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Removing paste wax (over tung oil)12/25
I applied 4 coats of tung oil (the stuff thinned with mineral spirits, not 100% pure) to a small cherry table top, allowing 24 hrs in between each coat. After a couple days I applied 3 coats of regular clear Briwax, buffing in between. The finish isnít very good, has swirl marks and other imperfections. I think my error was that I didnít wait long enough for the tung oil to cure.
Q1:Is that right?
Q2: I would like to remove the wax and apply a different finish, can I use mineral spirits or pint thinner to remove the wax, while not harming the tung oil? Or is there a sounder approach?
A million thanks for your help!
Confused if you really used tung oil, or some kind of finish called tung oil but is really a thinned varnish. A look at the MSDS will tell you. Naphtha or mineral spirits will remove the wax, but will also attack your other finish if it's not cured. Mineral spirits and paint thinner are the same product. One coat of wax is more than sufficient, 3 coats is just wasting money and time. Sounds like you anticipated that the wax would improve you oil finish. Wax only adds a little water resistance, it doesn't make a bad finish good. Since we have no idea where your shop is, and no knowledge about your real product, there can only be guessing if the finish was cured. This time of year, it almost certainly was not. Cool temps slow oil and varnish way down. I get the feeling you are buying your finish products at a big box store. Stop it! Go to a professional supply store like Sherwin Williams. Consumer grade products only make doing a professional quality job harder.
as far as I know you have to strip to get rid of the wax. Swirl marks in wax are easily removed with just a do over. apply the next coat either with an orbital sander and white scotch brite or by hand moving only with the grain. buff dry with a clean folded cloth before the wax totally sets up, again, with the direction of the grain. the longer you can wait with these kinds of finishes the better, especially in the winter
The wax should wash off easily with mineral spirits, which shouldn't damage the tung oil.
If you did indeed use a true tung oil (clearly labeled on the bottle "100% Tung Oil") then all you need to do at this point is reapply the oil after stripping the wax.
Personally, I prefer thinning Tung oil about 20-30% with mineral spirits and then wet-sanding with 600 grit in the direction of the grain. Buff off excess oil and let it cure for several days in as warm of a temperature as you can give it reasonably without damaging the wood.
When waxing it, use as little wax as possible and stay with the direction of the grain. The proper amount of wax to use will make you say "there's no way that's enough wax".