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Expert's Corner — brown

Finishing Terms: “Corns”

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Finishing Terms: “Corns”

The accompanying picture shows what you don’t want to happen when you’re sanding a finish. The little brownish lumps, called “corns,” are finish that has been melted by the heat created during sanding, and they are large enough to leave much deeper scratches in the finish than those created by the sanding grit. These scratches will then have to be sanded out to keep them from telegraphing through the next coat. Some finishes cause corns much easier than others. These include oil-based varnish, lacquer and shellac. Oil-based polyurethane, water-based finishes and high-performance (catalyzed) finishes don’t cause corns as easily. Sanding...

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TIP: Brown Paper Bag Trick

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TIP: Brown Paper Bag Trick

There’s almost always a little dust that settles onto the last coat of finish before it dries, even when you spray fast-drying lacquer. With slow drying varnish, there’s always dust stuck to the finish. As long as the dust isn’t excessive and as long as the particles aren’t large, you can make the surface feel smooth by rubbing with a brown paper bag. Give the finish a couple of days to cure so you don’t scratch it. A smooth feel is critical when judging the quality of a finish. It’s natural for people to run their hand over a finish....

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