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Re: Wax on wooden tablets

Short answer is, Beeswax.

Generally they added colorants (such as lampblack) to the wax to make it
easier to see marks. As far as flaking is concerned, with pure beeswax,
it shouldn't be much of a problem--you don't need to dig deep into the
wax if it's dark-colored. Beeswax usually is a lot smoother and softer
than parafin candle-wax, which chips so easily. The idea, I think, is
more to dent the surface than to carve it, unless you use a very fine
point indeed. Probably instructions on that in the file mentioned below.
(Then again, if you write in cuneiform, you just press straight into the
surface, and no need to worry about chipping flakes out of the wax!)

For lots more information, download this file:


It's a collection of information (including at least one person's
careful, complete instructions, as later published somewhere) on the
process of wax-tablet making, as posted on the Rialto, which is the
Society for Creative Anachronism's newsgroup. Rialto is a godsend for
those who want to find out about all kinds of
ancient/medieval/traditional ways of doing things (REALLY all kinds).
The index of threads collected by this person is at


Not terribly user-friendly, but there's a heck of a lot of stuff there
(I recommend the sealing-wax discussion as well). For more information
(or to join Rialto) go to www.sca.org, and click on the link to
Miscellany, which will give you a list including links to the newsgroup
and other discussion groups and various collections of archives

Also under Miscellany, there're links to merchants selling period gear;
I know at one point I saw a small note on someone's site there,
mentioning s/he sold wax tablets, but when I looked this time it was
gone, or else I missed it (I didn't look all that long).


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