How to Use Bowling Alley Wax

how to use bowling alley wax

When it comes to giving a wood a rich and distinctive shine, there’s nothing quite like the look and the scent of old-school bowling alley wax. If you are wondering how to use this coating-classic then today is your lucky day, as we’re going to take a brief but in-depth look in how to use bowling alley wax so that you can use this amazing substance for yourself.

Using bowling alley wax is simply going to be a matter of cleaning the surface with soap and water, applying your wax, and then repeating the process once it is dry and we’ll walk you through with some detailed step so that you can do this on your own.

Let’s take a step by step look at how it is applied, how long it takes to dry, and how you can remove it when you need to. By the time we are finished you’ll be ready to use it yourself and then you can see why the recipe hasn’t really changed much in over 100 years!

How to Use Bowling Alley Wax: Step by Step

If you’ve setup your own hidden ‘speakeasy’ type bowling lane or simply want to add a protective and classic coating to another wood project the bowling alley wax, the steps are actually quite simple. Let’s take a look at what you will need to do:

  • First off you will need to clean the surface gently using a mixture of a mild soap along with a small amount of water. Be sure to use as little as possible and to dry your wood completely as leaving water on the surface may well warp the wood. Once it is dried, then we are ready to start applying the first coat of wax.
  • Place a small amount of bowling alley wax on the wood (a little goes a long way, as you are about to see!), and then we’re going to spread it evenly on the surface using some a steel wood pad. This will need to be an oil-free #0000 pad and it is optimal for this task, as cloth is simply not going to distribute the wax properly.
  • Let you first coat dry until it appears to have a slight, lovely haze to it. This should take about 5 to 10 minutes and at this time, you may gently wipe off the excess wax that remains with a soft cloth. Do this quickly, as the wax is hardening as the moments pass.
  • When you can touch it without leaving streaks, give it one more go and we’re ready for the next and final coat. Repeat the steps that we’ve provided, let it fully dry, and we’re done! When you need to clean your waxed wood in the future, do this with a feather duster and a clean, damp cloth.

What Is in Bowling Alley Wax?

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Also known as ‘Butcher’s Wax’, bowling alley wax was developed in the 1880’s by Charles Butcher, who was looking to create a wax for parquetry floors that provided the protection of wax along with the softening properties that came from mineral spirits.

The proprietary blend was made of a combination of turpentine, mineral spirits, carnauba, and microcrystalline wax. The clear and polished look that this formula produced is still highly prized and used by carpenter’s today to add a distinctive look to wooden cabinetry and other furniture pieces.

To check the current price and availability of BWC Bowling Alley Wax, click here to view the listing on Amazon.

How Long Does It Take for Bowling Alley Wax to Dry?

While it’s dry enough for a second coat in approximately 5 to 10 minutes, it’s going to need a little longer to fully dry after this coat has been applied. While you will want to check the labelling on your particular Bowling wax, the average time to dry to the touch is going to be about 2 hours.

It also to cure in order to reach its optimal level of hardness and the final polished finish. This will take around 24 to 48 hours, so you’ll want to leave it alone and take care not to expose the newly-finished wood to dust as much as possible to avoid any of it settling in the wax.

Moisture can increase the amount of time involved, so you can place a humidifier nearby if you think that this is going to be an issue, but this will likely not be necessary. On it’s own it should dry quite well and it’s fully coated and cured by the end of the 48 hour period.  

Ow to Remove Bowling Alley Wax

If you need to remove bowling alley wax, then you will want to utilize a damp cloth that that has been treated with naphtha, turpentine, or common mineral spirits. Rub down the surface with your cloth and it should break-down the wax enough that you can wipe the excess away with additional dray and clean cloths until it is fully removed.

Final Thoughts

Today we’ve taken a closer look at how you can apply and remove bowling alley wax so that you can use this classic wax for your own projects. As you can see, it’s quite easy to use, and all you will need to do is to clean the surface properly, apply it with the steel wool, and let it dry before wiping off excess and adding the second coat.

Give it a good 48 hours to ensure a proper curing and then it should be fully dry and ready to use. Should you want to clean or polish it up a bit, a feather duster and a damp cloth should get the job done without damaging the newly polished surface.

Finally, if you need to remove it, mineral spirts are quick and easy, just clean it as the wax dissolves and you’ll soon have the wood pristine and ready to do what you will with it. With the tips we’ve given you today, you’re now ready to use bowling alley wax for your own projects and we think that you are going to agree… there’s nothing quite like it!

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