STEP 2 Switch to overlapping pattern like one of these. Keep pad moving until it's dry and surface is shiny.


STEP 1 Start padding with serpentine pattern of non-overlapping strokes.

Rub th« pad over the entire surface with large circular strokes. When you see streaks, or "rag tracks," increase your speed and pressure.

When the pad is totally dry, the streaks should be gone, leaving a beautiful shine.

When the pad is totally dry, the streaks should be gone, leaving a beautiful shine.

show up less on a tabletop when viewed from different angles. It's similar to the effect you see on a factory-polished car when you catch the finish in the sunlight.

Some padding lacquers contain a less volatile oil that will stay on the surface longer than needed. This may trick you into thinking you're still leaving padding lacquer tracks, when really you're just smearing the oil. To test for this, run your finger across one of these tracks, and if you change the direction of the smear, then it's oil. and there's no reason to continue padding. You can remove the oil by wiping the surface with a cloth dampened with naphtha. You can also just leave the oil, and it'll slowly evaporate.

When you've finished padding, the bottom of your pad will be quite dry. If you can still see dull areas or sanding scratches at this point, you'll have to put on another coat of padding lacquer. But if the surface is smooth and shiny, another coat won't gain you any advantage. If the shine is too glossy for you, you can cut it back (make it a little less shiny) with 0000 steel wool, as with any other finish. If you want more gloss, you can rub the surface with rottenstone mixed with a little water or oil to make a thin paste, or use a commercial polishing compound.

Padding lacquer can be used over almost any finish. But it will give best results over shellac or lacquer, which are both evaporative finishes that cure by the evaporation of their solvent. (See Novcmbcr/Dcccm-ber, 1989 AW.) Padding lacquer will fuse or "melt" right into them. It won't melt into reactive finishes, such as varnish or polyurethanc, which cure by chemical reaction. Padding lacquer will form a thin film over these finishes and will probably crack in time. But you can still get many years of use out of an old, worn, varnish finish by padding it.

To determine if a finish is shellac, apply a dab of alcohol to an inconspicuous spot. If it's shellac, the alcohol will make it soft and sticky. If the alcohol has no effect, try lacquer thinner, which will soften a conven tional lacquer finish. If neither solvent softens the finish, it's a varnish-type finish.

The two largest manufacturers of padding lacquer arc Mohawk/Behlen and Star. (See sources.) Each company makes several different types of padding lacquer, which vary according to solvent-evaporation time, solids content and whether it has an amber or clear color. From my experience, the easiest products to use are Ultra Qualasole from Mohawk/Behlen, and Star-Lite French from Star. These are the padding lacquers I would recommend if you're just beginning.

Keep in mind that shellac has a shelf life of only a year or two. Since padding lacquers are shellac products, they also have a shelf life. But unfortunately, neither Mohawk/Behlen nor Star provide us with a date of manufacture on their containers. Just as with shellac, you'll know that your padding lacquer is too old if it doesn't harden properly. If in doubt, it's a good idea to test your older padding lacquer to sec if it will harden correctly, before you go ahead and use it.

If you've never used padding lacquer before, I'd advise starting out by buying a fresh pint or quart and trying it on a piccc of furniture that you intend to re-finish anyway. You'll develop a feel for padding techniques and learn the finish's limitations. The worst that can happen is that you'll have to go ahead with your plans to refinish the piece. But more likely, you'll discover how easy and rewarding it can be to use padding lacquer. A

Bob Flexner restores furniture at The Workbench in Norman, Oklahoma. He wrote about shellac and vamish in the Nowmber! December, 1989 AW, and has produced two video tapes: Repairing Furniture, and Refinish-ing Furniture, (amilable from Taunton Press, Box 355. Newtown, CT 06470).

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  • Bingo
    How to thin padding laquer?
    9 years ago

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