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The Many Uses for Beeswax: Medieval and Contemporary

30 November 2011

Last May I was given a bit of beeswax as a prize. I thought at first it was a candle, not knowing what beeswax could be used for other than a candle. But I looked it up and discovered it was useful in sewing — you use it to strengthen your thread and keep it from knotting. I tried it and it was AMAZING. I’ve been using it ever since, and really see the benefits of it. I then bought some beeswax, melted it, and created my own little bits of beeswax. Some of these will be gifts at Cynnabar’s Grand Tourney, and the rest I’m keeping to just give out to people I meet — I want everyone to know the wonders of beeswax.

Beeswax!

With that thought in mind, I’ve compiled a list of uses of beeswax, from medieval times to today:

  1. Sewing – run your thread through the beeswax several times to strengthen it and minimize knotting.
  2. Leather armor – use it to harden leather for body armor
  3. Metal armor – useful in lubricating armorsmithing tools, and for polishing to a mirror-like finish
  4. Blacksmithing – used to finish ironwork, giving a nice sheen and preventing rust
  5. Basketweaving – used for pine-needle baskets
  6. Woodworking – a period finish for wood when mixed with mineral oil
  7. Archery – used to wax and protect the bowstring
  8. Sealing wax – mixed with shellac and oil, it because a flexible wax for sealing documents
  9. Bronze preservation – mixed with turpentine, it keeps bronze in good condition and untarnished
  10. Camping – waterproofs tent seams

That’s not all — you can also use it to make candles, ornaments, soap, crayons, wood filler, jar seals, lip balm, etc. etc. It even has medicinal uses — beeswax is used for lowering cholesterol and for relieving pain. It is also used for swelling, ulcers, and hiccups.

Beeswax has a high melting point of 144 to 147°F, so you can keep it with you without fear of it melting.

Oh, and it smells divine.

Everyone should have some beeswax! Come see me at Cynnabar’s Grand Tourney on December 3 and I’ll give you some 100% beeswax.

Sewing

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