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Expert's Corner — stripping

How to Choose a Finish: Part II

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How to Choose a Finish: Part II

For an overview of choosing a finish please refer to “How to Choose a Finish: Part I.” To better understand finishes and their differences, it’s very helpful to put them into categories by the way they cure. You may think the resins—polyurethane, alkyd, acrylic, etc.—make the big difference in finishes, but they don’t. Consider, for example, that polyurethane resin is used in varnish, water-based finish, two-part finish and in some lacquers. If you have used any two of these finishes, you know they are very different. The curing process the finish goes through is far more significant for understanding each...

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This Month, Nine Experts for the Price of One

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Looking back over our recent articles, we thought we’d celebrate some great ideas, hot tips, and super stories from our Finishing Experts. Read, learn and enjoy! 1.Glen Huey on Shellac: The lack of respect for shellac may be due to the fact that it, a natural resin, is made from a bug’s secretions – not bug droppings, as some think. A lac insect, about the size of an apple seed, ingests tree sap which undergoes a transformation before being secreted as a shell-like shield that covers the bugs. The secretion also sticks to tree twigs. If it is scraped from...

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Repair Furniture Before Refinishing

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Furniture that needs refinishing often needs some regluing or wood repair. It’s almost always best to do all the regluing, parts repair and parts replacements before doing the stripping. This is so that any glue seepage or damage you might cause happens on top of the old finish. When it is then removed with the stripping, so are the glue seepage and the damage. The exceptions are when the wood is covered with paint or a heavy glaze and you need to patch or replace a part or some veneer but can’t see what the wood is. You will have...

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TIP: Strip Don't Sand

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If you want to remove an old finish in order to put on a new one, it’s almost always better to strip the finish than to sand it off. First, except in cases where the old finish is flaking off, it’s a lot more work to sand than to strip using a paint-and-varnish remover. But more importantly, sanding cuts through stain and “patina” (the color changes in wood caused by light and oxidation), and it does so unevenly. Once you start cutting through this coloring, you have to sand through it everywhere to get an even coloring for refinishing. Stripping...

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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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