Removing wax from a dining table?

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Forum topic by FMG posted 12-15-2011 03:03 PM 2275 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View FMG's profile


65 posts in 3306 days

12-15-2011 03:03 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Hey all, Good to be back! Its been a while since I have been on here or even in the shop for that matter. I have a project and need a little help and or advice trying to remove wax and build up from our dining room table. I would like to attempt not to harm the original finish. If I am successful in doing so, what should I use to reseal the top? If I do wreck the old finish though what would be a good finish to use? The original finish looks similar to Minwax Early American, if I had to guess. It is a dull satin finish. I do have to match the color to our hutch and that could be a problem.

Thanks in advance everybody,

-- FMG- Woodworking is 90% mental the other half is physical

7 replies so far

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2386 days

#1 posted 12-15-2011 03:44 PM

Give it a vigorous wash and scrub with naptha and gray nylon pad, followed by cleaning up with toweling. A couple iterations would be a good idea. Renew the finish by wiping on a naptha thinned oil poly: wipe on a coat, let it sit a bit, then wipe off. One coat a day for three days should do the job.


-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View ksSlim's profile


1276 posts in 2915 days

#2 posted 12-15-2011 06:15 PM

Murphy’s oil soap will cut thru the build up, followed by the solvent of choice.

-- Sawdust and shavings are therapeutic

View Bertha's profile


13529 posts in 2718 days

#3 posted 12-15-2011 07:44 PM

I was going to say scraper plane and card scraper. Like Cr1 mentions, I bed there’s gunk impregnated into the surface.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View a1Jim's profile


117115 posts in 3602 days

#4 posted 12-15-2011 07:50 PM

I agree with Clint

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15369 posts in 2643 days

#5 posted 12-15-2011 08:02 PM



I have to think Clint’s approach is low risk, but if the naptha does affect the underlying color, as CR1 suggests, a total refinish would be in order. If it’s really minwax-type (mainstream) color, shouldn’t be a huge deal getting it to stay in line with your hutch. But you ‘knew the job was dangerous when you took it!’ Good luck!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2715 days

#6 posted 12-16-2011 04:41 AM

I’ve had success with the ‘Clint” method but I used mineral spirits rather than naptha (‘cause that’s what I had). Didn’t damage the underlying finish at all. I didn’t really bear dowm on the gray Scotch pad when I cleaned the table top as I was afraid I’d go through the finish.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View FMG's profile


65 posts in 3306 days

#7 posted 12-16-2011 05:49 AM

Thanks everyone, Clint I got some Naptha and was able to get through a layer but some of the original finish was in bad shape and the previous owner (In-laws) tried to cover it with a healthy coat of wax. Bertha I did end up breaking out a card scraper and went at it. It was my first time using one and I loved it. What a simple and great tool, less mess and no smell either. I sanded down one of the legs and applied some minwax early american and it is just about dead on.
- A1 Jim I’m glad to see your still on here.
Thanks again everyone,

-- FMG- Woodworking is 90% mental the other half is physical

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