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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Try using a hair dryer to heat the surface and immediately wipe with paper towels. After that, the solvent depends on the type of wax. If beeswax based, try turpentine, naptha, xylene or denatured alcohol. Acetone flashes too fast to have time to dissolve it.   If a hydrocarbon-based wax like paraffin then you'll need ether, benzene, or octane.

Hey thanks Robbie!

I will try the hair dryer trick.  I have napha, acetone (which took most of it out, dispite it flashing fast indeed) and mineral spirit (although you didn'y list this one, I'll give it a try on a hidden spot of the body).

Thanks again!

Nothing to add here but I wanted to say hello to my friend Alain - great to see you here!!!

Thanks Hesh.  Great to be here!

I always use turpentine then Naptha then Ammonia that usely takes care of the wax.Bill............

I sometimes use an auto painting product called Grease and Wax Remover its cheap and works well.

Thanks for the info guys.  Right now I've tried combining the blow dryer and whiping with naphta, and it seems to work OK, albeit it's a bit of a loong process.  The blow dryer is quite effecient at showing where there is still some wax left, as it turns the tiny spots shiny since the wax melts. 

I'll keep you updated!

Thanks again!

Glad it worked out for you Alain , I live like an hour from you mate !

Welcome from a newbee here .

Well I'm not yet willing to say that it worked for me completely.  It 'seems' to be working for now, as I haven't applied the finish everywhere on the top yet.  Only then I'll know if I'm good to go!

Where are you at, by the way?

I forgot about mom used it to strip wax from hardwood floors before rewaxing.

Welcome to both Sprocket and Alain!  I lived in Montreal ( St Anne de Bellvue actually) for 4 years Alain.  I'll tell ya ,300 year old stone houses certainly have a huge calming effect on a guy.

 Alain, I would also suggest getting a blacklight and turning off your lights and having a look at this axe.

Thanks for the welcome, and the black light advice.  I will try that, I happen to have just bought a black light for guitar building purposes!  I use it to see where I need to sand porefiller that remains on the surface (i use Crystallac -- for now, that may change -- and it creates blotchy milky stains under the finish if you leave some on the surface.  And it is quite hard to see it when it's thin, thus the black light).


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