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Expert's Corner — rag

TIP: Two tricks to successful French polishing

alcohol brush marks mineral oil rag shellac the finishing store tracks wood woodfinishing woodwork woodworking

There are two very useful tricks to getting good results when French polishing. The first is to achieve a one-foot-or-less “comet’s tail” trailing the pad as you move it over the surface—as shown in the accompanying picture. This tail is made by the alcohol in the French-polishing solution evaporating through the oil (also in the solution). If the tail is too long, the pad is too wet, and you’ll probably damage the surface. When the tail gets really short, just a couple of inches, this is the signal that you need to add more shellac, alcohol and oil (I use...

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TIP: Two tricks to successful French polishing

alcohol brush marks mineral oil rag shellac the finishing store tracks wood woodfinishing woodwork woodworking

There are two very useful tricks to getting good results when French polishing. The first is to achieve a one-foot-or-less “comet’s tail” trailing the pad as you move it over the surface—as shown in the accompanying picture. This tail is made by the alcohol in the French-polishing solution evaporating through the oil (also in the solution). If the tail is too long, the pad is too wet, and you’ll probably damage the surface. When the tail gets really short, just a couple of inches, this is the signal that you need to add more shellac, alcohol and oil (I use...

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Oily Rag Disposal

bob disposal flexner oily rag the finishing store woodworkers

Oily rags, used to apply oil or oil/varnish blend finishes, may be the most dangerous item you have in your shop because they can spontaneously combust and burn down your shop or house if left in a pile or thrown wet into a trashcan. The easiest way to deal with these rags if you work alone is to hang them over the edge of a trashcan or tabletop, or spread them out on the floor. Don’t pile them one on top of another. They must be exposed to air on both sides so they can dry out safely. If you...

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TIP: Alchohol and Lacquer Thinner for Stripping

advantage alcohol apply complex dissolves dry furniture lacquer lingering n-methyl-pyrrolidone off paint-and-varnish preperation rag remover residue shellac solvents stripping surface tabletops the finishing store thinner three-dimensional wax woodwork woodworkers

TIP: Alchohol and Lacquer Thinner for Stripping

Alcohol dissolves shellac, and lacquer thinner dissolves lacquer. So you can use these solvents instead of paint-and-varnish remover for stripping. The advantage is that you don’t have to then remove the wax residue or dry off the lingering n-methyl-pyrrolidone solvent. The disadvantage is that it’s more difficult to strip complex three-dimensional surfaces. But alcohol and lacquer thinner are easy to use on flat surfaces such as tabletops. Simply wet some rags or paper towels with the solvent and lay them on the surface. Keep them wet by pouring on more solvent until the finish has liquefied and you can wipe...

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