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Painting over wax

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aesmith

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Hi,

The house that we're moving into has had quite a lot of the interior woodwork stripped back, and I have a nasty feeling that some of it has been waxed judging by smell and the fact that the wood has a non wetting surface.

My questions are firstly how could I test that to see whether it is or isn't waxed? Secondly, if the wood has been waxed is there any sensible treatment I can apply to remove or neutralise the wax so that the wood can be painted?

Thanks in advance, Tony S
 

andersonec

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Try with a little white spirit to see if the it comes off, it may be embedded in the grain so if it is wax then you may need a stiff brush.

Andy
 

Dodge

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Personally I think you are going to struggle to remove all traces of wax completely as the nature of it sinks into the pores of the timber.

I have been asked this time and time again by people who bought the awful "hand waxed" mass produced pine furniture in the late eighties/early nineties and subsequently tried painting it with the "in vogue" duckshell green paint more recently leaving hideous results due to the wax - hence the term "Shabby Chique" - an excuse for a bad finish in my view #-o

Really it is going to be a case of trial and error i'm afraid but think you could find it a very frustrating exercise.

Sorry :( :(

Rog
 

SeanJ

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Faced with what you've described i'd have a fine steel wool ball dipped in White Spirit and a good supply of dry rag to hand, daub on the WS generously and leave to dilute/dissolve and rub with vigour with the dry rags, you'll get 90% off usually, that's my take on dewaxing, awful job!
 

Jacob

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Aluminium primer might do it. Or shellac as a primer. Trial and error!
 

aesmith

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Thanks for the comments guys. I've been off the grid until we got power and broadband into the house, so haven't caught up until today. I had a further looks around, and wonder whether some of the woodwork has been sealed with shellac. Some of the "stripped" woodwork is non-wetting (doesn't change colour when dampened) but doesn't feel waxy. As the house warms up there is a shellac smell mixed in with the more dominant beeswax and woodwork killer.

I guess I'll need to do some tests.
 

RogerS

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I recently came across this excellent guide in Ian Hosker's book ...Complete Woodfinishing..which to my mind is one of the best books on finishing I've come across...very modern and up-to-date.

It's a 5 step process to identify the finish

1 Does the finish soften with Meths FRENCH POLISH OR SPIRIT VARNISH
Not softened ...go to Step 2

2 Does the finish soften with white spirit ...yes go to step 3
Not softened ...go to step 4

3 Does the finish feel waxy and smears when rubbed with a finger; will scrape off when scratched with a finger.....WAX
Surface feels oily smooth but will not smear or scrape off with fingernail OIL

4 If scraped with blade of sharp knife, finish will produce tiny flakes with some dust POLYURETHANR VARNISH
If scraped with blade of sharp knife, finish produces a white dust Go to 5

5 Will soften with cellulose thinners NITROCELLULOSE LACQUER
Will not soften with cellulose thinners CATALYSED LACQUER

Let us know how you get on.
 

Newbie_Neil

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Hi Roger,

RogerS":2zsv3841 said:
I recently came across this excellent guide in Ian Hosker's book ...Complete Woodfinishing..which to my mind is one of the best books on finishing I've come across...very modern and up-to-date.

It's a 5 step process to identify the finish

1 Does the finish soften with Meths FRENCH POLISH OR SPIRIT VARNISH
Not softened ...go to Step 2

2 Does the finish soften with white spirit ...yes go to step 3
Not softened ...go to step 4

3 Does the finish feel waxy and smears when rubbed with a finger; will scrape off when scratched with a finger.....WAX
Surface feels oily smooth but will not smear or scrape off with fingernail OIL

4 If scraped with blade of sharp knife, finish will produce tiny flakes with some dust POLYURETHANR VARNISH
If scraped with blade of sharp knife, finish produces a white dust Go to 5

5 Will soften with cellulose thinners NITROCELLULOSE LACQUER
Will not soften with cellulose thinners CATALYSED LACQUER

Let us know how you get on.
That is excellent.

The only thing I would add is that whilst white spirit and petrol will remove wax, petrol actually does a better job.

Thanks,
Neil
 

Sgian Dubh

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RogerS":yvativnz said:
Will not soften with cellulose thinners CATALYSED LACQUER
Newbie Neil, I've only just spotted this thread, and there's a bit of an error in the guidance passed on by RogerS. Cellulose thinner, aka, lacquer thinner, will soften many catalysed lacquers. For instance, it will soften pre-catalysed lacquer, and I've used cellulose thinner from time to time to strip some small items finished with this stuff. Slainte.
 

Newbie_Neil

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Hi Sgian Dubh,

Sgian Dubh":2jjreqnb said:
RogerS":2jjreqnb said:
Will not soften with cellulose thinners CATALYSED LACQUER
Newbie Neil, I've only just spotted this thread, and there's a bit of an error in the guidance passed on by RogerS. Cellulose thinner, aka, lacquer thinner, will soften many catalysed lacquers. For instance, it will soften pre-catalysed lacquer, and I've used cellulose thinner from time to time to strip some small items finished with this stuff. Slainte.
Thank you, I'll amend my copy of Ian Hosker's book that Roger was quoting from.

Thanks,
Neil
 

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