How To Apply Filson Oil Finish Wax

In the 1800’s sailors began waxing their sails for increased efficiency and durability and this fabric quickly found it’s way into the apparel world.  Everyone from the sailors themselves to fly fishermen loved this lightweight waterproofing solution to keep them dry.  Today you can find waxed canvas products across a broad range of apparel and accessories.  After periods of heavy usage you might need to touch up the finish on your waxed product but you can actually wax any cotton (or majority cotton blend) fabric from scratch.

Out of all of the waxes I have applied over the years, I can honestly say that the Filson Oil Finish Wax was the easiest to work with. Many waxes leave a tacky finish that can take days or even weeks to properly cure but the Filson wax had no tacky finish even immediately after application.  It is recommended to leave it hanging overnight to cure, but in a pinch you could seriously go right to using the item you just waxed with no real concern.

Wax1All you need to start is a tin of Filsons Oil Finish Wax, what you are waxing (in this case I am doing a Baggu Tote and my favorite black hat) and a clean rag or scrap of fabric.

Filson's Oil Finish Wax

Put a generous amount of wax onto your rag and rub in a circular motion on your fabric.  You will immediately notice the fabric getting darker and appearing wet.  While waxing your fabric will darken the color somewhat, the final appearance will be far less dramatic.


You might find it helps to place a hand inside of the bag or garment to really be able to apply even pressure.  You also might notice, over things like seams and snaps, that the fabric is either darker or lighter than the surrounding fabric.  This too will dissipate with curing and usage so don’t worry about it.


So at this point both the bag and hat waxed.  As you can see they both look wet and considerably darker than they were.  Grab a blowdryer and spend a few minutes going over your project on high heat.  You’ll see the wax soak into the fabric and start to “dry out.”


Find a spot to let your project hangout over night to allow the wax to cure.


The bag is just slightly darker than it started out and the black hat is virtually unchanged but both are now waterproof and have a much sturdier feel than before. With use they will develop more character and stand up to the elements better than their unwaxed counterparts.