Wax a disaster: help! - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 09-11-2017, 12:02 PM Thread Starter
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Wax a disaster: help!

Hello,
I have a wooden bay window which was looking tired with various white water marks, and areas where the stain had been worn slightly showing the lighter wood colour underneath and various scratches showing the same.

I didn't want to completely strip it down so cleaned it with white spirit and lightly sanded it before giving it three coats of ronseal mahogany stain (said for external use but thought would be okay for inside too).

I was very happy with the result and it looked much better.

Thinking it needed sealing, I applied Briwax Original dark wood wax, and when it was dry buffed it all.

What a disaster! It now looks all patchy with some areas shiny and some areas not shiny, and I haven't a clue why it isn't all shiny.

I don't want to apply another coat of wax in case it just makes it worse.

My feeling is that I need to completely remove this wax I've just applied, and perhaps give it one more coat of stain and just leave it. It was a matt before so I don't think there was anything over the previous stain.

So, how do I remove this wax layer? I presume a light sanding wouldn't as wax in never completely hard. I am thinking that using white spirit with microfiber cloths will, but I don't want to attempt to before getting advice as I don't want to wreck it. The stain is water based so all wax needs to be removed and its instructions say to wipe with white spirit before applying.

Also, would it be okay to just leave it after I stain it, or would it need a layer of something to protect it over the top, and if so what would be easy to apply, look uniform and have maybe a satin/slight sheen not glossy.

Any advice would be much appreciated. Pic attached.

Many thanks,

Simon
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post #2 of 9 Old 09-11-2017, 12:57 PM
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My take is that the stain, while for exterior use is not a finish. Stains are typically made up of dyes, pigments (ground up colorants), solvents, and a weak binder. The BriWax also has a solvent that evaporates before you buff it. I'm thinking the wax slightly dissolved, or softened, the stain, the two intermixed and caused the blotching you have. I would have top coated the stain with a varnish prior to applying the wax. Mineral spirits should remove the wax (and the stain), and you'll have to start over. There may be alternative solutions, but that's my take.

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post #3 of 9 Old 09-11-2017, 03:09 PM
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Getting rid of ALL of the wax will be required for a successful redo. Meaning many wipes with solvent and many changes of rags. Each time you do this you will further dilute to wax. Never sand before cleaning! It will just grind the contaminate deeper into the surface. Putting a wax "finish" on is easy and not durable.
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post #4 of 9 Old 09-11-2017, 06:40 PM
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Hello,
You know, one of the things that helped me to mix the stain with a varnish. Wrote about it by Jim Frye.
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post #5 of 9 Old 09-11-2017, 09:17 PM
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The exterior stain would have been alright with one coat on raw wood. It's exterior because it is formulated to resist fading from sunlight. You should never use more than one coat of stain and you shouldn't use a stain if there is any trace of the old finish there. The first coat should do the job and repeated coats can interfere with the adhesion of the finish. No amount of stain should be allowed to dry on the surface. Stain isn't a finish and neither is Bri-Wax. Bri-Wax is wax and about the least water resistant product you could have used. It water spots with the least exposure and more wax isn't going to help.

From where you are I would use paint and varnish remover and strip the wax, stain and what ever finish that might still be there off. Then after sanding the wood could be stained with the exterior stain with one coat wiping off the excess. After that it should be finished with a marine grade spar varnish if it is exposed to direct sunlight. If the wood is exposed to direct sunlight it will expand and contract and the spar varnish will breathe with the wood. Since the spar varnish is formulated for exterior use it will be very water resistant and will last for you.
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post #6 of 9 Old 09-12-2017, 12:19 PM Thread Starter
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Worse still

Hello,
Thanks for your replies.

I've tried removing the wax (and stupidly I did try rubbing a wood spray polish on after I'd waxed it to see if I could improve it) with micofibre cloths and white spirit, turning after every wipe as the brown stain from the wax was coming off. And then went over it a few times, until no more or very little brown appeared on the cloth.

It's worse, with streaks of very distinctive areas of shiny and non shiny surface.





I really can't see rubbing with more white spirit is going to improve it.

My feeling now is to see if I can rub it down with fine sandpaper to see if I can get it even looking but I don't want to make it even more worse.

By the way I've been onto the stain manufacturer and they say their stain seals the wood and you don't need to add anything on top, so I would have been okay if I'd just left it. And the instructions say to do three coats which I did.

Simon
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post #7 of 9 Old 09-12-2017, 04:01 PM
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Oh Boy! What "wood spray polish" did you use? Many of them contain silicones and are very difficult to remove once the surface is contaminated with them. The silicons will cause leveling (fish eye) and adhesion problems with subsequent finishes. Follow Steve's advice completely. Spar varnish with a UV inhibitor will be essential to keeping the window seat finish from degrading and peeling down the road. I'd shy away from using the exterior stain on an interior piece. Also, what is in the exterior stain? Some contain paraffin wax derivatives which is fine for outdoor decks, but not so much for a window seat.

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post #8 of 9 Old 09-12-2017, 04:07 PM Thread Starter
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It was silicone free but nevertheless. The stain is a water based one which the company said is okay for indoors but not floors or work surfaces where there is hard wear.

I've resigned myself to using paint stripper then sandpaper to get rid of it all and start afresh. What a PITA as it was fine before I applied the damned wax.
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post #9 of 9 Old 09-12-2017, 08:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Frye View Post
Oh Boy! What "wood spray polish" did you use? Many of them contain silicones and are very difficult to remove once the surface is contaminated with them. The silicons will cause leveling (fish eye) and adhesion problems with subsequent finishes. Follow Steve's advice completely. Spar varnish with a UV inhibitor will be essential to keeping the window seat finish from degrading and peeling down the road. I'd shy away from using the exterior stain on an interior piece. Also, what is in the exterior stain? Some contain paraffin wax derivatives which is fine for outdoor decks, but not so much for a window seat.
Bri-Wax is more like Johnson's paste wax. For some things it can be a finish. I had my shop next door to an antique shop one time and they were making pine furniture and they would finish it with Bri-Wax. For beds and wardrobes it worked alright but a lot of times a customer would buy one of their tables and return it be cause it was so bad to water spot. To please the customer they were having me refinish the furniture and put a lacquer finish on it.

Interesting how they were making pine antiques. Over in Europe furniture less than 100 years old is just considered used furniture. They would buy containers of walnut and mahogany veneered used furniture and run it through a dip strip tank. The caustic soda stripper would take the veneer off leaving the pine structure of the furniture. Then they would sand it a little and wax it with Bri-Wax.
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