You can apply many finishings to protect your stone carvings, such as oils and waxes. However, not all finishes are the same, as some can protect longer, while some give better shine. What are the five best soapstone carving finishes you can use?
The best soapstone carving your money can buy are:
- Carnauba Wax
- Linseed Oil
- Furniture Wax
- Soapstone Countertop Wax
This post will highlight the best five soapstone carving finishes you can purchase for your stone carving endeavors.
How We Choose These Finishes
We selected these finishes due to multiple factors, such as price, maintenance, and performance. The finishes we picked for this list tend to be able to achieve all three at a certain level.
Here is a fact – you can use much more than the five finishes we mention to finish your soapstone. Additional finishes include Tung oil, Danish oil, Mineral oil, polyurethane, walnut oil, etc.
But the five finishes we picked here are great in that they are affordable, flexible, tend to last longer, and protect the stone carvings well. These features are what we think are essential for someone who is approaching soapstone carving as a hobby and not professional.
Price: When selecting finishes, we try to select waxes or oils that are on the affordable side. For example, we added linseed oil to this list instead of tung oil because tung oil is usually more expensive than linseed oil yet performs about the same.
Application & Maintenance: When selecting finishes for this list, we also try to pick finishes that do not require too much maintenance or recoating to perform long-term well. Waxes came in naturally, as polishes generally tend to be easier to apply than oil while lasting just as long. Waxes also tend to be less sticky and blotchy long-term compared to oil.
Performance: We also try to select finishes that perform better. Good performing finishes can handle abrasion, sun, or water exposure well.
Safety: When possible, we recommend food-grade level finishes. Food-grade finishes can be a great option if you are worried about handling chemicals while applying and after it has dried.
Best 5 Soapstone Carving Finishes
The best five soapstone carving finishes are beeswax, carnauba wax, linseed oil, furniture wax, or soapstone countertop wax. These finishes are affordable, perform well long term, and require little maintenance.
|Beeswax||Texas Beeswax Food & Cosmetic Grade Beeswax||Check Prices|
|Carnauba Wax||PremiumCraft T1, Food-Grade Carnauba Wax||Check Prices|
|Linseed Oil||Linsheen Boiled Linseed Oil||Check Prices|
|Furniture Wax||Howard Wax-It-All Food Grade Furniture Wax||Check Prices|
|Soapstone Countertop Wax||Real Milk Soapstone Countertop Sealer||Check Prices|
Beeswax is an all-natural product made by honey bees. Worker bees naturally produce them to create the cells to store honey and protect the larvae and pupae in the hive.
Craftsmen have learnt to use beeswax to finish and protect many materials such as metals, glass, wood, and stonewares. This means you can use it on your soapstone carvings as well.
When used to finish your soapstone, beeswax will leave a natural but immediate shine to your carvings after it has dried and lightly polished with a soft rag. It also provides long-lasting protection against sun and water damage and prevents uneven darkening of the stone.
Beeswax are also soft and easy to apply on your soapstone carvings, provided that you know the technique. It usually leaves a deep, shiny and glossy finish, and amplifies your soapstones colors and patterns.
In order to apply raw beeswax to your soapstone carving, I have found that it is easiest if you can heat up the carving in an oven or kiln to about 150 to 200 degrees F (or 65 to 95 degrees C) as you can melt the raw wax right on the carving. If you don’t want to heat up the stone, you can use a heat gun to melt the wax and rub it on the carving. Please wear gloves as the stone and wax is hot.
One of the best things about beeswax is that it is a food safe finish, meaning you do not worry about handing your stone carvings to a little toddler, and then he puts it into his mouth. Beeswax has even been approved for use in food in many countries, including USFDA (United States Food & Drug Administration)
Carnauba wax is extracted from carnauba tree leaves. Carnauba trees grow in Brazil. The leaves of the trees are dried and beaten to get the wax out. The wax is then bleached or refined for many different products. It is also sometimes called ‘palm wax” depending on where you buy it from.
