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steel-wool, wax, & black goo

Welcome! Forums General Woodworking Discussions Finishing steel-wool, wax, & black goo

Viewing 13 posts - 1 through 13 (of 13 total)
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  • #15251
    Jason
    Participant

    I really like using steel-wool and wax to buff out a shellac finish. It really makes my mediocre finish job passable. My problem is that the steel-wool breaks down and turns the wax into black goo that works its way into corners and deep grain. Buffing with a cloth, and working at it with toothpick helps but doesn’t get it all.

    Does anyone share my issue? If so, what did you do to fix it?

    Thanks!

    #15253
    Ken
    Participant

    Jason, I now use 3M 10120NA Extra Fine Synthetic Steel Wool Pads.

    In the past I have run a strong magnet over the surface to pick up the remaining pieces of steel wool. I find the synthetic stuff work fine.

    #15397
    Jason
    Participant

    Thanks Ken. I’ll give that a shot.

    #15618
    david o’sullivan
    Participant

    hi jason i had same problem with finishing clock .2 things might help a good quality steel wool(liberion) and when apply wax sparingly

    "we can learn what to do, by doing" Aristotle

    #15627
    Jason
    Participant

    David,

    The steel-wool I have is whatever home depot carries. I’ll check online for liberion. I’ll also try using less wax next time. Thanks!

    #15630
    Jason
    Participant

    I just had another thought… my garage shop where I store my wax is really hot right now. It might be less likely to turn to goo if the wax wasn’t so soft. I’ll store it in the house and see if it does any better. Thanks!

    #15634
    Ken
    Participant

    Hey Jason,
    Yep I found that this weather, I stuck mine in the fridge for twenty minutes before I used it. 😉

    #366526
    Hugh Roche Kelly
    Participant

    Hi- a new post on this 4 years later.

    I just tried out the steel wool finshing with wax- I’ve got the Liberion 0000 steel wool, it comes in quite economical 1kg packages- you can find it on Amazon easily enough.

    BUT. I am having the same problem as outlined above with the black marks/goo. It was bad enough that I switched to cotton rags to continue the wax finishing. (I do admit I could have prepared my surface a little better).

    but as soon as I put the steel wool into my furniture wax I get that black goo coming out of the wool, which then caught immediately on every pore in the oak I was working. Wax is not at all too warm (non-insulated workshop in belgium!), and I am wondering if in fact the wax being basically solid is causing the problem- am I maybe working the steel wool too much to get wax onto it, and thus destroying its structure in the process?
    Anyone else had this problem with hard wax? Liberion promise that their steel wool is virtually oil free…

    Thanks!

    #366600
    David Perrott
    Participant

    I just apply the wax with a cloth. I put some wax inside of a cloth and rub it on. Then either buff it to get more shine or use steel wool to reduce the shine.

    #393704
    Stijn Bossuyt
    Participant

    I do exactly as David, with perfect results! I apply beeswax with cloth instead of with steel wool. Use cloth for gloss, steel wool for satin sheen.
    @hughrochekelly: I’m from Belgium too and I got my wax from Willy Vanhoutte:
    http://www.willyvanhoutte.be/nl/catalog/show_cat/2003

    Good stuff! I don’t think the quality of steel wool matters at all.

    #450781
    tammar48
    Participant

    I have come to this forum from wood-turning and in this field I have tended to use a natural fibre brushes which is used normally to brush horses. I have found that it will remove the excess wax and give my wood nicer final look. This is in addition to removing all the metal parts of the 0000 wool from the grain of the wood. This has worked best with Oak and Ash projects as they are more grainier than the closed grain woods.
    Best of luck with this in furniture as the projects are a lot larger so you will need a lot of elbow grease.

    #487120
    Greg Marshall
    Participant

    Have you tried stainless steel wool? I’ve been using that, and I never get the goo. I have limited data points – maybe 6-8 projects, but it hasn’t been an issue with the stainless steel.

    #548666
    joeleonetti
    Participant

    I see the black goo as well using my Home Depot 0000 steel wool. I just rotate the wool and wax part that is comming into the contact with the wood frequently and that seems to work. I am using a softer wax than what you seem to be describing. Though I see the black goo, it hasn’t been enough of a problem for me to really worry about it (not enough in the corners to worry me; the rag in the next step helps). After the wax hazes on the wood I just wipe all with a cotton rag and it looks fine.

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