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Expert's Corner

Solving a Sticky Problem: Tools and Tricks to Deal with Glue Squeezeout
If you’ve never had the experience of applying the first coat of finish to a project and having some of the finish fail to “take” because glue has sealed the wood grain underneath, go read something else.  What follows is intended for the vast majority of woodworkers who have encountered this problem. Most often this [...]

TIP: Spraying Lacquer Over a Paint or Finish
There are risks to spraying any type of solvent lacquer over any existing, and older, paint or finish. The problem is the lacquer thinner in the lacquer. A wet application can cause many paints and finishes to wrinkle or blister, even an old coat of lacquer itself. The two easiest ways to avoid problems are [...]

TIP: Refinishing and Value
Many people are confused about whether or not to refinish old furniture whose finish is in bad shape. They don’t really like living with the furniture, but they’ve heard (usually directly or indirectly from the Antiques Roadshow) that refinishing destroys value, and they surely don’t want to do that. A finish serves two purposes. It [...]

TIP: Naphtha for Cleaning
Naphtha, commonly sold as “V M & P Naphtha,” is better than mineral spirits (paint thinner) for cleaning oily and waxy surfaces, including crayon marks. Naphtha is a stronger solvent than mineral spirits but not so strong that it damages any finish other than wax as long as you don’t soak the surface. Naphtha also [...]

Judged the Best – Winners in Finishing from the San Diego County Fair
Each year, John Darroch, President and CEO of Apollo Sprayers and TheFinishingStore.com, judges the awards for the Excellence in Finishing at the prestigious Design in Wood (or @designinwood) show at the San Diego County Fair. Winners receive gift certificates from TheFinishingStore.com This combined competition and exhibit is a collaboration between the San Diego Fine Woodworkers [...]

TIP: Durable Finish for Enclosed Spaces
A key factor in choosing a finish for an enclosed space such as a drawer, cabinet interior, humidor or a small room such as a wine or liquor cellar is residual odor. All types of varnishes and lacquers outgas smelly solvents for many days or weeks depending on the thickness applied, the temperature, and the [...]

TIP: Tung Oil and Varnish Sold as Tung Oil
Finishing is hard enough even without the mislabeling that is so prevalent on the part of many manufacturers. The mislabeling makes it difficult for us to know what we are buying and using. The accompanying picture shows dried puddles of two commonly available products both labeled “tung oil.” These two products could hardly be more [...]

TIP: Disguising Glue Seepage and Wood-putty Splotches
Glue seepage, or glue on your fingers that’s transferred to the wood, blocks stain penetration. This usually results in a lighter area. The same can happen with wood putty because it doesn’t accept color the same as wood does. In both cases, you have a lighter area or spot that you want to color in [...]

TIP: Stir Homemade Shellac
Shellac is available in two forms: as a liquid in cans you buy at paint stores and home centers, and as flakes you buy from woodworking suppliers. The advantage of dissolving flakes (in denatured alcohol) is to ensure the shellac you use is fresh. The fresher the dissolved shellac the quicker it hardens and the [...]

TIP: Thinning Polyurethane with Naphtha
Naphtha dries (evaporates) much faster than mineral spirits (paint thinner). This leads many to believe that thinning polyurethane with naphtha will make it dry faster. This is not entirely the case. Like all varnishes, oil-based polyurethane dries in two steps. The first is evaporation of the thinner. The second, and much longer step, is by [...]

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