Homemade wood butter

A few years ago we bought an olive wood chopping board. It’s an irregular shape with lots of nice wood grain, bit of a keeper. I’ve neglected it lately and it was looking really parched so I made some wood butter to bring it back to life. Most of the recipes I found contain mineral oil (a petroleum by-product) which wasn’t really what I wanted. I bought some Cornish beeswax on our trip to Cornwall at Christmas and used that with coconut oil to make a natural alternative. I’ve been using it on our kitchen utensils and wood furniture and they look great. If you want to make some, here is the recipe.

You will need

  • 25g beeswax
  • 100g coconut oil or nut oil
  • Jam jar with lid
  • Pan

1. Choose your oil

I used coconut oil with the beeswax. It’s food safe, natural and we already had a jar of it in the cupboard. If you don’t want to use coconut oil and need help deciding on an alternative, have a look at this article on food safe wood finishes. I want to try walnut oil next.

Chunks of beeswax

Cornish beeswax

2. Chop the beeswax

Chop your beeswax into small chunks with a knife. It’s hard stuff so it’s easy for the knife to slip. I’m a total clutz with a knife and I found it easier to put the tip of the knife into the wax and then cut down slowly. You can chop it into whatever size you like but the larger you leave the chunks, the longer they will take to melt.

Chopped beeswax on board

3. Melt the beeswax and coconut oil

Put 25g of beeswax into a jam jar. Place the jam jar (without the lid on) into a pan of shallow water and heat gently. Once the wax has melted add 100g of coconut oil. Once both have fully melted* give it a good stir and take it off the heat.

*Coconut oil is semi-solid at room temperature and turns into a liquid when heated. If you are using an oil that is already liquid, such as walnut oil, it just needs to be warmed through and stirred in order to mix it with the wax before removing from the heat.

Jar of melted oil and wax

4. Leave to solidify

Carefully lift the jar out of the pan and leave to solidify.

Jar of homemade wood butter

5. Use

Then it’s ready to use! The wood butter will be solid but soft enough to get a spoon in. On cold days you might need to microwave it for 10 seconds to soften.

Faded wooden spoons

Our sad looking spoons before the wood butter

Use a clean cloth to scoop out some of the wood butter and rub a generous amount onto the wood. Leave it on for a few hours (ideally overnight) and then wipe of any excess oil. If you are feeling energetic you can also buff the wood with a clean cloth for a bit of extra shine.

Spoons and wood butter on board

Ta-dah! This is how our spoons looked after applying the butter. Less tatty with a nice sheen! You can also see how well the butter has bought out the grain in the board underneath.

Shiny, oiled wooden spoons

Shiny, oiled wooden spoons

I made a simple label – you know how I am, I like things to have labels! Without one, I can imagine myself accidentally using it for cooking as I’ve put it in an old coconut oil jar.

Brown paper jar label

Wood butter on board

So there you have it. Really quick and easy and makes all your wood look like new again. If you make it, drop me a comment and let me know what you think!

17 Comments

    • I just measured an old jam jar, put some text together in Photoshop, used my inkjet printer to print it onto brown paper and cut round it. I plan to make a downloadable version for people to use soon 🙂

  1. Would this be an effective furniture polish? I despise the smell of most furniture polish and the perfume scent that is left in the air. I have unsuccessfully been trying to find a more natural polish and would not resist making my own. Cheers!

    • Absolutely – but only if your furniture is real wood (not veneer). I’ve been using it on my coffee table and tv unit – wipe any dust off with a dry cloth and then apply the wood butter. It leaves the wood feeling really glossy and smooth. If you try it, let me know how you found it.

    • Definitely! I made this wood butter primarily to use on my kitchen chopping board and spoons, they look great.

  2. Danny H. Bauer Sr.

    Being organic and oil, how long will this keep before going rancid? And does it matter?

    • Beeswax has a very long life. If you keep your wood butter in a cool place (jar with lid) it should last as long as the use-by date of your coconut oil. This only really matters if you are using it for things that come in to contact with food like chopping boards and spoons etc. Rancid oil would start to smell bad and in this case you wouldn’t walk to rub it in to your furniture! Hope that helps!

  3. de Villiers

    Hi Gemma. I love this recipe and would love to use it in a free beeswax ebook I’m creating if you’ll allow me. I’m the owner of a small social responsible company that is distributing certified organic beeswax and bringing awareness of dying bee populations due to pesticide use. Please email me to discuss. Thank very much!!

  4. love this recipe! i make my own body butter and wipe the excess off onto my spoons when i make it. but im going to make some
    just for my spoons and furniture. thank you so much

  5. Jackie Gardner

    I’ve been looking for something to condition my dough bowl with. This will work wonderfully.

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