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Expert's Corner — wax

Photographing Your Work

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Other than arranging the object or objects you’re photographing in an attractive manner, the most important requirement for achieving good photographs is getting the camera adjusted to the ambient light. This used to be a really big problem back in the film days, but it is much easier with digital cameras. In fact, it is no problem at all when you use a “gray card.” This is typically an 8-by-10-inch cardboard designed to reflect 18% of the light hitting it. It is gray in color (accounting for its name), and it’s available from most photography suppliers. With any consumer or...

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Wax Polish for Added Shine

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Wax Polish for Added Shine

If you are applying paste wax as a polish on top of a finish, you will always get a little better result with two coats. Let the first coat dry for at least a couple of hours, or overnight, before applying the second. You would think that one coat should be sufficient, and it is if all you want is scratch resistance and a little added shine. But my experience is that two coats, well buffed off with a dry cloth, always looks a little better and more even. If you want to dull the surface simultaneously with the wax...

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TIP: Wax Turns White

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TIP: Wax Turns White

Wax is an excellent furniture care product when applied over another finish. The wax creates a slick surface that resists scratches. But used as a finish, wax is problematic because it water marks easily. If any water gets on the surface, the wax will turn white and be difficult to fix. Unfortunately, removing the white mark isn’t as easy as applying another coat of wax or washing off the wax with a solvent. You have to scrub the surface with a solvent and steel wool or an abrasive pad.

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TIP: Alchohol and Lacquer Thinner for Stripping

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TIP: Alchohol and Lacquer Thinner for Stripping

Alcohol dissolves shellac, and lacquer thinner dissolves lacquer. So you can use these solvents instead of paint-and-varnish remover for stripping. The advantage is that you don’t have to then remove the wax residue or dry off the lingering n-methyl-pyrrolidone solvent. The disadvantage is that it’s more difficult to strip complex three-dimensional surfaces. But alcohol and lacquer thinner are easy to use on flat surfaces such as tabletops. Simply wet some rags or paper towels with the solvent and lay them on the surface. Keep them wet by pouring on more solvent until the finish has liquefied and you can wipe...

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TIP: Freeze Candle Wax Drips to Remove

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The easy way to remove candle wax that has dripped onto a finished surface is to freeze it by holding an ice cube on it for about 10 seconds. Once frozen, the wax is easy to pick off the finish without causing any damage. If a little wax residue remains and you can’t pick it off, dissolve it with mineral spirits (paint thinner) or a clear furniture polish and wipe away the residue with a cloth. Be aware that red candle wax can stain a light finish. There’s no easy way to remove this stain, but it will fade in...

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