Michael Dresdner

straight talk about wood finishing

Archive for December, 2009

Cloudy with a chance of clear

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

Q: When I mix shellac from flakes, it makes a clear solution. I bought my first Zinsser shellac in the can and it is not clear. It looks like a suspension of something. Why? A: In its natural state, shellac contains about 5% wax, and it is that wax that makes the solution cloudy. It [...]

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Spirit, yes; oil, no.

Monday, December 28th, 2009

Q: Should I be able to remove 400 grit sanding scratches coming through on a French polished shellac coating by further polishing? Will an alcohol and mineral oil mix worked vigorously over the surface for a period of time eventually polish out these residual scratches or should go I back to 600 grit paper? A: [...]

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Cold weather spraying

Friday, December 25th, 2009

Q: What sort of problems will I have spraying nitrocellulose lacquer in an unheated garage, and is there any way to minimize them? A: Nitrocellulose lacquer is one of the least temperature sensitive finishes you can spray. That means it will still cure even in cold temperatures, albeit more slowly. You’ll also find that finishes [...]

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Custom color gel

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

Q: Can natural gel stain be tinted with other oil based gel stains to create a custom tone? A: Yes, you can mix two or more colors to make custom colors, or mix colors with clear to make weaker colors.

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Why, it’s a dye.

Monday, December 21st, 2009

Q: How is it that Mohawk Ultra Penetrating Stain is water soluble after it has dried? A: It’s a pre-mixed dye, formulated with solvent but no binder. Because there is no binder, it dries but does not form a film; it merely reverts to the original powder or crystal form of the dye. Thus, until [...]

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Glazed over

Friday, December 18th, 2009

Q: Would Mohawk Finisher’s Glaze be safe to use over shellac, spirit varnish and oil varnish, considering it contains methanol? A: Yes. The amount of methanol in the mixture is very low, and you would probably have no problems at all. About the worst that would happen is that it would bite more aggressively into [...]

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Sunblock for your wood

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

Q: I am a novice wood turner and want to minimize the loss of the vibrant colors found in many of the woods that I have spent lots of money on. I heard of something about Ciba Lignostab 1198 Wood Stabilizing additive. Is this for me? Any information would greatly be appreciated. A: Traditionally, the [...]

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Squeaky clean

Monday, December 14th, 2009

Q: My nitrocellulose acoustic guitar finish is now horribly squeaky. I have owned it for five years with no problems, but now, any light touch produces the sound of new tennis shoes on a basketball floor. It happened the day after having wiped the guitar with Old English lemon oil that may have contained some [...]

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Oil over water

Friday, December 11th, 2009

Q: I was planning on using oil based wiping varnish atop waterbased stain. Do I need to use shellac in between? A: Nope. You can put oil based clear finish directly over any other finish, including waterbased acrylic, so there is no need for shellac or any other barrier coat between your waterbased stain and [...]

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Enhancing oak is easier than you’d think

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

Q: I am building a bath vanity of quarter sawn oak. I stained it with a General Finishes waterbased stain. I’d like to pop the grain a bit. Normally I’d use BLO, but I don’t think I can, over the waterbased stain. A: The waterbased stain you reference, and in fact nearly all waterbased stains [...]

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