To Infinity and Beyond

For several years the item that kept trying to percolate to the top of the pile was the making and selling of Mel’s Wax, a nearly effortless-to-use archival high-performance furniture maintenance polish.  This is something we created during my time at the Smithsonian, and was patented by my late friend and colleague Mel Wachowiak, Jr.  For years we simply created our own finishing and maintenance products as we needed them for our own use.  This formulation was the pinnacle of our success in this regard, and one wax polish manufacturer declared it to be the finest product they had ever encountered.

One of the hurdles to the further development of this undertaking was finding a steady, affordable source for shellac wax, one of the ingredients integral to the formulation.   After many moons of searching and corresponding I found an excellent supplier, and had a sample arrive directly from India.  It looked very good at first, an observation that was strengthened by melting it, examining it again in the molten state, and then one more time after it re-solidified.

If wax can be scrumptious, this was scrumptious.

I was ready to buy enough raw material to assure a substantial pipeline of material to allow for uninterrupted making and selling of Mel’s Wax.  I was delighted to learn that an order was merely expensive, but not stratospheric.  It caused a deep breath and a little tingling, but not cardiac arrest.  (My first inquiry into purchasing shellac wax from another dealer resulted in a quote of $3000 plus shipping for a 50-lb container.)  Fortunately this supplier is grounded in reality.

It was a bit unnerving and required a leap of faith, as they had no mechanism for purchase that I was familiar with.   No Paypal, no credit card set-up.  After coming to agreement on our terms I went to my bank and authorized a very sizable and irrevocable bank-to-bank transfer from a li’ol Virginny bank to a big British bank in India.  I gulped and signed it over.

Two weeks later my order of 200 pounds arrived, delivered to my door by Rich the UPS driver.  Since I was not at home he drove up to the barn and took  it inside!

Coincidentally the next week he brought my order of this year’s supply of raw beeswax , which thanks to bee-hive colony collapse had doubled in price from last year.   I now have in-hand the supplies to go into production later this summer.  Mrs. Barn wants that to be her domain, and I am more than willing to have her conscientious laboratory scientist self doing it.  I have several other wax formulations in the pipeline as well.

As a warm-up, and in preparation for Groopshop I made a batch of Mel’s Wax using the new shellac wax and beeswax.  Magnificent.  I will be giving this away at Groopshop, but it comes with strings attached.  Everyone who takes it must use it up, not hoard it, and must write a review of it for my personal use in fine tuning the formulation or the product literature.

So, this might be a monumental year at The Barn, taking us to infinity and beyond.  Or it could amount to nothing more than an amusing sideline, in which case we would concentrate on reveling in the upcoming nuptials of our second offspring unit.