood is clean and bare, is crucial too.

The Process of Applying Liming Wax

The liming paste and wax application process requires careful execution. It includes a series of steps starting from safety precautions and preparation of the wood to the final sealer and touch-up with an optional coat of liming paste. Let’s delve into these steps.

  1. Safety Precautions: Safety comes first when using liming wax. Always use gloves, and ensure proper ventilation to avoid inhaling fumes. It’s also recommended to wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from any potential splatters.
  2. Prepare the Wood: Start by ensuring the wood surface is clean, dry, and free from old finishes. Use a mild detergent or wood cleaner to remove dirt and oil. Rinse thoroughly and allow it to dry completely before proceeding.
  3. Open Wood Grain: To allow liming wax to penetrate deeply, you need to open the wood grain. Using your brush or coarse sandpaper, gently brush along the grain until the texture feels slightly rough.
  4. Clean the Surface: Once you have an open grain, wipe the surface with a clean cloth to remove any loose dust or debris. This ensures a smooth, clean base for applying the liming wax.
  5. Apply Liming Wax: Now, it’s time to apply the liming wax. Using a soft cloth or brush, apply the whitewash generously, ensuring it penetrates into the opened grain. Work along the grain for best results.
  6. Work the It In: Once applied, use a cloth to work the product further into the grain. This helps the liming wax to settle into the grain patterns, accentuating the wood’s unique character and texture.
  7. Remove Excess: After it has settled, remove any excess product with a clean cloth. It’s important to remove the surplus product; otherwise, it could leave a cloudy residue, detracting from the desired finish.
  8. Buff the Surface: Following the removal of excess product, buff the surface to reveal the beautiful, whitened grain. Buffing also gives the wood a gentle, satiny sheen, enhancing its aesthetic appeal.
  9. Optional Top Coat: For added protection, consider applying a clear finishing wax. This seals the liming wax and provides a barrier against wear and tear. It can also add a glossy or matte finish, based on your preference.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Using Liming Wax

One common mistake is to confuse liming wax with lime wash. While both can give a whitewash effect to wood, they’re fundamentally different products with separate application processes. Limewash is a type of paint, while liming wax is a finishing product. Another typical error is to use wet liming wax on sealed or painted wood. For best results, apply liming wax on bare wood, particularly open-grained timber, where the white pigment can settle into the grooves.

A significant oversight is neglecting to seal liming wax after application. A clear wax or sealant can create a more durable finish, protecting the lime wax and enhancing the project’s overall appearance. Not removing excess product or skipping the buffing step with a soft, dry cloth can also compromise the finished look. If wax remains on the surface, it can appear cloudy or uneven. It’s essential to wipe off the surplus product with a clean, damp cloth, ensuring a consistent finish.

Remember, the goal is to open the grain without damaging the wood, so be gentle when you sand, especially when using a wire brush or coarse sandpaper. Achieving the best possible result with liming wax requires careful attention to these details.

Where to Buy Real Milk Paint’s High-Quality Finishing Waxes

For top-quality wood finishing wax, choose Real Milk Paint’s finishing waxes. Trusted by woodworking enthusiasts, it ensures your project gets the professional, beautiful finish it deserves. Visit our online store today and start transforming your wooden pieces into charming, timeless treasures.

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Whitewashing the walls with lime – the traditional approach

It seems to us that there is nothing easier than whitewashing the walls with lime. Such walls are classified as “breathable”, they have pores that absorb water vapor, and then freely evaporate moisture to the outside. In addition, these coatings have antiseptic properties, which is ideal for rooms with high humidity.

Whitewashing the walls seems easy. In fact, everything is much more complicated. Lime paint should be properly mixed, a base is prepared for it, and the composition is applied using a special technology. If you want to use the traditional way of finishing walls and ceilings, which has proven itself over the centuries, find out the main features of the process from our article.

Preparing lime mortar

Lime mortar for finishing brick, concrete, stone or wood walls. The lime composition is applied directly to the plaster, it is prepared in a special way: alum, drying oil or table salt are added to make the lime more dense so that the whitewash does not crumble.

