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Expert's Corner — lacquers

The Beauty of Waterborne Finishes

Charles Neil furniture furniture-care lacquers solvent solvents the finishing store varnishes woodfinishing woodworking

It’s a rare finishing class that I don’t get someone who has been a die-hard user of solvents, such as lacquer, conversion varnish and the like, who is reluctant to try waterborne. There is certainly nothing wrong with those finishes, after all they have been around for years and have stood the test of time. Waterborne finishes are the new kid on the block, right? Well sort of. Ever used latex paint, either interior or exterior? Well, that is basically a waterborne finish and it too has stood the test of time. Now, thanks to some creative chemistry we have...

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Minimal Finish Odor

finish finishes finishing lacquers odor oil oils shellac the finishing store varnish varnishes woodfinishing woodworking

If you want as little finish smell as possible—for example, on cabinets in a house or office that is occupied, or on the inside of a box or chest—there are two finishes to choose between: water-based finish and shellac. Other finishes, including oils, varnishes and lacquers will require days and maybe longer for all the residual odor to dissipate. There are two major differences between water-based finish and shellac. Water-based finish is more scratch resistant and imparts no coloring to the wood. Shellac will scratch easier and add a warm yellow-orange tone to the wood. Both dry rapidly, so you...

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