Cart 0

Expert's Corner — finishing

TIP: Shellac for Holdout

bob coats finish finishing flexner lacquer shellac the finishing store varnish water-based woodfinishing woodworking

TIP: Shellac for Holdout

Shellac is often recommended as a sealer, with one of the justifications being that it provides “holdout” so fewer coats of finish then need to be applied to get the same overall thickness. This is correct only if you are applying lacquer over the shellac, as shown in the first accompanying picture. I applied a coat of shellac to the right side of this panel and a coat of nitrocellulose lacquer to the left side. Then I applied a coat of lacquer to the entire panel. There is a little better build on the right side with the shellac sealer...

Read more →


TIP: Getting a Do-over - Removing an Application Problem

bob coats finish finishing flexner lacquer the finishing store water-based woodfinishing woodworking

During application of a finish, whether by rag, brush or spray, there are sometimes problems so severe that you would like to remove what you have just applied and start over. You can do this fairly easily with oil and varnish finishes, with somewhat more difficulty using water-based finishes, and not at all with shellac and lacquer finishes without removing all previous coats down to the wood. With oil finishes, you may have as long as an hour to remove the finish without damaging the coats below. Use mineral spirits (paint thinner). With varnish (including polyurethane varnish), you may have...

Read more →


TIP: Spraying Outside

blush bob debris finish finished finishing flexner lacquer sandy shade shellac the finishing store water-based woodfinishing woodworking

One solution for spraying your project when you don’t have a spray booth or adequate exhaust in you shop is to spray outside. There are some conditions, however, for getting good results. First, you need to pick a day with temperatures in the high sixties to low eighties. Colder will cause the finish to take much longer to dry and this will create more time for debris and bugs to land on and stick to the finish. Hotter will cause the finish to dry too fast, which may lead to dry spray—the finish drying before it lands on the object....

Read more →


TIP: UV Varnishes Only Give So-So Protection

damage damages finish finishing flexner object panel slow sunlight the finishing store ultra-violet light uv uv-resistant varnishes woodfinishing woods woodworking z-spar

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...

Read more →


TIP: Understanding Gloss and Satin

agent coats dries film finish finishing flatting flexner gloss reflecting satin shrink-wraps the finishing store woodfinishing woodworking

TIP: Understanding Gloss and Satin

It’s the last coat you apply that establishes the sheen of your finish. In other words, if the sheen you’re getting is not to your liking, just apply another coat of finish on top with the sheen you want, and that’s what you’ll get. Sheens range from high gloss to dead flat. Gloss reflects an image almost like a mirror. Flat disrupts the image so much that you may not be able to see it at all. All finishes except gloss contain flatting agent that is responsible for the flatter look. This flatting agent (tiny particles of silica, which you...

Read more →