Paste Wax Help

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Tweaker, Sep 12, 2017.

  1. Tweaker

    Tweaker Senior Member

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    (I know...dumb thread, paste wax is almost idiot proof..)

    I apologize for posting so many threads lately. I've come to the conclusion that high gloss finishes are not for me. I don't have spray equipment and the common thread I've seen watching all you guys get high gloss finishes is spray equipment. I've seen people get high gloss finishes without spray equipment but I'm no good with it.

    I'm OK with that. I've been experimenting with different finish options and I've found a couple I like...particularly a couple coats of Danish oil followed by a few coats of paste wax.

    Today I was experimenting further, but when I was buffing the wax, I kept getting whitish skids on the surface of the wood. Upon inspection, it appears to be wax that is just getting pushed around by the buffing wheel.

    About the buffing wheel...it's the Harbor Freight 6" buffer. Something like 3000rpms. Much too fast for most wood finishes I think, but I've read that heat is actually ideal for buffing wax, because you want it to melt or something.

    Anyways, yesterday, I didn't have this happening. Today was much more humid. Does this sound like I just didn't let the wax dry long enough? Or perhaps just bad buffing technique? The finish definitely feels silky and smooth like you'd expect from wax, but I'd like to figure out what's going on with the streaks.
     
  2. ARandall

    ARandall Senior Member

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    I have only a drill with a foam pad on it. Plus a basic cutting compound then 2 Meguiers polish grades. But I have plenty of sandpaper.

    What I found was that I had a lot of deep scratches still present until I did most of my aggressive sanding before the last coat.....then I bought some of the flexible polishing papers.
    http://www.stewmac.com/Materials_an...hing_Papers/3M_Flexible_Polishing_Papers.html
    The last 3 or 4 guitars I've done since using these and going through the grits have been lightyears better.
     
  3. jkes01

    jkes01 Senior Member

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    Are you "priming' the pad with wax or is it dry?
     
  4. The Ballzz

    The Ballzz Senior Member

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    ARandall,
    How does that product you linked from StewMac compare to actual "Micro-Mesh?" Certainly more reasonably priced!

    Also to Tweaker,
    If you do the math, you'll see that the working surface speed of a 6 inch wheel at 3,000 RPM (942 inches per second) is not too different from that of a 14 inch at 1,200 RPM (879 inches per second). Though your HF unit is likely, actually 3,450 RPM (for a surface speed of 1,083 inches per second). In addition, the shorter circumference of the 6 inch likely causes faster heat build up, due to less time for the surface to "cool" in between each pass/revolution. StewMac seems to like the 14 inch wheel at 715 RPM for a surface speed of 523 IPS.

    Just Curious,
    Gene
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2017
  5. Tweaker

    Tweaker Senior Member

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    ARandall...I do have micro mesh pads as well as sheets similar to what you linked to. I just suck at applying a decent enough finish to even start sanding! And lately, nothing is curing very fast here because it's been so dang humid.

    Jkes01...I am not loading up the buffing wheel, it's dry. I wasn't aware I was supposed to load up the pad with a little wax...I suppose that may be the problem?
     
  6. Leña_Costoso

    Leña_Costoso Senior Member

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    1. Test rattlecan lacquer on scrap before using. Let it cure two weeks. Give fingernail test. Use another brand if needed.
    2. Let each coat cure two hours or more before recoating.
    3. Let final coat cure 2 weeks before sanding anything.
    4. Level orange peel with 400g wet
    5. Light sand with 800g wet
    6. Rub out with medium compound
    7. Final buff with extra fine.
    8. Admire.

    Rattlecan needs more cure than conventional. And will gum very easily if recoated too early
     
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  7. Tweaker

    Tweaker Senior Member

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    My problem with almost all of these finishes is, I never know when it's safe to recoat and when it's fully cured and OK to sand/buff. I'm getting good results with oil or wipe on poly (2-3 coats) followed by paste wax. Except for when I get weirdness when I buff the wax.

    I certainly can appreciate the high gloss finish, but there is so much finesse required that I don't have the patience for!
     
  8. Leña_Costoso

    Leña_Costoso Senior Member

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    Until you have experience with the Finish the best thing to do is 2 experiment on scrap. Then you'll know that you'll need a cure time of XY or Z. In general if you recoat too soon and the coats that you put on are too thick the gassing off of undercoats will not occur in a rapid time fashion. Most lockers will cure heart as long as you don't put them on too thick and give adequate dry down time between coats. If you seal in heavy coats then you'll get a skin on the top and mush underneath it. Remember the top coats gas off in two directions both to the atmosphere and to the codes below them softening those coats. There is a tendency to want rapid build. That is only available with special formulations and HVLP equipment. For a rattle can you have to go slow.
    I'm not an expert but I have either finished or refinished about 10 guitar all using rattle cans. The early tendency was to want to get the job done get the guitar back together and be able to play it again. You really have to take your time
     
  9. Bill Hicklin

    Bill Hicklin Senior Member

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    Sounds to me like you're just putting on too much wax. Remember, a finished, buffed-out wax coat is about one molecule thick- anything more than that has to be rubbed off again.

    Apply just enough wax to wet the surface, no more.
     
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  10. smk506

    smk506 Senior Member

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    Not to derail your thread, but I've been using tru oil on necks and like it a lot while I have had issues with rattlecan nitro as well. The spray cans are a doable option for me, but the wipe on or spray on tru oil has been easier to work with.

    I'll post some pics later, but on my tele neck it is glossy and amber, I steel wooled the strat and it looks more like raw maple, very satiny though.

    If you can live with or incorporate the amber hue it might be worth looking at.
     
  11. moreles

    moreles Senior Member

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    Wax is not a finish; any appreciable buildup of wax on a guitar is a bad thing. It feels bad and sounds bad and promotes buildup. Some people do use wax -- as little as possible -- and generally via products that are very liquid with little change for buildup. I can't imagine using paste wax on a guitar. I respect and understand that some builders use oil finishes and like them. I don't, much preferring lacquer or french polish, or in some cases, some kinds of poly. Those materials, especially the first two, dry in a way that enhances tone, while oil works against tone. Often, these distinctions are fairly moot, especially on an electric, but I nevertheless seek to do things in an optimum way. As many have noted, finishing takes time and patience -- waiting -- and it took me a long time to learn that discipline. Up 'til then, my finish work was acceptable. When I finally "got it," my finishing became terrific. I use cans, which work fine; sometimes, I wipe on shellac. I would consider Tru-oil or Danish Ol for a maple neck, but nothing else.
     
  12. Tweaker

    Tweaker Senior Member

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    Thanks for the tip Bill...I'll try a really thin layer of wax tomorrow.

    Regarding wax on guitars being a bad thing...I respectfully disagree. I like the way an oil/wax finish feels on wood. I'm not talking about doing a lacquer type of thing with the wax where you do a million coats. We're talking about 2-3 wax applications, simply to adjust the sheen. According to Bill, that works out to 2-3 molecules thick...certainly not enough to negatively impact the sound.
     
  13. moreles

    moreles Senior Member

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    I'll buy that -- that the only place where you handle a guitar when playing is the neck, and there are indeed some brilliant oil-finished necks, notably Ernie Ball/Music Man -- they don't get any better. On bodies, feel is irrelevant and oil becomes only an ease/appearance thing, so I wouldn't choose it myself. You're right about the proper application of wax -- it doesn't have to become a problem -- but I try to work my finishes such that they do not require wax to freshen the appearance, though a thin polish that includes wax does perform as you say and has no tonal downside. But paste wax? I've cleaned up lots of guitars with blackened oil and wax buildup. Ick.
     

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