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Expert's Corner — satin

TIP: Understanding Gloss and Satin

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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...

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TIP: Lacquer Colors Vary

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TIP: Lacquer Colors Vary

Lacquer is a very versatile finish, especially because of its widely understood easy application in varying weather conditions. Not so widely understood is the range of colors—the amount of yellowing (or “oranging”) of the various types of lacquer. For example, nitrocellulose lacquer (on the left in the accompanying photo) adds a noticeable darkening or slight orange coloring to the wood. This can be very pleasing on dark and dark stained woods, but some find it objectionable on light woods such as maple and birch and on white pickled woods. In between is acrylic or “water-white” lacquer, which isn’t totally water...

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TIP: Crackle Lacquer

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TIP: Crackle Lacquer

Crackle lacquer is a manufactured lacquer product with so much solid material, usually silica, added that there isn’t enough binder (lacquer) remaining to glue all the solid particles together. This results in the lacquer cracking when it dries and shrinks. The usual way of applying a crackle-lacquer finish is to first apply a colored background, usually a pigmented lacquer coat. Then spray a coat of colored crackle lacquer, which cracks revealing the color underneath. Simply by moving your spray gun faster and slower and at greater and lesser distances from the workpiece, you can create a pleasing effect. You can control...

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