Liquid bees wax finish for cedar

Hi all

I’ve gone through a few brood boxes trying to find a finish that enhances the natural grain whilst also being appropriate for outdoors

I understand tung oil is not considered appropriate, but ultradeck i found to cover the natural grain too much, cabots timber oil was too orange

I’ve seen gillys liquid bees wax on the shelf in bunnings. has anyone used it? would it be safe for use on a bee hive?

Not appropriate for pine, but it is great on cedar. My Western Red Cedar (WRC) boxes are at least 6 years old, and they still look good. :wink:


Thanks Dawn. Tung oil? do you live in a humid/wet environment probe to mildew? I understand tung oil is prone to it

do you have photos you can share?

Cabots come out with a water base protection for Garden Furniture external Timber Projects.
That is what i used.

(Cabot’s 1L Water Based New Natural Garden Furniture Oil)

Thanks Daz. Yeah i gave it a shot and it’s too unnaturally orange for me.

I’ve got a sample of aquadeck too which is meant to be less orange…

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I’ve used tung oil with and without terpene for my cedar hives and pine nucs and would recommend it (but not on the rooves or full-size pine hives). @cirode if you use the search key, you’ll see plenty of information on it, as well as pictures of Dawn’s hives. Personally, I’m not keen on the decking products because of a) the chemicals in them and b) you’re going to have to recoat it at some stage. If you want to recoat it with the bees inside, use tung oil with a light sand. If you want to use something like ultradeck or intergrain you’re best to move the bees out, recoat then let it off-gas etc.
I’m giving this (see below) a try as I don’t have concerns over the ingredients and I can recoat with the bees inside. The application is easier (so far) than tung oil and it smells great (I can smell the citrus terpene in it amongst other things). I can’t say much yet about longevity or how the bees will react when I recoat while they’re in the hive, but I’m confident enough to give it a whirl:

NB - My tung oil cedar hive is still going strong after 3 or 4 years so long as it gets a recoat each year - not a big deal.

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Another plug for hot wax dipping!


wish i could! unfortunately noone does it outside winter

Thanks so much for your reply @Outbeck

I’ve searched through the forums and read quite a lot, and it seems about 50/50 people like yourself advocating for it, and people saying that it’s not appropriate for outdoor use. Either way the theme i’m getting is that Tung Oil moulds quite badly, which is mirrored in the official advice. I’m worried about that since i live in a rainforest area (dandenong ranges) which is prone to mildew.

I can’t find pics of Dawns hives though as user post searches don’t seem to be a feature

Maybe i should just give it a go though and if it starts moulding try find a decking product then… none of the products i have used so far give that natural wood look i was wanting

I will try to take some pics for you soon. My climate is humid, but not much rain (typical of coastal California). Watch this space…

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Here’s a thread - photos and all as well as an array of different opinions as to be expected.
If you go with tung oil, I’d definitely add the citrus terpene to the first coat (50/50) and either paint or use something different on the roof.

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Thanka for sharing @Outbeck unfortunately the thread link didn’t come through


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Thanks @Outbeck

I love the look the oil gives the hives. i’m just going to give it a shot and see. if i end up with mildew i’ll have to sand it back and use another product

Thanks for the reassurance that it’s been working for you with yearly recoats

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First tung oil coat. Love the way it makes the natural grain and colour come to life


Chris, you’re going to have the best looking Flow hive in the whole Yarra Ranges.

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haha hardly, but thankyou. they are lovely pieces of garden furniture arn’t they?


I agree Chris, they do look good. I painted the cedar Flow hive that was gifted to me white, including the roof, on account that white is a cool color, temp wise.

If a second Flow hive (an Araucaria) becomes mine via “possession being 9/10ths of the law”, I’ll paint it white as well.

Did you watch “Australian Story” last Monday? It was about Poe from Poe’s Kitchen. She has a Flow hive with bees actively working the entrance.

I have to admit that I don’t view a bee hive as “garden furniture”.

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No i didnt catch it. i wonder if it’s on iview, might give it a watch thanks.

That’s fair given how many hives you have though @JeffH haha. I def see mine as functionally decorative pieces at the moment since I only have the one.