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Make Your Own
Classic Clothespin Wax

By: Herrick Kimball

In The Planet Whizbang Idea Book For Gardeners I have a short chapter titled How to Make And Use Pat Gorham's Hoe-Handle Rub. Pat's recipe for hoe-handle rub is an old-time, all-natural wood preservative. I'm going to explain how to make yourself a small batch of the paste here so you can use it on your clothespins, in which case it's not hoe-handle rub…. it's Classic Clothespin Wax!

The picture above shows the three ingredients needed to make Classic Clothespin Wax. They are boiled linseed oil, pure gum spirits of turpentine, and beeswax. The three ingredients are combined in approximately equal parts. 

To mix a small batch (a little goes a long way) I recommend that you combine two tablespoons of boiled linseed oil, two tablespoons of turpentine, and one ounce of beeswax. Baby food jars are great for making a small batch. Two tablespoons of liquid in a standard baby food jar will be around 3/4" high.

Combine the three ingredients in one jar and put it on a candle warmer, like shown above. If you don't have a candle warmer, you can get one cheap at a thrift store or garage sale.

Candle warmers heat slowly and gently, without an open flame, which is kind of nice when you're dealing with flammable substances.

Very Important: boiled linseed oil on rags can spontaneously combust. Always put any rags used with linseed oil outdoors to dry thoroughly before disposing of them. Or, if you have a wood stove, toss the rags in there.

After a couple of hours the wax will have melted. Stir the contents and shut the candle warmer off. Your Classic Clothespin Wax is done. Let it cool down before using.

The picture above shows how the solution turns to a paste as it cools. Keep a tight lid on it so it doesn't dry out.

You should probably apply Classic Clothespin Wax with a cloth, but I like to use my bare fingers. Let the paste set on the surface for awhile, then rub off the excess with a soft cloth. A thin coating of beeswax will remain on the surface, and harden up in a few days.