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Oil vs. Film, Choose Your Finish

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Easy to spray, harder to brush: Whether sprayed from a gun or an aerosol can, lacquer lays down a smooth, dust-free finish that dries quickly. However, high humidity can turn spray lacquer opaque, called "blushing." Slower-drying "brushing" lacquers provide another, though trickier, way to apply lacquer. Both types require a well-ventilated finishing area and lacquer thinner for cleanup.

Repairability/durability: Even old coats of lacquer can be dissolved with lacquer thinner for easy stripping. Or simply spray on a fresh coat to partially dissolve the uppermost layer and cover minor scuffs and scratches without refinishing. Lacquer dries to a hard surface that resists abrasion, moisture, and solvents less than varnish.

Success secrets: Customize lacquer to work in a variety of spray setups and climates by adding lacquer thinner to control viscosity and retarders to slow the drying speed. Don't have a spray gun? Aerosols work just as well, although they're thinned so much that more applications are needed. Apply spray-on lacquer in low humidity to avoid blushing. Lacquer's hardness makes it easier than polyurethane varnish to sand and then rub out the finish to a high shine. Avoid contaminating the wood surface with silicone -- found in some lubricants and furniture polishes -- which can produce small dimples in the surface, called fish eye.

Try it on all furnishings not subject to moisture contact or rough handling. Use CAB acrylic lacquer as a crystal-clear alternative to water-based finishes for a non-yellowing film.

But avoid it for high-abuse projects such as kids' toys and furnishings.

Continued on page 5:  Water-based finish



Comments (8)
3-j wrote:

Wetting and sanding off the "nibs" is not logical. The water-based product will simply create "nibs" again. Just save yourself needless effort and skip the non-nonsensical wetting/sanding step and apply the finish. When you sand after that process, you will see no "nibs."

11/7/2013 09:39:45 AM Report Abuse
d.d.kelly.bodhi wrote:

So. When can we get our grubbies on your tome on shellac?

8/1/2013 04:00:32 PM Report Abuse
dhellew21 wrote:

You also missed Tung oil (non-toxic) and Teak Oil. Mix these two together for Tung penetration, Teak durability, and you have a durable, easily repairable finish. Great for kitchen and bath cabinets including counter top trim behind and in front with porcelain tile tops. Holds up to the abuse of rental houses where a light coat make it like new. The blend is durable enough for outdoor use, best light re-coated annually like most finishes. Thanks to the Feds it is only imported, made in Canada.

11/11/2011 09:59:22 AM Report Abuse wrote:

For best adhesion you should lightly sand polyurethane between coats. Sanding also removes the dust nibs that may be on the previous coat.

4/15/2010 12:57:21 PM Report Abuse
geezerpa wrote:

What about PENOFIN oil, I find it exceptional. I believe its a california company. Does not raise the grain, so no sanding.

4/15/2010 12:38:02 PM Report Abuse
joecal wrote:

Anybody have any advice/thoughts on a product I receintly heard about - Australian Tree Oil?

4/15/2010 10:25:58 AM Report Abuse
jsmythe3325231 wrote:

Hi Great article and well written. Could you do an addendum for Shellac. Thanks

3/12/2010 01:12:19 PM Report Abuse
Mr. Frodo wrote:

I liked this article but I don't see how shellac could be left out of an article on finishing comparisons

3/11/2010 11:35:00 AM Report Abuse

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