Best cleaner to remove wax- 409? Naptha?

lsstSeptember 6, 2011

I am using Behlen Jet Spray toner to tone some mahogany dining room chairs.

The chairs were refinished using lacquer about 20 years ago.

The finish is nice but the color is UGLY.

I experimented with one chair. I cleaned it with low odor mineral spirits- let dry and then proceeded to use the toner.

I really liked the results but in a few small areas I got fish eye. I assume the mineral spirits did not remove all the wax.

What else would work better on wax removal?

I did a search and 409 and Naptha were mentioned.

Thanks in advance!

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brickeyee

"I really liked the results but in a few small areas I got fish eye. I assume the mineral spirits did not remove all the wax. "

Silicone contamination is the more common cause, and there is no reliable way to remove it.
The most common 'fix' is to add 'fish eye eliminator' (more silicone) to the next coat of finish.

Sometimes you can seal the contamination off and have a 'clean' enough surface to work on.

Mineral spirits dissolves most waxes, but you need to wipe the mess off before it has a chance to evaporate.

As the mineral spirits evaporate they will just leave behind anything they dissolved (possibly spreading out a problem).

    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 7:22PM
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sombreuil_mongrel

Lacquer thinner and plenty of clean rags will lift silicone, _most of the time_. But it can also ruin the finish if you work it too long.
If the chairs have the typical problem on the crest rail/arms where the finish has turned to goo, those portions have to be stripped.
I like naphtha for wax removal because it evaporates slightly faster than mineral spirits but still won't harm the finish.
Casey

    Bookmark   September 7, 2011 at 11:28AM
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brickeyee

"Lacquer thinner and plenty of clean rags will lift silicone, _most of the time_. But it can also ruin the finish if you work it too long. "

Lacquer thinner is liable to destroy almost any finish, including varnish.

Naphtha is faster than paint thinner, and paraffin oil is slower.

Use what you need for the job at hand.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2011 at 6:35PM
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cabinetsbyalan

I would try denatured alcohol.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2011 at 6:45PM
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brickeyee

"I would try denatured alcohol."

I have never had any luck removing silicone with alcohol, denature or otherwise.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2011 at 10:58AM
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bobismyuncle

Likewise, I've had silicone oil remaining in wood after several rounds of stripping and rinsing with acetone, lacquer thinner and mineral spirits. This is one reason I recommend people do not use Pledge(r) furniture polish. This is the usual source of silicone on furniture.

When I'm stripping, I can usually tell if there is silicone contamination by the way the stripper lays on the surface. Once I've stripped, rinsed, and stained, I lay down a couple of light coats of dewaxed shellac before putting on any other finish.

For small areas like touch ups, I've used silicone removal cloths, but these are impractical for large ares.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2011 at 4:30PM
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lsst

Thanks for all the replies!
I will try the denatured alcohol. Initially, I used it to test the finish.

On the other chairs,I was thinking I may use the dewaxed shellac before the toner if that may make the finish in the fish eye area smoother.

The fish eye finish is in the area where polishes would have been used.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 11:26PM
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lsst

I started to work on another chair.
This time I cleaned with Naptha.
When I sprayed the toner, it still had a couple of sections of fish eye. I let the areas dry and ran over the area with a rag soaked in laquer thinner. I then sprayed the toner again and blended everything.
This method seems to be working much better.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2011 at 5:16PM
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