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Expert's Corner — residue

Wetting to Predict Blotching

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Wetting to Predict Blotching

You can usually get a pretty good idea whether or not the wood you are using will blotch when a stain or finish is applied by wetting the wood.You can use any liquid, but water will raise the grain causing you to have to sand more. Mineral spirits (paint thinner) works well except if you intend to apply a water-based finish. Some residue oiliness may remain and cause the finish to fish eye—that is, bunch up into ridges rather than level out.Denatured alcohol would be better for this situation because it will totally evaporate. But it evaporates quickly, so you...

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TIP: Finishing Over Waxed Wood

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It can be difficult to get a finish to flow out and stick well to bare wood that has been waxed. Here’s how to proceed. Wash off as much of the wax as possible with mineral spirits (paint thinner). You can use odorless mineral spirits if you want. Keep turning and changing your cloths or paper towels so you are lifting off and removing the wax and not just spreading it around. I’ve seen cases where the wax is so hard that mineral spirits doesn’t dissolve it easily. For these instances, you can try naphtha, acetone or lacquer thinner, and...

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TIP: Wash Off Stripper Wax

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Directions on cans of paint-and-varnish remover instruct to “neutralize” the stripper as a final step. This is misleading and often leads to finishing problems. The instruction is misleading because there is nothing in paint strippers that needs to be neutralized. “Neutralizing” refers to acids and bases, not solvents. What needs to be done with all paint strippers sold in metal cans is remove the wax they contain. Manufacturers add wax to these products to retard evaporation so the stripper remains in contact with the paint or finish longer. This wax will retard the drying and weaken the bonding of most...

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TIP: Alchohol and Lacquer Thinner for Stripping

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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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TIP: Freeze Candle Wax Drips to Remove

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The easy way to remove candle wax that has dripped onto a finished surface is to freeze it by holding an ice cube on it for about 10 seconds. Once frozen, the wax is easy to pick off the finish without causing any damage. If a little wax residue remains and you can’t pick it off, dissolve it with mineral spirits (paint thinner) or a clear furniture polish and wipe away the residue with a cloth. Be aware that red candle wax can stain a light finish. There’s no easy way to remove this stain, but it will fade in...

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