Highland Woodworking Wood News Online, No. 185, February 2021 Welcome to Highland Woodworking - Fine Tools & Education Learn more about Highland Woodworking View our current woodworking classes and seminars Woodworking articles and solutions Subscribe to Wood News
 
Finishing: Lacquer Retarder
By Alan Noel
Professional Wood Finisher

My most recent shop lasted for 10 years before I ended my business. I moved into this space during early Spring. Having worked in a space that was nearly 1800 square feet of air conditioned comfort, I had now expanded into around 7,000 square feet of floor space, divided into three rooms, that had neither heating nor cooling. I had no idea how different the process of finishing would prove to be in this large, non air-conditioned area...

As Spring turned to Summer, temperatures soared and things began to change really fast. I had to start adding lacquer retarder to my finishes, which had a variety of uses. It slowed down the drying times. It helped the finishes "flow out". It eliminated "dry spray" (which is when the finish starts to dry before it gets to the surface). And lastly, the lacquer helped to control "blushing."

Blushing is when moisture gets trapped in the finish and turns the finish into what appears to be a milky mess. On a smaller scale, blushing is the same as placing a "sweating" glass on a table top with a lacquer finish, and in just a few minutes it creates a ring that appears as a white cloud trapped in the finish. Fortunately, by adding a cap full of retarder to the mix and spraying on another "wet" coat, the problem can be fixed. Since lacquer is a reversible finish, the next coat melts into the previous coat like fingernail polish does. This will allow the blushing and dry spray to simply disappear, and it also improves the flow out of the topcoats to follow.

Click here to visit the Highland Woodworking Finishing Department


Alan can be reached directly via email c/o Alan Noel Furniture Refinishing at alannoel@comcast.net.

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