View Full Version : Waxing Photographs...any ideas?

06-20-2009, 12:24 PM
I would like to incorporate wax over my matte surface silver gelatin photographs to give a soft sheen and that beautiful richness that accompanies wax. Anyone have experience?
Here is what I've tried:
Beeswax: gets opaque very fast.
Encaustic wax, with damar, can be applied in very thin coatings. It is does give the translucency and sheen. But it seems impossible to keep dust and brush-hairs off the surface. I guess this is not an issue to encaustic artist as their layers are much thicker and more opaque. But over a photograph it is distracting. Also, I am not sure if this stuff ever truly hardens. It can be buffed to a brillant shine , but scratch marks show.
Renaissance wax: I have just read about this. It seems an excellent conservation wax. All the threads I have picked up relate to glossy/digital images. They say it is almost invisible when finished. I am hoping for a soft luster.
Any experience is helpful!

Kirk Keyes
06-20-2009, 02:01 PM
You might want to try asking in the "alternative" forum here. The Platinum printers there probably have more use for that than emulsion makers do.

06-20-2009, 04:51 PM

Welcome to APUG.

You don't mention what format(s) you shoot, but many of the large and ultra large format shooters use Renaissance wax to protect, clean and smooth the function of the LF gear. I have not tried it on prints, but it certainly helps keep the dust out of film holders and makes all moving parts work more smoothly. In short, if you have some Renaissance wax and it doesn't do what you want on prints, DON'T throw it out. There are many other places for it.

John Powers

06-20-2009, 04:57 PM

I have used Renaissance Wax on some of my platinum/palladium prints on both velum and Arches Platine. I generally apply four or five coats, It gives at least the appearance of greater D-max - I don't know if it is real or apparent since my densitometer does not take reflective readings. There are a lot of places online where you can get this wax and the price varies quite a bit. I got mine from a woodworking supply. If you decide to try it, you may want to start with the small can - a little goes a long way. Do a Google search. You might also search here at APUG. If I remember correctly, there was a thread about waxing prints sometime this past year.


06-20-2009, 07:29 PM
If the renaissance wax dose not work out you might try tung oil.
100% tung oil, not "tung oil varnish". I use it over my Pt and gum prints on glass. It takes about 3 days to dry, but buffs into a luster finish. Very transparent.

06-21-2009, 04:03 PM
Isn't there a danger that these waxes and oils will yellow with age?

06-21-2009, 04:23 PM
I knew a fellow who used plain Simonize paste wax. He yellowed with age, but his prints looked o.k.