finishing

These are the three Zinsser Bulls Eye shellacs that no longer provide a date of packaging or a stated shelf life

User-Unfriendly Zinsser Bulls Eye Shellac

I went to Lowe’s a week ago to buy some shellac and was reminded that Zinsser, the maker of Bulls Eye Amber, Clear and SealCoat brands, no longer provides the date of manufacture so users can calculate whether or not the shellac will dry properly. And now the company has stopped telling users even...

Boiled linseed oil and tung oil

Comparing Linseed Oil & Tung Oil

The two commonly available pure oil finishes that can be used on furniture and woodwork with decent results because they cure – that is, turn from a liquid to a soft solid – are linseed oil and tung oil. There are important differences between these two oils. Raw linseed oil cures much too slowly...

solvnets

Using Solvents to Date Furniture

Editors note: Bob Flexner’s blog will move to the Flexner on Finishing Blog at the end of April. You can find it here. A few years ago I was called to a long-time client’s house to look at a problem on their newly purchased eighteenth-century Chippendale dining set. I was excited. How often do I...

Try cleaning first, with water, soap and water or mineral spirits.

Rejuvenating Old Finishes

Editors note: Bob Flexner’s blog will move to the Flexner on Finishing Blog at the end of April. You can find it here. Just because a finish is old and deteriorated, you don’t necessarily have to strip it and apply a new finish. You may be able to rejuvenate the finish so it looks...

scratch disappears under UV light

Smart Coatings

It seems like everything is becoming smart these days: smart phones, smart watches, smart cars, smart drugs. There are even smart coatings (paints and finishes). I’ve blogged about one already, a coating that uses nanotechnology to create an air barrier that causes liquids such as pee to bounce off walls and cover the perpetrator’s...

Now, all one company

Troubling Consolidations

As in so many other industries, the companies who supply us with paints and finishes are consolidating at a rapid rate. When I started in this field 40 years ago, there were all sorts of local and regional suppliers. Every store carried its own unique brands. Minwax was a very small player. It was...

Filled mahogany grain on the right

A Few Thoughts

I just finished reading an article on filling pores, and it reminded me of several things I’ve been meaning to say. First, filling pores is primarily a refinishing operation because so much of the old factory-made and finished furniture is mahogany with filled pores. To reproduce the original look, a refinisher has to fill...

You can thin all you want

You Can Add All the Thinner You Want

You often see cans of solvent finishes, including lacquer, and alkyd and polyurethane varnish, with instructions not to thin them. Manufacturers include these instructions in order to comply with VOC laws in some areas of the country, such as California. Adding thinner could take the finish out of compliance with the local or state...

To remove the residue NMP wipe several times with an alcohol dampened cloth

Remove Residue NMP From The Wood

The paint-and-varnish removers commonly available in stores are gradually shifting from those available in metal cans to those available in plastic containers. The ones in plastic aren’t as strong or fast acting as those in cans, which are methylene chloride and various lacquer-thinner solvents. Just the packaging, plastic vs. metal, tells you this. The...