To apply raw caranuba wax to the carving, I have found it easier if you have a soapstone bowl to melt the wax in and hold the temperature for long term. Heat both the bowl and carving up to 180 to 200 degrees F (or 70 to 100 degrees C) and apply with a rag. Please wear gloves as the stone and wax is hot.
Similar to beeswax, carnauba wax is also safe to eat. Food-grade carnauba wax can be found in cheeses, all the way to M&Ms. Aside from food, carnauba wax is also used in cosmetics, automotive polishing, and as finishings for stones and leatherware.
When applied to soapstone carvings, carnauba wax forms a hard protective solid surface. It helps to protect the stone from uneven darkening from aging and avoids dirt from seeping into the carving and discoloring it.
Carnauba wax also takes a long time to deteriorate before requiring you to add another layer, making maintenance easier. It also is very easy to polish to a high luster.
Linseed oil, also called flaxseed oil or flax oil (in its edible form), is an oil extracted from the dried, ripe seeds of the flax plant. It can be transparent or yellowish in color. The oil is usually obtained by pressing.
Natural linseed oil can be consumed as food. Food-grade linseed oil is often used as a supplement because it contains alpha-Linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid. In some places in Europe, it is usually served with potatoes and quark.
Linseed oil is also a popular finishing used to be applied to wood to protect and enhance the wood’s shine. You may also apply linseed oil to stones, such as marble, granite, alabaster, or soapstone. However, most people used boiled linseed oil, which has more chemicals in it and allows it to dry faster. The drying time for natural linseed oil can be a week or more, but boiled linseed oil can dry in a few hours.
One good thing about linseed oil is that although it is non toxic when fully cured, it does not turn rancid or smelly over time compared to other oils such as olive or sunflower oil. Linseed oil also gives your soapstone a dark, deep, luscious look, with a natural shine.
Linseed oil is a liquid compared than wax, which means it may penetrate deeper into the stone surfaces to provide better protection. Just be cautious when throwing out rags used in boiled linseed oil. Let them fully dry out before throwing away as they can be a potential fire hazard.
When shopping for linseed oil, try to look for boiled linseed oil instead of raw ones. This is because boiled linseed oil dries faster, which may help if you are in a rush to get your stone polishing done faster. If your house has children and you are worried about poisoning, consider getting food-grade linseed oil instead to finish your stone.
Furniture waxes tend to be made from a mixture of waxes, such as carnauba or beeswax. Some may also have some oils added to the wax to soften it.
One advantage of using furniture wax is its versatility and availability. Some brands of furniture wax are designed to be usable on many types of surfaces. You can use the furniture wax to polish stones, wood, metal, and even mirrors.
Having such versatile furniture wax also helps you to save money, since you do not need to purchase multiple types of finishes for the furniture around your house.
Secondly, since furniture wax is usually a combination of waxes and oil, you get all kinds of protection applied to your stone carvings. Imagine the protection and polish you can give your stone carvings if you use furniture wax with carnauba wax, beeswax, and food-grade oils.
When shopping for furniture wax, look for food-grade waxes since this will further enhance the flexibility of the wax. You do not worry about the potential transfer of the finishing from the hand to your mouth as well.
Soapstone Countertop Wax
Soapstone countertop waxes are usually a mixture of waxes and oils but are designed with stone protection in mind and is made to bring out the true colors of the stone. This sets it apart from your generic furniture wax. In many cases, soapstone countertop waxes can also be used to help seal and polish other stones such as marble, granite, and even concrete.
You may see soapstone countertop waxes containing beeswax, carnauba wax, mineral oil, linseed oil, or walnut oil. These materials are known to be great sealers and finishes for soapstones.
When applied, a soapstone countertop wax will leave a deep, dark, rich color on your soapstone, as well as a natural shine that enhances the color of your stone. It will also help to protect it against the sun and water exposure. Your stone carvings may also darken more evenly over time.
When shopping for soapstone countertop wax, please take note and ensure that it is food grade, as again, you want to have a piece of mind while handling the stone. You do not need to worry about transferring the waxes to your mouth. You also do not worry about giving your stone carving to children or toddlers, who we know loves to put things into their mouth. Since countertop wax is designed for surfaces that you put food on, they are typically food safe.