chunk of Manzanita covered in wax

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    HI All,
    I have a chunk of Manzanita 9X9X3 inches sealed in wax. I want to carve a bowl. What do I do now? Any suggestions as to how to get the wax off sure would be great!


    The wax is on there as a wood sealer so the chuck of wood does not “check” and become un-usable. Scrape as much wax off with a putty knife or some other dull tool. Then you can use a solvent such as acetone to wipe off the rest. Mineral spirits may work as well. If you do not have the solvents you could heat up the wax with a hair dryer and wipe the rest off.

    Located in Honeoye Falls NY USA. The Finger Lakes region of Western NY.

    "If you give me 6 hours to fell a tree, I will take the first 4 to sharpen my axe" Abe Lincoln


    Hi Brett
    Thanks for the advice. I have to make a run to a big box store for mineral oil so I will add acetone. The sun is finally out so this can be an outdoors in the grass job. I have a 5 in one tool so I think I will be good to go. Thanks again.


    Acetone is a very poor solvent for waxes.
    A better choice if you’re headed to the hardware store is Mineral Spirits or Xylol (Xylene).
    Even so the solubility is pretty low so you’ll have to soak it down pretty good and refresh the rags frequently. Hang the used rags outside to dry before discarding. There’s no danger of spontaneous combustion, but it’ll smell pretty strong.
    Don’t forget to get some Nitrile gloves ,especially for the Xylol.
    Do this outdoors and away from any source of ignition.
    Good luck with your bowl.

    SW Pennsylvania


    If you’re carving a bowl, most of the surfaces currently covered in wax will be carved off anyway. I’d scrape off what you need to to see what’s going on, then just plane your top surface clean as the wax won’t have penetrated much if at all.

    Mineral spirits (White spirit here) will likely soak in quite a lot, which could spoil a finish, though if you plan to finish with oil as is usual for wooden bowls it won’t be a problem.

    Save yourself some time and money by not cleaning wood that is going to end up as chips on the floor!


    Southampton, UK


    I have head that you can boil manzanita in polyehtylene glycol to prevent cell shrinkage, which causes cracking. So perhaps the wax is that?


    To complete what I have read… when you boil the wood in polyehylene glycol, it replaces the water in the wood’s cells, so there will be no shrinkage due to drying later.

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