Paste wax removal to apply more durable finish

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Forum topic by loflin posted 06-14-2010 03:52 AM 2704 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4 posts in 2930 days

06-14-2010 03:52 AM

Topic tags/keywords: paste wax removal question

I have an assembly table that I want to retire and let my family use as a project table. It has only been finished with a paste wax to prevent glue from sticking but I would like to apply a water base polyurethane. What would be the best method to use to remove the wax? Is there a finish that can be applied over the wax?

9 replies so far

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13607 posts in 3367 days

#1 posted 06-14-2010 04:03 AM

i have only heard of mineral spirits ,
there may be others ,

hang tight ,
someone may know more .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 2949 days

#2 posted 06-14-2010 04:17 AM

What kind of top is it? If it’s wood you probably can get by cleaning it off with steel wool and mineral spirits. I’d try cleaning it, let the mineral spirits evap and then clean it again. urathane should work then.
Btw if you use steel wool and a water based finish, make sure you get all the steel wool removed.

-- Life is good.

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2785 posts in 2998 days

#3 posted 06-14-2010 04:34 AM

If you can work on it outside, Turpentine does a pretty good job of disolving wax. I would think (emphasis on think) that a few good rubdowns with turpentine then a few days in the sun to dry out and get rid of the smell should work.

-- Galootish log blog,

View loflin's profile


4 posts in 2930 days

#4 posted 06-14-2010 05:14 AM

The table top surface is Birch Plywood and the entire top is heavy but easily removed from the table legs so I can work on it outside. I had thought that mineral spirits (or tupentine) and synthetic steel wool might work well and I have plenty of both. I guess that I was just being lazy and hoping that there might be a finish that could be applied over the wax.


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117119 posts in 3603 days

#5 posted 06-14-2010 05:30 AM

Naptha will take it of Then seal with dewaxed shellac

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Jesse.R's profile


55 posts in 2951 days

#6 posted 06-14-2010 06:04 AM

any finish you put on it without removing the wax first will peel. you have to remove it before starting fresh no way around that.

-- jesse

View Vicki's profile


1099 posts in 3370 days

#7 posted 06-15-2010 05:24 AM

If the top comes off, why not just flip it over and let the wax stay on the underneath? If you can’t do that why not just sand it off? Or does the wax penetrate real deep?

-- Vicki on the Eastern Shore of MD

View Tony Strupulis's profile

Tony Strupulis

260 posts in 3149 days

#8 posted 06-16-2010 02:20 AM

I agree with a1Jim. I’ve used naptha and it is super easy to strip wax. In fact, the ski shops sell an expensive bottle of solvent to clean the wax off skis before doing base repair work. It smells EXACTLY like naptha! (don’t buy the expensive ski solvent)

-- Tony -

View loflin's profile


4 posts in 2930 days

#9 posted 06-16-2010 07:32 AM

Thank you for all of the ideas. The top can easily be removed but it is not just a piece of plywood. I made a torsion box and it has a definite top and underside. Yesterday I removed the wax with turpentine several times until the mop rags were clean and then to be safe I scrubbed and mopped up one more time. Tomorrow I will sand and seal with dewaxed shellac and go from there. I would have tried naptha but I have a lot of turpentine and mineral spirits. The only naptha that I have is an unopened can of Coleman fuel and didn’t want to open it for this.



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