Replace wax in styrene, surfacing agent

Hi everyone, 

I have a question concerning the wax in styrene for hotcoat and gloss with polyester. Do you guys have any solution to replace it? I am shaping in Hong Kong and I cannot get any surfacing agent here, even after a long time search, so is there any substitute/ way of having a non tacky surface with something easier to find than surfacing agent? 


I have seen a post from 9 years ago talking about PVA, but I have no idea what it is neither where to find it. Or mixing candle wax / surf wax / parrafin in the resin. Do you guys have any experience with doing so? Do I still need styrene to mix the wax with or I can do it directly in the resin?


Thanks for your help, highly appreciated. 


try this

using a small amount of resin (a few ounces maybe)

grade some parafin wax in the resin

mix it up and see how long it takes to disolve 

add some catylist and do a hot coat on something

see if the wax rises,,,

any questions?

Alright, thanks for the advice. I will look for some parafin wax and try that. I will let you know about the result. 


Can you not simply buy the proper resin? Most resin sold in boatyards, marine supply stores, and auto parts stores is sanding resin. Where do you buy your resin?

Uhmmm- I suspect you’l have some difficulty dissolving paraffin wax in straight resin. It’s soluble in things like diesel fuel or gasoline (paraffin is a long-chain alkene mix, and gasoline and diesel are shorter alkenes.) Alkenes are of the form CH3-CH2-CH2…-CH2-CH3, styrene is a benzene molecule with an alkene (ethane; CH3-CH3) attached so paraffin will dissolve in it just fine.

And I’d have some qualms about mixing wax with gasoline and then adding it to resin.

PVA is Polyvinyl alcohol. It’s usually used as a mold release agent: you spray it into your boat mold or bathtub mold and then spray in gelcoat and then whatever else you’re gonna use.It doesn’t react with the resin at all, so you could probably spray it onto resin once it’s in place and act as a barrier between it and air and said resin would likely harden nicely.

Hope that’s of use …


Thanks Doc, that is really interesting!

I buy the resin in a chemical shop that I have found after 6 months of wandering in the city! If I had any idea about where to find sanding resin believe me I wouldn’t bother with shitty ways of replacing the real stuff!

One of the resin they sell is called polyester odr, there is a bottle of catalyser inside and another small one. I have asked the chinese guy from the shop and he said it is to make a beautiful finish. I first thought it was surfacing agent, but my hotcoat if still sticky after a week, so it might be only styrene, but if it is the case I could still mix wax in it. I will have a try, and cross my fingers!


Ahmmm- it may be a bit late to do the styrene/wax thing, unless you want to add another layer of hotcoat (with wax/styrene) over what’s there now - that will work, of course, in the same way that hotcoat over laminating resin will make the lamination sandable.

However, I might try a little furniture wax over your hotcoat, see if that will make it harden. The idea is to give the resin a barrier or film surface. If it hardens, you will get rid of the wax as you sand your hotcoat. And then you can save the styrene/wax mix for your gloss coat which will need it as well.

hope that’s of use


Oh, I thought it was to late for this layer to harden now so I was about to add another layer of hot coat. The thing is that I cannot buy the styrene by itself, and there is not a lot in each resine-cata-styrene package, just enough for the amount of resin. So I might look for PVA then. 

Uhm- styrene monomer alone might be tough to find at the resin supplier, but let me see-

Try contacting these guys : . While they are a distributor, they should be able to point you at the right retailers.

hope that’s of use


I have actually sent them an email couple days ago, no reply yet but I will give them a call yep. 


Thanks for your help Doc