The most traditional composition for whitewashing is done like this:

· Take 6 liters of water;

· Add lime to it, stirring the mass to the state of a semi-liquid dough;

· For every 2.5 kg of lime composition, we take 100 grams of table salt diluted in half a liter of hot water, add the resulting composition to the lime dough;

· Add more water to bring the total volume to 10 l, mix well.

Composition ready. If you need to blue it or make whitewash of any color, a colored tint diluted with water is poured into the lime mortar.

The composition must be homogeneous, so all components are filtered through a sieve. Not all pigments are suitable for the lime composition, but only those that are classified as alkali-resistant. Most often, the lime composition is stained with ocher, graphite, minium, sienna, etc. pigments.

We paint the walls with lime with our own hands

To paint walls or ceilings with lime, the surface must be dusted, primed and moistened. For a primer, lime is most often mixed with alum or lime with salt.

Traditionally, the lime composition is applied with a spray gun or a wide brush (maklovitsa, whitewash, etc.). The layers should not dry out completely, a new layer is placed on the previous one that has not yet dried out. 2-3 coats are enough for the surface to be qualitatively painted over.

With the help of lime compositions, interior and exterior walls, ceilings, and facades are painted. The staining process itself is quite simple, preparing lime for painting is easy, fast, even a non-specialist can handle it. In our online store you can buy lime, colors, as well as brushes and paint brushes of excellent quality at an affordable price. Ask our consultants for help and advice in order to paint the surface well and mix the lime composition without any problems.

How to whitewash the walls with lime – recipes, recommendations – catalog of articles on the site

Whitewash is not a very common wall decoration in our time, but is still used.

The reason is not only the cheapness of materials, but also the possibility of putting the room in order without using hired labor, since you can learn how to properly whitewash the walls with lime from the very first time, in the process of work. The main thing is to prepare the surface of the walls well for finishing and whitewash according to a good recipe.

Why whitewashing is better with lime

Whitewashing inside houses used to be done either from chalk or lime. Chalk whitewashing has visual advantages – the color of the walls turns out to be pure – completely white or with a tint if a dye is added to the mass. In addition, chalk whitewash lays on the walls in a fairly dense layer – it is not difficult to whitewash without streaks, bald spots, brush marks.

But lime whitewash has the advantage of being an antibacterial and insecticidal coating. With its help from mold, fungi, insects.

Preparation of surfaces for lime whitewashing

We clean the walls and ceiling from old finishes and dirt. If the walls were previously whitewashed, wash off the old layer. We eliminate wall defects, repair chips and cracks with putty, and then sand them.

Prime surfaces. This is necessary so that the liquid whitewash is less absorbed into them, forms a dense, well-adhering layer. The usual primer, in fact, is an adhesive composition.

We use slaked lime – a paste or prepare fluffs from lime powder

How to prepare a primer for whitewashing with lime

You can purchase a ready-made priming compound or prepare it yourself.

Stir the slaked lime in warm tap water (half a portion of water).

Pour salt (coarse, rock) into the liquid.


Add the rest of the water.

Separately mix-rub a small amount of wood glue and sifted chalk powder. You should get a gruel that looks like a cream.

We dissolve the chalk-adhesive mass in liquid with lime.


Primer ready.

Proportions of ingredients for the preparation of the primer:

  1. slaked lime (paste) – 5 kg;
  2. water – 20 l;
  3. salt – 200-250 g;
  4. chalk – 400 g.
  5. carpentry glue – about 200 g (we orient ourselves by adding to the chalk in parts).

Wood glue in granules is cooked with the addition of water in a water bath.

PVA wood glue can be added to the limewash primer instead of wood glue. Sometimes a strong soapy solution is added to it (rub a piece of laundry soap on a grater and dissolve the chips in hot water). But the primer with soap is weaker than the one in which wood glue is present – whitewash can get dirty and crumble.

Lime whitewash can be done with brushes

If you use a whitewash roller, the surface will be more accurate, even

How to prepare lime whitewash

Put the slaked lime in a bucket, pour it with warm water, stir.

To obtain a white whitewash, it is good to add blue to the liquid. To do this, the powder is first diluted in water, and then poured into a bucket of lime.

To give the whitewash layer strength (so that the walls do not stain clothes, etc.), we also add dissolved laundry soap or carpentry glue to the finished mass.