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Expert's Corner — finishers

Best Exterior Finishes are from Marinas

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Best Exterior Finishes are from Marinas

Ultra-violet light, especially sunlight, causes finishes to deteriorate. Many finishes sold at marinas and home centers claim UV resistance, but those sold at marinas are much more expensive. If both work the same, why would you pay more at the marinas? So I did a test to compare the UV resistance of the varnishes from regular paint stores and home centers with those from a marina. For the test, I stained a panel with a red dye because red dye fades relatively rapidly in sunlight. Then I applied five coats of four different varnishes to four sections on the panel...

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Fill Nail Holes After Sealer Coat

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Fill Nail Holes After Sealer Coat

It’s more efficient to use widely available Color Putty or similar product to fill small nail or brad holes in furniture after the sealer coat has been applied than it is to use wood putty before applying the stain and finish. There are three reasons. First, using Color Putty after the sealer coat but before the topcoat is much faster. With a little putty on your finger, you can move from one hole to the next very quickly, wiping off the excess as you go. Second, you don’t have to wait for the putty to dry before sanding smooth as...

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Resistance of Dyes to Fading

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Resistance of Dyes to Fading

All dyes fade much faster than pigment when exposed to bright light—sunlight and fluorescent light being the worst culprits. But some types of dyes fade faster than others. The worst for fading are the natural vegetable dyes, such as walnut husks and berries. These were sometimes used centuries ago, but they were replaced in the late nineteenth century by “aniline” dyes. These are usually acid or basic dyes derived from various chemicals. They quickly replaced natural dyes in the textile industry and then entered the woodworking industry. They are available to woodworkers today in powder form to be dissolved in...

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Polyurethane Won’t Dry

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If you experience oil-based polyurethane not drying well, it’s not likely that it’s bad polyurethane. It’s more likely that the wood you’re finishing contains a natural oil or you have applied an oil to the wood and the oil hasn’t dried. In both cases we’re talking only about the first coat of polyurethane. After the first coat has dried, there shouldn’t be any further drying problems. Most exotic woods (woods from jungle areas), with the exception of mahogany, contain a natural resin that is very oily. You can feel the oiliness. The mineral-spirits solvent in the polyurethane is also the...

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Brushing Water-Based Finish Over Water Soluble Dye

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Brushing Water-Based Finish Over Water Soluble Dye

If you are brushing a water-based finish over a water-soluble dye, you should be aware that the finish can dissolve the dye and the brush will pick it up and cause streaks. To keep this from happening, seal the wood first with another finish that doesn’t contain water—for example, shellac, varnish or lacquer. Another solution is to spray the first coat of water-based finish. If you don’t have a spray gun, you can usually find aerosol water-based finishes in home centers and paint stores. As long as the object isn’t large, the aerosol should work well.

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