by Bob Flexner
It’s easy enough to provide instructions for applying finishes. But in the real world, things go wrong; problems occur that you have to deal with.
With the combined goals of defining the problems, providing ways to avoid them, then fixing them after they occur, here are a baker’s dozen of the most common application problems in alphabetical order.
Bleeding in oil finishes: the oil bleeds out of pores after any excess oil has been wiped off.
■ To avoid, continue wiping off every half-hour or so until the bleeding stops.
■ To fix, if the bleeding has dried, disguise it by sanding or rubbing with steel wool, and apply another coat – or strip and start over.
Bubbles dry in brushed alkyd or polyurethane varnish: more likely in hot weather.
■ To avoid, work in cooler temperatures.
■ To avoid, “tip off” (use light passes while holding the brush nearly vertical) after each couple of strokes to break the bubbles.
■ To avoid, add 5-10 percent mineral spirits (paint thinner) to the varnish so the bubbles are more likely to pop out on their own.
■ To fix, sand level and apply another (thinned) coat.
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From the June 2014 issue, #211