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Removing wax from wood?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by StarbardGuitar, Jan 9, 2014.


  1. StarbardGuitar

    StarbardGuitar

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2013
    Hey everyone,

    So I have a quick question I'm hoping someone can answer. I plan on building a bass soon, and I bought some black limba to use for the body blank. However, it is 3 pieces which are not glued together and they are wax coated. What is the best way tp remove the wax, and should I wait till i glue it up to remove it from the faces? (It is sealed on the faces, ends and a little on the sides.)
     
  2. pfox14

    pfox14

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2013
    Very unusual to have wood that is wax coated on all sides. Usually just the end grain. Best to plane the wood down to rough dimensions so you are scraping off all the wax. The wax will prevent you from getting a good bond with the glue if it's not all removed.
     
  3. sowilson

    sowilson

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2013
    Card scraper or plane it off. Then clean up with mineral spirits and wipe down with alcohol. If the wood is a bit oily then you might need to hit it with a wipe of acetone before glueup.
     
  4. Beej

    Beej

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2007
    Location:
    Victoria, BC
    Actually, it's common with exotics travelling around the world...
     
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  6. line6man

    line6man

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2008
    Location:
    Close to Los Angeles, CA
    It's very common with bowl turning blanks. I have heard that you should be cautious of sealed wood, as it is not always dry. Perhaps the experienced luthiers here can shed some light on that.
     
  7. JustForSport

    JustForSport

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2011
    ^^ That's a good point...
     
  8. Larry Davis

    Larry Davis

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2002
    Location:
    Oregon/north Georgia
    Kiln dried wood is never waxed. Be very careful with that wood as to moisture content. Very unusual and suspect. DO NOT use solvents to clean this up as dissolved wax will wick deeper into the wood. Joint or plane it off only. Check with moisture meter before using.
     
  9. Luthier Atlanta

    Luthier Atlanta

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2013
    Location:
    Atlanta, U.S.A.
    Follow this route but I would let it stand for some time to let any trapped moisture escape.

    Yep, remove the wax by scraping it, clean any that is left off with a solvent and then let it sit...
     
  10. lbridenstine

    lbridenstine

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2012
    Location:
    MI
    The wood that I got from gilmerwood.com is coated with shellac or something (which I thought was wax, because it smelled waxy out of the box). The pieces say they're kiln dried and it says that they put a clear finish on all pieces of wood to show the grain better in their pictures. Maybe the OP's wood is the same case.
     
  11. StarbardGuitar

    StarbardGuitar

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2013
    Thanks for the help guys! So here's a little more detail on the wood. The ends are sealed with wax, and so are the faces. There is only dripping of wax on the sides to be glued, which of course needs to be removed. I was just curious how to remove that, and also if I should take the wax off the faces as well before gluing, or if I should wait until it's glued up as a blank then take care of it.

    So, I bought the wood on ebay, and the seller didn't mention the moisture content. I hadn't even thought of it... it was listed specifically for guitar/bass blank usage. I'll ask the seller how it was dried and what not. I would guess that the only reason it is sealed even on the faces is because of shipping since it is during winter season, to prevent warping and all that.

    I guess I'll have to find someone with a planer soon so I can start my build! Thanks again for the info!
     
  12. StarbardGuitar

    StarbardGuitar

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2013
    So, I contacted the seller and he said he bought it a couple months ago from a well known wood supplier (didn't say who though) and that it was kiln dried and its moisture content was around 10% when he got it. So it is definitely ready to be glued up once I plane it and all that.
     
  13. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2001
    Location:
    US-NY-NYC

    Repeated for emphasis.

    I personally would not use it until it had been cleaned up, then sat in the shelf for a few months without moving.
     
  14. Luthier Atlanta

    Luthier Atlanta

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2013
    Location:
    Atlanta, U.S.A.
    Agreed, you don't want to jump into it unless you have a moisture meter. I also would plane it all close to spec and let it sit to acclimate to your environment.
     
  15. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2001
    Location:
    US-NY-NYC

    Or even plane it oversized, so it can still be brought back to flat at the spec size if it cups or twists.
     
  16. Luthier Atlanta

    Luthier Atlanta

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2013
    Location:
    Atlanta, U.S.A.
    That is what I meant, I forget we all don't think on my wave link... :-/
     

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