knife and tool wax made by pelican paste

How to Choose the Right Wax or Oil for your Knife or Tool

How to choose the right wax or oil

The most common question I get is, "which wax should I choose?". In this article, my goal to to equip you with the right answer. 

But to be honest, there is no 'right' answer to the question. It all really comes down to personal preference, meaning the right answer for you isn't necessarily the right answer for the next person. But I will give you some specific uses for each type of wax and allow you to make the decision from there.

So let's take a look at each type of the waxes and oils available here at Pelican Paste.


Hard Wax

A hard wax is a wax that is less malleable in the hands.  It tends to crumble or crack before it conforms. A couple examples of a hard wax is carnauba wax and candelilla wax. Both brittle when solid. It typically takes a heat source to soften the wax before use.

A hard wax is best at long term protection. When choosing a wax, you will likely lean towards the hard waxes if you are looking for a shell for long term protection of your knife or tool. Because of its les malleable nature, it is great for steels and synthetics. It's hard enough to last through the everyday use of a knife blade, for example. And it has a higher melting point which makes it great for synthetic handles where body heat is a factor. 

Here is a list of ideal material for hard wax.

  • Damascus Steel
  • High Carbon Mono-steel
  • G10
  • Micarta
  • Stabilized woods / Hard Woods
  • Leather
  • Hammers
  • Tongs
  • Sides of your Anvil
  • anything metal...
Pros Cons
Long Lasting Protection

can be brittle

Great for Knife Blades


Higher melting temp so body heat doesn't effect it

might require heat to apply


Pelican Pastes Original hard wax formulation is one that blends both hard and soft waxes together. Our proprietary blend of natural waxes and oils provides that hard shell that is desired by many. Yet, having the soft wax incorporated within it allows it to be more malleable and not be brittle. Our blend creates a tough barrier that is specifically formulated to last with the everyday use of your knife blades or metal tools. 

Find Pelican Paste's Original Hard Wax HERE!


Soft Wax

 A soft wax is one that is easy to manipulate in the hands. Think of a Beeswax or similar. It will have a lower melting point and is less brittle. So it will be less likely to crack or crumble when handled. 

Soft wax is easy to use and does a great job protecting. It just might not last as long and will need to be reapplied more often. With a soft wax, heat is usually not need in order to apply the wax. The heat from your hands is usually enough to melt and spread the wax easily. 

Soft wax is great for:

  • Wood knife handles
  • Cutting boards
  • Hammer handles
  • Wood Tools
  • Butcher blocks
  • Leather goods
  • Wooden Utensils
  • Steel (just won't last as long)

Pelican Paste Soft wax is a special blend of soft waxes and oils that make it great for wood penetration along with protection from the elements. There is also enough hard wax in it to create that shell that so many are looking for.

Find Pelican Paste Soft Wax HERE! 



Oils are no doubt the most popular way to take care of a lot of things. From metals, to woods, to leather, oil does it all. But is it the right answer for you?

Oils have many benefits. For wood working or even knife making, if you are looking for a solution to penetrate the wood deep and keep it hydrated, oil is the answer. Oil also provides a shine to the finish that is hard to achieve with any wax. Along with those, there is an added benefit of it being really quick and easy to work with. 

For those three reasons alone, oil is a preference for a lot of makers. But there are some cons. Oil doesn't last as long. It tends to dry out and lose its luster quicker than if you were to go with a wax finish. But hey, that isn't a bad thing. Like I said before. It is all preference. It is easy to just apply more when needed. 

Oil can be used on just about everything. But here is what I use it on:

  • Wood knife handles
  • Cutting boards
  • Hammer handles
  • Wood Tools
  • Butcher blocks
  • Wooden Utensils
  • Steel (just won't last as long)

Pelican Paste Oil is a blend of all natural oils that each serve a purpose. It not only has the ability to penetrate deep into the pores of the wood, but it is designed to also create a hard dry shell as well. That way you get all the benefits of oil without the oily feeling. 

Learn more about Pelican Paste Oil HERE!

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