Not necessarily a repair or a building question, but it's semi-related. 

A friend was kind-enough to gift me a beautiful slab of old black walnut. It's a full 1-3/4" thick and would make a great (although rather heavy) blank to construct a Strat or Tele body. 

Before giving it to me, he'd stored it away carefully to air-dry, taking care to put hard paraffin on the ends to keep the drying controlled.  The moisture content is down to 9% now, so it should be good to work.

But here's the rub: over last winter, he wanted to "accelerate" the drying a bit so he put the blank fairly near a woodstove, which melted the paraffin ...aaaand what we see here is what I've now got.  It goes all the way through, front to back.

Any tricks for drawing-out the paraffin... or am I stuck with trying to work-around it?  Maybe a oil finish will blend-in with the paraffin and "make it disappear" somehow?   Sigh.

As usual, all tips and hints gleefully accepted!  Thanks...

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Hi Mike, I do not have a solution for removing the stained areas of that fine piece of timber, but can offer some suggestions that may help to work around the issues you mentioned.

In my case, I was using a North Queensland hardwood called Burdican Plum. It too was too heavy for a solid-body guitar so I sliced it up and got enough for three guitar caps, using a lighter timber for the main body, Alder and New Guinee Rosewood in this case. This way I got to use the timber I wanted without the weight. I also chambered the bodies to further reduce weight.

In the photos of two of the guitars, shown, there are actually four strips of timber making up the caps, this was done so as to work around damaged areas of the original slab. With a grain figure like this, it was not too hard to hide the joints.


The third guitar was the same as the first photo. Cheers Taff

Beautiful work there, thanks for sharing it.  The weight likely won't be an issue... the customer knows it'll be heavy and is willing to make that trade-off for having a solidbody Tele.

So I'm back to the original issue at hand, but I do appreciate seeing your work :)

Hi, thanks, sorry I could not help.


Hi Mike,

I recently did a restomod to a Maton solid (Poplar I recall) which had been subject to the "back of the car"  heat treatment which melted the paraffin wax in the pickups which subsequently soaked into the exposed wood pickup cavities and into the main body.

I recalled an old friend telling me how she got candle wax out of clothing with a hot iron and brown paper.

...sooooo....absorbent paper towel and an iron (after heating the area with a mild heatgun to warm the area managed to soak up enough of the mess to make it manageable.   I was spraying nitro on this one and it ultimately didn't have any problems sticking after a couple of skinny dust coats.  I wouldn't have credited this treatment but surprisingly it worked on this open grain timber.

I work with American black Walnut and Queensland Walnut and steer away from Strat/Tele  bodies due to the weight and density of the Walnut - think tonal response south of dense Northern Ash (70's CBS sort of thing).   We've done Chambered capped bodies in AW and they are just the prettiest things although its sobering to see just how much chambering needs to be done to get the weight down to the 4 and 1/2  lb range we use for these styles.

Regards to you and all the Frets crew,


Thanks for the info, Russell.  I'll definitely be trying your absorbent towel/iron idea.  Agreed, if someone had success getting candle wax out of clothing, there must be some headway that can be made.  In any event, it can't hurt to give it a shot. 

I'm with you on the weight issue.  This customer gifted me the particular piece of walnut in question as a partial "thank you" for making a Tele for him out of the same wood (some pictures attached of that one) last year. 

Both pieces of wood were from the same downed walnut tree on his property, so there was a sentimental connection for him, as well.  He agrees it's quite heavy but, after playing for almost a year now, he's accustomed to the weight and loves the guitar, so there you go.

Haven't quite decided yet what I'll ultimately do with this piece I have now, but step #1 is getting it as much wax out if it as possible, and you've certainly put me on the right track...  so thank you for that! 

As I said, its a tribute to nature with its looks and feel (and ease of machining).

We often split the billet and chamber internally before buttoning it back up, cutting the cable routes while its open as well.   Well worth the bother I reckon and it improves the tonal response range as well.   Not too much of a stretch if you have a resaw bandsaw  nearby  and its also a bit of fun/challenge to get the initial stuff aligned  and flat (we mill the adjacent faces flat and then give them a light pass through the thicknesser.)  We also do bathtub routes and conceal the join in the back corner radius - 

However, its wood and it'll tell us what to do in the long run - heavy isn't all bad and if its a sit down gig its a lot easier.

Have a good one Mike,



Nice assembly line there, Rusty.  You give me inspiration! 

Thank you, Paul... gee, I guess Google really IS my friend after all?!  Much appreciated, sir.

Hi Mike. 
Sorry for the seemingly impersonal screenshot post. 
I’m having trouble posting text based replies (code ID1OT) and improvised the photo reply. 
Best of luck with your future plans for that beautiful timber. 
take care and best regards. 

Paul, there's absolutely no apologies needed...  what you sent was gold to me!   I'll be  experimenting with different ratios of acetone & kerosene (in small "test amounts" at first) to get an idea of the mixture blend that seems to pull the wax best, and I'll be sure to report back.  Thanks again... this is how we all learn! 


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