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Expert's Corner — lacquer

TIP: Filling Pores with Sanding Sealer

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It’s generally better to use a dedicated paste wood filler (pore filler) to fill pores than the finish itself, or sanding sealer, because finishes continue shrinking. This will cause the pores to noticeably open up a little after a few weeks or months. But you can use the finish for filling, especially if it’s water-based because water-based finishes sand fairly easily and don’t shrink as much as varnish and lacquer. Apply several coats, sand them back using a flat block to back your sandpaper, and continue doing this until the pores are filled. Varnish and lacquer are more difficult to...

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TIP: Use Wood Conditioner to Reduce Blotching in Softwoods

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TIP: Use Wood Conditioner to Reduce Blotching in Softwoods

Products sold as wood conditioner are washcoats usually made from varnish, though I have seen at least one that is an oil/varnish blend. A washcoat is a finish thinned to five-to-ten percent solids with the appropriate thinner. (Finishes are generally supplied with 20-to-30 percent solids.) In industry, the finish used is usually lacquer thinned with lacquer thinner. Wood conditioners can be fairly effective on softwoods like the pine shown in the accompanying picture. They aren’t as effective on hardwoods such as cherry. The purpose of the thinned-finish conditioner is to partially seal the wood, which means to partially stop up...

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Finishes Differ in the Color They Impart

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Finishes Differ in the Color They Impart

You might choose a finish for its durability, drying speed, ease of use or cost, but you might also choose for the color it imparts to the wood. The accompanying picture shows unfinished oak at the top left, then seven common finishes and their color. If you haven’t done this comparison side by side, you may be surprised at the amount of difference. On top row from the left: unfinished, clear paste wax, water-based finish and nitrocellulose lacquer. On bottom row from the left: clear/blonde shellac, amber/orange shellac, polyurethane varnish and boiled linseed oil. In practice, wax would be an...

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Judged the Best - Winners in Finishing from the San Diego County Fair

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Judged the Best - Winners in Finishing from the San Diego County Fair

Each year, John Darroch, President and CEO of Apollo Sprayers and TheFinishingStore.com, judges the awards for the Excellence in Finishing at the prestigious Design in Wood (or @designinwood) show at the San Diego County Fair. Winners receive gift certificates from TheFinishingStore.com This combined competition and exhibit is a collaboration between the San Diego Fine Woodworkers Association and the San Diego County Fair. Woodworkers from all over the world compete for honors in the largest show of its kind anywhere (according to Fine Woodworking magazine). Exquisite furniture, musical instruments, carvings, clocks, children's toys and more — many museum quality — are included. Many...

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TIP: Dating furniture by the finish used

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TIP: Dating furniture by the finish used

Because different finishes have been used at different times, it’s often possible to date furniture simply by the finish on it. In the 18th century and earlier, makers used whatever finish they had available, usually wax or linseed oil. If the maker lived near a port city, alcohol- or turpentine-soluble resins may have been available. By the 1820s, transportation had improved and shellac flakes, along with other alcohol-soluble resins, became widely available. Alcohol evaporates rapidly so these finishes dry fast and don’t collect dust. As a result, shellac became the overwhelmingly dominant finish used on almost all furniture and woodwork...

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