Hi all,

This is my first significant post, so I guess I'll introduce myself a bit.

I am a full time builder in Montreal, Canada.  I build acoustics, classicals and flamencos, as well as setups and repairs.  You all seem like nice folks so I thought I'd jump in the crowd.

A customer brought an old 'Faded' Les Paul (with a mat finish) and he'd like to have it refinished to get a glossy one.  Nothing complex for me here, but it turns out he tried by himself first with some wax finish.  I tried to clean as much as possible using acetone but it seems there are always small spots where the seal coat of shellca won't stick. 

I was wondering if using a first coat of waxed shellac, followed by a dewaxed one would do the trick.  What do you guys think?


EDIT: I probably should have add that the body is stained, so just sanding back to wood is sort of the last option.  I know I should be able to restain to a fairly similar result, but I'd like to avoid that.

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Thanx for the welcome mate ! Where are you at now ! I m in near Granby area .

Luthery s a kind of passion , never made a bass ( I m a bassist ) but always been fascinated by this luthery matters .

Would Behlin de-waxer be useful here? I've been using it to get the horrible Turtle Wax out of the finish on a Guild that I own - I don't think I've ever seen an instrument so coated before. It smells like I just waxed my car...

Well, I don't think I have access to that product near me (without ordering it).  But the pletoria of other solutions that has been suggested here should do the trick I believe.

But thanks anyway!

A little update on this issue.


It seems I finally succeeded in my fight against stubborn wax spots!  So matter what I would use to dissolve the wax, there always seem to remain tiny bits within wood grain that repulsed any finish I would try to put on it.


The solution was found a bit by accident, while I was washing out shellac from the top with acetone. When wiping a rag wet with acetone on the shellac I wanted to remove, the partly dissolved shellac spread on the surface and seemed rto stick to teh previously waxed spots.  So I mixed 50/50 acetone and shellac (Zinnser seal coat), wiped the entire body, and voilà!  I had to come back on a few spots here and there by light sanding and reapplying the mix, but I finally got through it.  I can now start building the final finish!


Thanks for all your help!



Good for you Alain some times you just have to resort to someting different to get the answer.Good luck with the finsh.Bill.........

Hi all,

Well it seems my previous cheering for victory were a bit premature...

As soon as I gently level sanded the finish, the waxed spots came back to hunt me!  And I really was gentle, trust me. 

The 'mid-way there' solution I have found is to use wipe-on polyurethane.  For some reason that eludes me, the wipe-on poly seems to adhere better to the waxed spots.  There are spots left, but it'll have to do.

At least the owner knew it might be problematic, so I'm sort of off the hook.  Since he is the one who applied the wax in the first place, he feels kind of bad actually.

IIRC, if the wax included any silicone, it probably will be close to impossible to remedy or remove its negative effects.  Take a look around Frank's for info on that.


 I would use a multi progression of cleaners   first naptha, laquer thinner , or xylene  and then alcohol, on the old finish too make sure  that any residue or any type of crud was cleaned away.. I would use platina or super blonde dewaxed shellac under a laquer finish . You might have problems with the waxed shellac adhering  to the  new coat of laquer. Hard to say without seing .Or in lieu of the waxed shellac  you could use a type of sealer that would keep the old finish isolated from the new top coat .I would only use a waxed shellac under an oil based varnish.Bon Chance

 While it is true that silicones can contaminate  finishes.I remember  years ago reading about  remedies for dealing with  these pesky silicones.I would google silicone removal  in finishing and see what comes up.


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