Just Finishing


Between uses, I submerge my gun's nozzle and air cap in clean thinner in a closed jar. I often leave the unused, mixed lacquer in the gun cup if I'm going to use it within about a week.

For a thorough cleaning, remove and soak the air cap, fluid nozzle, needle and cup in clean lacquer thinner. Don't soak the gun itself, or else the packing around the fluid needle will break down. You can clean the fluid passages with a small bottle brush or pipe cleaner soaked in thinner.


One of lacquer's great benefits is its repairability. Since lacquer rcdissolvcs itself, you can respray a damaged area and blend the new lacquer right into the old. Small touch-ups can easily be done using an aerosol can of lacquer. (See photo, page 90.) Repairs can be rubbed up to match a gloss finish or rubbed down to match a satin finish. Lacqucr also accepts burn-in sticks well.


As user-friendly as lacquer is, things can go wrong. Here's a troubleshooting guide to help you correct any problems:

Blush—When it's warm and humid, moisture can be pulled into a wet finish, resulting in a cloudy appearance called blush. To correct blush, add p slower-drying solvent, called a retarder, to the next coat of lacqucr. An ounce or two of retarder per quart of lacqucr will do the trick.

Dry spray—Spraying too small an amount of finish will result in a coat that looks and feels rough like sandpaper. Turn down the air pressure or adjust your gun to spray a smaller fan pattern for a wetter coat.

Orange peel—If your lacqucr isn't thinned enough or if your gun's fluid aperture is too large, you'll sometimes get a pebbly surface that resembles an orange rind. The easiest solution is to sand the finish to flatten the surface a bit, then add more solvent to the lacqucr for your next coat.

Fish eyes—Silicone, used in some lubricants and polishes, can contaminate wood, creating areas of low surface tension that cause puckered depressions in lacquer called "fish eyes."

You can eliminate fish eyes by adding one drop per quart of an anti-fish-cyc additive (available at paint stores under names such as "Fish Eye Flowout" and "Sili-chek") to subsequent coats of your finish. If you use it with one coat, you must use it with every coat. Afterward, clean your gun thoroughly with lacquer thinner. You can prevent silicone contamination entirely by sealing the surface first with fresh shellac. ▲

#|oin Michael Dresdner live on America Online Sunday from 9:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. eastern time for answers to your finishing questions. Keyword "wood" takes you to American Woodworker Magazine Online. Click the "Shop Talk" icon to enter the chat room.

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