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Silicone Contamination

wood finishing

by Alan Noel
Professional Wood Finisher

When first starting out in the finishing business, from time to time I would encounter a problem when spraying on my first coats of lacquer sealers on furniture I was refinishing. The sealer would start to crawl forming little round craters in small areas of the surface, but seemingly not over the entire surface. As time went on this problem would become worse and I needed to know what was going on here.

I was tired of re-stripping the finish to start over, only to have the same problem, so I went to my friends body shop to see if he could help me. He knew exactly what was going on... silicone contamination.

With a little, research I also learned that most liquid furniture polishes also have added silicones in order for that "wet look" to last even longer.

These silicone products were invading our environment to the point that I would have to "add" silicone to my finishes. By doing this, I was able to have my finishes flow out, which eliminated these "fish eyes."

Here are 7 tips to help with this problem:

  1. Unfortunately, this problem usually only raises its ugly head when the refinishing process starts.
  2. Silicones cannot be removed from the surface, only moved around.
  3. A silicone additive must be used in all refinishing processes (except staining) to eliminate the problem.
  4. If this problem shows up, don't waste time trying to fix it, just strip it and start over.
  5. Another plan of attack is to use a seal coat of dewaxed shellac (we use Bull's Eye Seal Coat over the surface before moving on.
  6. If the problem still persists after a coat of shellac I will (hate to say this) start over by restripping, sanding, staining and then start with VERY light coats of shellac to "seal" in the silicone. If all is good then proceed with your finishing schedule.
  7. Go to a local woodworking/body shop for advice and a source of silicone additives, or the internet.

Visit Highland Woodworking's
Wood Finishing Supplies Department

Alan can be reached directly via email c/o Alan Noel Furniture Refinishing at .

Visiting Atlanta? Attend one of Alan's upcoming highly informative Highland Woodworking wood finishing seminars:

March 30, 2016  French Polish Workshop
April 16, 2016  Finishing 101
April 30, 2016  Spray Finishing

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