Need advice - problem with wax


Ronn W
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I made a veneered box with ebony and satin wood.  I did a high gloss finish with shellac ( french polish).  I decided to add a little protection withs some wax.  I am very dissappointed with the results.  After letting the shellac cure for about 4 days I applied the wax very lightly with cheese cloth and after waiting the required amount of time used a power buffer.  Some small areas are no longer clear but are slightly milky.  Some areas are no longer as smooth and shiny as they were before waxing.  Any suggestions, please.  If there is way to remove the wax, I would open to that suggestion.  I don't mind having to restore the french polish if I have to  but I would have to get the wax off first.  The wax used was Varathane Classic Paste Finishing wax in a yellow and hsite can with black lettering.  It is a semi soft paste wax.  On Monday I will call the manufacturer for their thoughts.  But any advice would be appreciated.

Picture before wax:

1984495770_IMG_20220724_0929296281.thumb.jpg.c9c46a28bb9dfd9577735e643fa40c07.jpg

Pics after wax:

428058682_IMG_20220730_2245093571.thumb.jpg.071072455fe8149fc8e55dc735f18c2b.jpg1928207280_IMG_20220730_2245523071.thumb.jpg.5e2bf3f5aed9e008026f6366b462cadc.jpg479957897_IMG_20220730_2246342901.thumb.jpg.7e35ac7a62d3ae9d7793c895afa018be.jpg858302794_IMG_20220730_2247039431.thumb.jpg.d94fac0725f4f13b2901a008a2888b5b.jpg

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On 7/31/2022 at 9:02 AM, wtnhighlander said:

Have you tried wiping it down with mineral spirits to remove the wax?

I haven't tried anything yet.  This moring I will try several solvents on a test piece that also has wax over shellac to see what happens.  I am really nervous about ruining this box because I was really happy with it before the wax fiasco.

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So far both mineral spirits and naptha "seem" to remove wax without affecting the shellac underneath.  But the french polish under the wax is so smooth and shiny that I am not sure that I really have removed all the wax.  How can I tell?

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Ronn, if there is time, I would also give the shellac several more days to cure. In my (admittedly limited) experience using shellac, the time it takes to cure to full hardness can vary quite a lot from batch to batch. But there is no finish that compares to a well-executed french polish, IMO.

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On 7/31/2022 at 8:19 PM, wtnhighlander said:

Ronn, if there is time, I would also give the shellac several more days to cure. In my (admittedly limited) experience using shellac, the time it takes to cure to full hardness can vary quite a lot from batch to batch. But there is no finish that compares to a well-executed french polish, IMO.

I agree I would let it dry for a longer time as well, probably weeks if not a month. 

Ronn regardless the box is beautiful! Awesome job as always!!

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Well,  I am trying to resotre the shellac French polish finish.  Most the the surface restored to a shine easily but the areas in th photos that are dull are not shining up so well.  I have reduce the size of the dull areas but they are being stubborn.  The dull areas are smooth. There is shellac on them but just not shiny. I will keep trying

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Nice box!!

What type of pad did you use on the power buffer, at what rpm?  What type of buffer?

I'm thinking it would be easier to use a different wax.  I had never heard of that one.   I expect you've removed it all by now anyway.

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On 8/2/2022 at 3:42 PM, Tom King said:

What type of pad did you use on the power buffer, at what rpm?  What type of buffer?

It's a cheap Ryobi buffer from a big box store.  The wax looks great on a practice piece that I did.  But the buffer is not well balanced - it's bounces and the pad probablyl beat up the edges and corners  - and I think I was tooo aggressive with it.  I talked to tech services at Rust-o leum (Varathane) and, depite what it says on the can they recommend buffing only by hand.  The dull spots are now minimal.  I am rworking on the french polish repair only once day for a few minutes so that I can't removed any of the previous days' work.  The dull spots are slowly disappearing.  Very frustrating but I will get there.

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Sounds like you're getting it.

Shiny is easy with modern automotive coatings.  Super shiny with buffing.

Bug juice used to be all there was.  Maybe furniture makers will someday catch up with auto finishers.

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