I have a piece of pine furniture that has been waxed (not stained) that I have been wanting to paint for years. Finally started the project. I tried sanding, but the sand paper got coated with the wax, so not very successful on that end. I was told I should scrub the wax off using mineral spirits, then go over it with the BIN's with shellac incorporated in it. WOW, is it THIN! So, my questions are:

  1. Do I need to remove the wax first then prime with BIN, then paint (latex paint)?
  2. Can I skip the mineral spirits, do the BIN's and paint - will paint adhere if wax is still left on?
  3. What is the best way to apply this runny BIN stuff? I'm doing this in my condo carpeted living room-LOTS of plastic on floor.
  4. Is there a better easier way?
  • I seriously doubt that paint or primer would stick very well to the surface with the wax on there. So I say that the wax needs to be removed first. Sometimes the proper paint prep takes work and determination as opposed to any "easy" way.
    – Michael Karas
    Jun 5, 2016 at 21:01

3 Answers 3


I believe that this will end up in the wood working SE, but it should be noted that furniture wax is really wax like from a candle; it could be beeswax or petrol (it's not like floor wax which is definitely not wax). Wax is "non-polar". Wax can be cleaned with naptha or paint thinner, which are also non-polar molecules (like dissolves like), but that might make cause the wax to penetrate more deeply into the wood. The same might be true with heating (as Ed Beal suggested) but I wouldn't dare use a heater (or even a hair dryer) near acetone (boom).

The Zinzer BIN shellac is true shellac (meaning it comes from the insect) and it is alcohol (semi-polar) soluble. Wax will not readily dissolve (well) in alcohol and shellac will not dissolve in anything but alcohol (not water nor naptha). So you need to use a non polar solvent, something like naptha to remove wax, and then you will need to remove the naptha or paint thinner from the wood. Acetone mixes with both nonpolar and polar subtances. Acetone can dissolve a naptha-wax mix, and it will dry more quickly than naptha, and acetone and ethanol (shellac base) are miscible.

And acetone can help (a little) with allowing ethanol and naptha to mix (but not very much). After stripping the furniture with a non polar solvent, you should use acetone to rinse out the non polar solvent, then let it dry (kiln dried would be best). Another non-polar solvent that might help would be diethyl ether, but that's even more flammable than acetone.

Prepping the wood for asorbing ethanol: I would consider (as a last step) applying/cleaning the wood with a 50/50 water alcohol mix (with a rag) a few times, and then letting the wood dry. After a few treatments it might help prepare the grain for absorbing the alcohol/shellac. Water will probably discolor the surface of the pine, so you should be prepared to sand (lightly) before applying the shellac.


The wax has to be removed. It's too slippery for anything to stick to it. Paint thinner will liquefy the wax and you can soak it up with newspapers or paper towels. The shellac primer will then form a barrier to seal the latex paint from getting down into the wood/wax/finish. I like to use it in spray can and put on several light coats.


This may sound diferent, but you want to save a waxed piece so DONT SAND caps intended! Get a heat gun for stripping paint it will melt the wax and reduce it to the point spirits or acetone will take it off, some times MEK Methyl Eythel Keytone is needed (use out doors with gloves) let the wood dry once the wax is gone. Now you might want do do a very light sanding 320 to 400 grit as the wax may have filled voids (grain) now open at this point anything should stick and last years , on natural finishes I like oils, on painted smothe surfaces I like enamels. With a good removal of the wax then a very light sand you can make a old piece look better than new because older wood just has tighter grain than what we can buy today.

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