Good for you Bill. Sounds like you tamed the monster. Since this all
started a while back, I think others would enjoy it if you would start
a new subject on the goup and just post exactly what you did, that way
others could learn from you, too. Also, it is a good thing when
someone takes the time to thank those that attempted help out. You
got some good commentary going here.
Just my 0.02.
In response to Robert's suggestion that I explain this little project, I submit
the following "term paper". (Robert's request can be found at the bottom of the
Refinish a pre-Civil War drop leaf table that has been in my wife's family
since it was made.
take the table apart so that the joints could be re-glued and also to make
removal of the finish easier. Pre-finish the various pieces using Deft Brushing
Lacquer. I usually use shellac when redoing older pieces, but in this case, the
table lives in the front hall and sees some abuse that shellac would not easily
the table was completely disassembled and the old finish was removed
mechanically. This went reasonably well. The table had been refinished in 1929
and through the years the joints had loosened considerably. The top was held in
place with some (what appeared to be) #10 slotted wood screws.
Legs, aprons, and leaf supports:
These were sanded down to 220 and the finish went on very nicely.
This is where the problem reared its ugly head, or should I say eyes.
The table had been used as a laundry table at some point in its life. Even
though I had sanded it sown to what appeared to be nice bare mahogany, when I
applied the lacquer, fisheyes appeared. There were a few on one leaf, a larger
number on the main top and the second leaf looked like it had some kind of
I place a query on this group (see below) and got a number of varied, but
helpful and insightful answers.
The final solution:
Once again the finish was removed and the top was sanded down to 320. When I
was satisfied that it was as clean as it would ever be, I applied three coats
of sanding sealer. I sanded with 320 between the first and second coat and used
0000 steel wool between coats tow and three.
I then sprayed three coats of Deft lacquer (in the aerosol can), rubbing out
with the 000 wool between each coat. I probably could have continued with the
spray process, but the delivery from the can was not what I was looking for.
Basically, I wanted a barrier coat between the sealer and the final brush
coats. The spray coats were to protect the sealer from possible brush drag.
The final coats wee applied over a three day span to allow full drying between
coats. I don't care that the can said I could recoat in two hours. I just was
not comfortable with that scenario. I also disregarded the can's instruction
saying the there was no need to sand between coats.
Again, I resorted to my 0000 steel wool.
The final coat went on and was not sanded.
I attached the top to the reassembled legs and apron, cut an acrylic sheet to
protect it from soda cans and potential plant drippings.
It is now back in the hall where it is no longer an eyesore. :-)
A couple of notes:
I used mineral spirits to remove any dust left from sanding (or wooling)
between coats. When I was finished with the main top, as I was cleaning the
brush, I noticed to little drip blobs. I carefully took the brush, wet with
lacquer thinner and did a quick little swipe over the two blobs. They
disappeared and there is no sign of them in the finished project. Whew.
Again, I would like to thank all of those who responded to my initial query.
Their responses were very helpful and put me on the right track.
Well - yes and no. Lacquer will burn into itself, but that is best relied
upon when the stuff is in flash, and not after a full dry. Since the OP
waited until the coats were dry to apply the next coat, I would at least
scruff it. There is a risk of edge lifting when applying over dry coats.
Respectfully disagree based on my own experiences and Deft's
How would scuffing a fully cured nitrocellulose lacquer surface change
the way the next coat interfaces with the existing coat?
Some catalysed lacquers (certainly most automotive ones) don't melt
into themselves that well.
A scuffing would give it 'tooth' and de-glaze the surface.
Nitro-cellulose lacquers, even the mildly catalysed ones, will respond
to a 50% thinned blast of lacquer , instead of a scuffing.
The simple test, is to apply some thinners to see if it softens the
If it is a catalysed lacquer and you spray it with a full-strength
catalysed lacquer, without scuffing.. the edges WILL lift... very
visible on 32 dark stained cherry(shudder) doors. DAMHIKT. (We had to
sand everything, right into the nooks and crannies of raised panel
doors...2 guys, 2 days. Then re-stain the sand-throughs, feathering,
re-sealing, then fight the farking fish-eyes...at least a $ 2000.00
Always test with thinners.
I agree that the best results are wet on tacky... after a flash-off
but not dry.
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