Michael Dresdner

straight talk about wood finishing

Archive for September, 2009

A stitch in time

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

Q: Can you suggest a good finish for an unfinished pine outdoor swing? I want one that doesn’t require a whole lot of maintenance and reapplication. A: The finishes that don’t require regular maintenance, such as a multi-coat exterior spar varnishes, will eventually fail, but when they do, the amount of work to fix them [...]

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The shadow knows

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

Q: I have a shadow on the spruce top on the acoustic guitar that I am partially refinishing. I  sanded the top of the guitar but left a small area around the pickguard thinking that I may leave the pickguard in place and refinish around it. Once I realized that was not the best approach I [...]

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Simpler than stripping

Monday, September 28th, 2009

Q: My oak wood floor was refinished in the spring of ’06 before moving to this house. Now the surface is gone where we walk and needs to be refinished again. The contractor claimed three coats of oil polyurethane were applied. We have dogs and cats and considering the layout I will need to refinish [...]

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When water and oil do (and don’t) mix

Sunday, September 27th, 2009

Q: I want to refinish my cabinets with a waterborne sealer and topcoat but I want to use an oil-based wiping stain. Will the oil-based stain adhere to a waterborne sealer? A: It’s possible the correct question is just the opposite; will waterborne sealer adhere over oil based stain, and the answer is a definite [...]

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Airless in Seattle

Saturday, September 26th, 2009

Q: I would like to spray  polyurethane through my airless sprayer.  Is that okay? A: It’s ok if you get the results you want, though I will point out that most polyurethanes are not formulated for airless spraying.  Thus, it may be more work than it is worth to make it work.  However, the finish [...]

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Filler up

Friday, September 25th, 2009

Q: Would you apply waterbased pore filler directly onto wood or give it a wash coat of something like shellac first? A: With most waterbased fillers, you can do either, but there are reasons to go one direction or the other.  If you are not staining the wood prior to filling, and don’t mind the [...]

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Purple haze

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

Q: My wife wants a light cinnamon color for our bathroom vanity I’m building. However she doesn’t want it too yellow. I read in one of your books that purple will undo yellow. Should I custom make a dye stain with a bit of purple or tint the polyurethane with a bit of oil paint? [...]

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Pore filling’s best kept secret

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

Q: I know that in USA you have three pore fillers: oil based, waterbased and clear filler. Here in Italy there are no such pore fillers. We have nitro pore filler sealer that is sprayed on, but the problem is that it does not fill pores. It is impossible for me to order solvent based [...]

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More macho

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Q: Which is a more durable finish for a dining room table, Varathane or lacquer? A: Varathane is a brand, not a type of finish, but the company is widely known for their polyurethanes, so I will assume that is what you meant to ask. Oil based polyurethane is substantially more durable against the rigors [...]

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Painting paint?

Monday, September 21st, 2009

Q: I sanded my kitchen table and painted it black. What top coat should use over it? A: That depends entirely on what you used to paint it black. Some paints, such as oil based or high quality acrylic trim paints, will need no top coat whatever and should hold up just fine. Waterbased wall [...]

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