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BEFORE & AFTER: Using Liming Wax on an Oak Wood Chest

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This liming wax oak wood chest “before and after” is brought to you in part by RYOBI Power Tools. Get the full tutorial on RYOBI Nation. For more liming wax projects, watch this tutorial on how to use liming wax.


The first time I saw a piece of wood furniture with liming wax on oak, I melted. All this time I’ve been painting furniture, covering up that beautiful wood grain, and not even realizing that white liming wax had the transformational power to make me fall in love with wood!

Ever since I built my custom bathroom vanity from scratch (I used red oak), I discovered how magical liming wax on raw wood can look. I also learned how expensive red oak is. So when I was at the thrift store months ago and saw this amazing oak chest for $40, I knew it could be beautiful with liming wax, just like my vanity does!

The best part is that I had a gift card for the thrift store because I had won a thrifting contest months before. There’s nothing like finding “free” furniture at the thrift store, am I right??

This is what it looked like when I was ready to refinish the wood chest. I’m not a fan of that outdated honey-colored oak. Not one bit.


Using liming wax on an oak wood chest - BEFORE - Thrift Diving


I lugged that baby home with me, stored in the garage for a few months. And I’ll admit–as I pulled the oak chest out into the driveway to refinish it, I couldn’t shake the feeling that this chest looked an awful lot like–gasp!–a coffin! Would you believe I went online and started googling “coffins” just to see how similar mine was to an actual coffin. It was so morbid that I immediately closed the window and vowed to just keep moving forward, despite the–ahem–design challenges.

Although I think it still looks a tad bit like a coffin, let’s just say it’s a more modern and upscale coffin now! LOL


Using liming wax on an oak wood chest - AFTER! - Thrift Diving


I monogramed my initials on the front out of aluminum sheet metal, too, which gives this wood chest a personal touch. If you can believe it, hubby said he actually likes this project (if you have known him, he tends to not really care much about my projects, LOL). But this project–he says I should have put his initials because he wants it. That’s a promising sign that I did something right!


Using liming wax on an oak wood chest - Monogramed metal letters - Thrift Diving


Someone on my YouTube channel had a great idea: to replace the handles with something else more sleek. I love that idea. I had tried to remove these handles but they’re glued on. I would hav had to cut them off. Not impossible, but one extra step that I didn’t feel like doing. So refinishing them was the best option.


Using liming wax on an oak wood chest - AFTER with metal monogramed letters - Thrift Diving


I dyed the inside of this wood chest, as well, to darken up the wood a bit. You can find all the details of this project on RYOBI Nation.


Using liming wax on an oak wood chest - AFTER with metal monogramed letters and perfect for storing blankets! - Thrift Diving


What I love about using liming wax is that the grain comes alive. On the “BEFORE,” there was nothing about the wood chest that stood out to me. It was good quality but very boring. But with the liming wax it looks….expensive. And that metal monogram takes it to a whole ‘nother level, if I do say so myself.


Using liming wax on an oak wood chest - AFTER with metal monogramed letters with liming wax and clear wax. - Thrift Diving


To get the materials list for how I used liming wax on this oak chest, visit RYOBI Nation. Or you can watch the tutorial on my YouTube channel, as well!

Watch This Project in Action!



Using liming wax on an oak wood chest - AFTER with metal monogramed letters with liming wax and clear wax and perfect for blankets and storage. - Thrift Diving


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BEFORE & AFTER: How to Use Liming Wax on Oak. See this $40 thrifted wood chest makeover using liming wax and wood dye, with a metal monogram! Includes a full VIDEO TUTORIAL. - Thrift Diving Blog



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  1. The chest is so much better! And what an easy update. The great thing about your blog ideas is that they make me look differently at the stuff I find in thrift shops. Instead of walking past an ugly piece of wood furniture or decor, I can reimagine them by using liming wax. Thank you!

  2. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your Family!!! The chest is gorgeous. It looks like a brand new piece of furniture. You’re awesome and I enjoy looking at your projects. You give me the push I need to do my own projects.

  3. Love what you did!
    two questions:
    1- it was hard to tell the size….did you mention that?
    2-Where did you get your initials?

  4. Barbara Warner says:

    Your chest turned out beautifully! I like the color and what a difference in the look of the wood. The initials/monogram add so much to the whole piece. Job well done!

    1. Hi Barbara! Thank you so much! It turned out much better than I expected! I was worried that stripping the wood wouldn’t allow the finishing to turn out as great as if it were new wood, but the sanding worked wonders! πŸ™‚

  5. Oh my, I have never heard of liming wax. But let me tell you that that is one beautiful piece. You always do beautiful work, but this is just gorgeous. No wonder your husband wants it. πŸ™‚

    1. Oooh, you’ve got to get your hands on some liming wax!! It’s great for oak. I have a table in my basement that someone gave me years ago from an old job. I am thinking of stripping it and using liming wax on it with the raw wood! πŸ™‚ Thank you so much for the compliments!

  6. Wow! Major difference!!!
    Great you had that vision.
    This is something I would never have considered doing, now Im thinking “YEAH!”

  7. I love how the piece looks with the liming wax and monogram. It’s a lovely trunk. All the time you were describing it as a coffin, I was thinking that if you were to swap the handles and locking clasps with leather straps, it would look like a steamer trunk, much less coffin-y, but then I got to the part where you said the handles were immovable. It was mostly the original colour that set the coffin vibe, tho, so the wax and the monogram really make a difference, now it’s a beautiful box for storing whatever you need.

    1. Thanks, Suzie! I agree with the handles! I would have had to cut them off. And while I could have done that, I was worried I would have damaged the wood, so I figured I would just refinish it with the handles. But you’re right–new sleek metal handles would have been fabulous! Thanks for checking out my project!! πŸ™‚

  8. I really enjoy your projects and you’ve inspired me a lot, although often more than I think I can take on, so admire your work! You also are funny, and did look like a coffin but you did a great makeover!

    1. Awww, thanks, Celia! Great to know I’ve inspired you! That’s my goal! πŸ™‚

  9. Margaret Albert says:

    OMG I love it now! It did look like a coffin LOL. BEAUTIFUL now, good for storing extra blankets, etc. Thanks again!

    1. Thanks, Margaret! Hubby has laid claim to it so I need to find a great place to put it. Probably in his office. But that office is SUCH a mess, I have no idea how it will even “fit” in there. It’s such a hodge podge of stuff in there. LOL

  10. I so enjoy watching your projects. Please keep them coming.πŸ™‚πŸ’

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