Paste wax removal to apply more durable finish

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Forum topic by loflin posted 06-14-2010 03:52 AM 2543 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4 posts in 2322 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

View patron's profile


13524 posts in 2759 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 2341 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.

View swirt's profile


2106 posts in 2390 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 2322 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.


View a1Jim's profile


115167 posts in 2995 days

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

Naptha will take it of Then seal with dewaxed shellac

-- Custom furniture

View Jesse.R's profile


50 posts in 2343 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


1040 posts in 2762 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

257 posts in 2541 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 2322 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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