Question for Bobsmyuncle

2ajsmamaOctober 2, 2008

You are so helpful, I just had to ask you what you meant by "not that bad" scratches on previous post. No one is responding to that one anymore. I am trying to not totally refinish these CL tables, I can feel the scratches with my fingernail (all cross grain of course). Not gouges, but scratches from dusting, sliding books across the coffee table, etc. How would I prep to spray another coat of lacquer on? Do you think that's all it needs? Or will I have to strip, sand, stain, finish? I'm going to try to get this done this weekend - tables are sitting in my garage right now. Thanks

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I do work for about 10 different furniture retailers, warehouse dealers, and delivery companies. In addition, I do "protection plan" work that covers scratches. So scratches are sort of bread and butter for me.

Of course, the ultimate "last resort" is to strip and refinish.

Beyond that, a few thousands of an inch one way or the other can affect what is the best approach. I did the photo shoot for this article (isn't my thumb just awesome? :-) The biggest problem we had was creating the "just right" scratch for each technique. That's sort of my way of saying, even with a photo or the piece in front of me, I would have to do some things and see how the scratches responded (or not) to each technique.

Today I took back an end table that needed refinishing due to a child's pressing on it with a ball point pen. It really fractured the finish beyond practical repair and even when stripped, I had to steam out the impression marks to get it level.

If you ever used Pledge polish, you can stop right here. Any lacquer added is going to stand a likely chance of fish-eye.

To "prep" you need to clean the surface, first with Dawn & water, then naphtha.

I would also lightly sand to remove scratches. Don't go any coarser than P400 grit. Wipe off the sanding powder.

At this point you can spray with an aerosol lacquer. It will likely take several coats as they are very low solids. This is what I do if I have a new furniture repair.

Another approach is to get a brushing lacquer such as Watco or Deft. Just be careful not to over work the finish, it will start to dry quickly and you may also start dissolving the toner layer and smearing around the color. A couple of coats an hour apart and you should be good. Worse case is, got to step 1 and do your strip and refinish.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2008 at 7:57PM
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Thanks - I have no idea what she used. I can see some white in the grain of the coffee table (end tables look OK). And on the side opposite the drawers there is some dark splattered stuff that smears with my finger like a colored wax? Surprised that's not on the top. I didn't think there was much grime, but will wipe with soapy water and mineral spirits (don't have naptha in the house) and see what happens. Won't the mineral spirits get rid of Pledge?

There are some depressions (not gouges, wood was pressed in stain and all) on each of the tables. I thought about trying to raise them, but at this point don't care, don't want to get water under the lacquer and have to strip. I can get naptha if you think that's better than mineral spirits - I have to go out to get lacquer and sandpaper anyway. Only have 100,150, 220, 320, 600 in house..

Thanks - I'll let you know how it goes. My bargain CL tables aren't looking so much of a bargain once you see them in the sunlight!

    Bookmark   October 3, 2008 at 8:08PM
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Ok, washed the tables and wiped down with mineral spirits. Most of the scratches looked OK, a few were not quite dark enough and a couple (including 1 round spot on the front edge of the coffee table) didn't do a thing. But the white stuff caught in the grain that I figured was wax disappears while wet, but reappears as soon as the thinner dries. Also, the white splatters on the leg of the coffee table I thought were milk do the same thing. Those at least it appears I can scratch off with my fingernail, so a little 600 grit sandpaper might take care of them. So, what do I do about the white stuff in the grain? Strip the tables (one of the end tables has a bit too)?

    Bookmark   October 4, 2008 at 11:10AM
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