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Expert's Corner — damage

TIP: UV Varnishes Only Give So-So Protection

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TIP: UV Varnishes Only Give So-So Protection

Normally, I use the accompanying photo to show that mass-marketed varnishes sold in home centers and most paint stores for exterior finishing don’t contain any more UV resistance than common interior varnishes. But the panel also shows that even the much more expensive varnishes sold in marinas still aren’t perfect at resisting UV light. I stained the panel with red dye (because red dye fades faster than most other colors) and coated the panel with five coats of four different varnishes. From left to right, a popular boat varnish from a marina, two common varnishes sold in home centers for...

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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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TIP: Freeze Candle Wax Drips to Remove

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The easy way to remove candle wax that has dripped onto a finished surface is to freeze it by holding an ice cube on it for about 10 seconds. Once frozen, the wax is easy to pick off the finish without causing any damage. If a little wax residue remains and you can’t pick it off, dissolve it with mineral spirits (paint thinner) or a clear furniture polish and wipe away the residue with a cloth. Be aware that red candle wax can stain a light finish. There’s no easy way to remove this stain, but it will fade in...

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TIP: Soften Sharp Edges

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It’s very important that you soften all machined or hand-planed wood edges before applying any film-building finish. The finish will peel away from sharp edges (as is shown in the example) if they aren’t rounded over a little. It’s also a good idea to soften edges when using non-film-building oil finishes. Sharp edges dent easier than softened edges. You can easily remove the sharpness from edges with several light passes using medium-grit sandpaper.

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