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Expert's Corner — based

TIP: Basic Understanding of Solvents

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Following is a basic understanding of the common solvents available in paint stores and home centers. Mineral spirits (paint thinner) and naphtha dilute and clean up oils and varnishes, including oil-based polyurethane varnish. Neither of these solvents damage any fully dried finish, so you can safely use them for cleaning—that is, removing grease or wax. Denatured alcohol thins and cleans up shellac. This solvent will damage a dried shellac finish almost instantly and lacquer and water-based finish fairly quickly, so be very careful if you use alcohol for cleaning. Lacquer thinner and acetone thin and clean up all solvent-based lacquer...

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Rejuvenating Old Finishes: Three Tips in One

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Rejuvenating Old Finishes: Three Tips in One

Think of wood finishes as plastics. Depending on how broadly you define “plastic,” this is exactly what they are. And just like all plastics, finishes deteriorate over time—faster in bright light and heat. First the finish dulls; then it begins crazing and cracking. As the deterioration gets worse, the finish loses its primary function of slowing moisture (liquid and vapor) exchange. Excessive moisture exchange leads to veneer cracking, joints and veneer separating, splits in wood and warping. A deteriorated finish also looks bad. Old furniture with deteriorated finishes usually end up in city landfills. This is the reason the message...

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Exploring the New Generation of Water-Based Finishes

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“If a true water-based finish line is produced correctly, every ingredient used in the manufacturing will be dispersible in plain water.” Water-based finishes have been around for many years. Much like the latex house paints of years gone by, they have been undergoing constant changes and improvements. Several years ago, any self-respecting painting contractor would only use the old oil-based paints with linseed oil primers. But, in today's commercial house painting industry, almost no one is using these oil-based products. Painting contractors have switched to the highly improved water-based products. Indeed, water-based products have largely taken over that market. In...

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