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Thread: Finishing Questions

  1. #1
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    Finishing Questions

    I'm making a little pen box to put a wedding pen in. I have really been struggling with finishing it. It is made out of some curly maple. Started, after sanding the box to 400 grit, with Deft Clear Wood Finish, Gloss. Applied 3 coats 30 minutes apart as per instructions. It had some "orange peel" Which I didn't like. Not a lot but I really wanted a very smooth glossy finish. So I sanded back to smooth and sprayed it with Deft Polyurethane Glossy. First coat looked good. Added a second coat and walla it started "crinkling"! What a mess. So I took all the finish off, and went back to the Clear Wood Finish. Now I have some orange peel again. The question I have, can I buff the orange peel out? If so what with" Tripoli and wax? Or, would a rubbing compound work? Or, am I better off just living with a little orange peel. No one at the wedding will notice it, but it bothers me. I do not want this to be a major project, I just offered to make it for my neighbor to use at the wedding guest book.

    The pen turned out pretty good. It is a Triton roller ball hardware, with white holly. The pen and box are going to Pete Simmons for a little engraving.
    Last edited by Paul Douglass; 05-12-2014 at 02:24 AM.
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  2. #2
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    Orange peel means the finish is drying before flowing out. Usually rattle can finishes have enough retarder to prevent that. That leaves the second reason; the application is too thick. Try misting it on. The third thing is the ambient humidity is too low. That shouldn't;t be a problem this time of year. The fourth thing is a bad batch of finish.

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  3. #3
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    The Deft "Clear Wood Finish" is lacquer. That's a good thing (in my opinion).

    Assuming you have buffing wheels (like a Beall buffing system or similar), you can buff the orange peel out, starting with tripoli, then moving to white diamond compound. You can apply wax afterward, but it won't do anything to help remove the orange peel. You have to be careful, though, that you don't buff too hard and soften the lacquer from heat. If that happens, you'll have a mess and need to sand it all back down. Instead of trying to remove the orange peel with the buffer, my preference is to carefully wet sand the piece with 400 (or 600) grit paper, then go to the tripoli/white diamond/wax process. The wet sanding removes the orange peel quickly and reduces the risk of melting the lacquer.
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  4. #4
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    Thanks for the info. I think "too thick" and too close, of a coating may be the answer. I just applied another coat, just misted it and it helped. Maybe another coat of "mist" will do it.
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  5. #5
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    My suggestion would be to use compatible finishes. If you start with a lacquer, continue with it. Top coating with a polyurethane is unnecessary. Each has its own curing characteristics. Your orange peel could be from too far from the object being sprayed, and/or, moving too fast. Usually if the finish is applied "too thick", but it doesn't run, it should flow out just fine. I would wet sand up to at least 800x, preferably 1200x, and you can use an automotive rubbing compound and polish. The reds are usually coarse, and the whites are a fine grit. Use a smooth 'T' shirt type cloth with some clean water near to keep the compound from drying out while rubbing. Something like spit shining...if you ever did that. I wouldn't use any wax, as it would preclude further finishing, and would be a PITA to remove.




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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike marvel View Post
    My suggestion would be to use compatible finishes. If you start with a lacquer, continue with it. Top coating with a polyurethane is unnecessary. Each has its own curing characteristics. Your orange peel could be from too far from the object being sprayed, and/or, moving too fast. Usually if the finish is applied "too thick", but it doesn't run, it should flow out just fine. I would wet sand up to at least 800x, preferably 1200x, and you can use an automotive rubbing compound and polish. The reds are usually coarse, and the whites are a fine grit. Use a smooth 'T' shirt type cloth with some clean water near to keep the compound from drying out while rubbing. Something like spit shining...if you ever did that. I wouldn't use any wax, as it would preclude further finishing, and would be a PITA to remove.




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    Thanks, for the input. Did I ever "spit shine"..... I'm an ex-jarhead!
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  7. #7
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    The Deft Clear Wood Finish is lacquer, which burns in so you can apply as many thin coats as you want, and when you are done you will have a single coat on the workpiece - the burn-in makes them a single layer.

    Orange peel is caused by improper drying, often from a too-thick finish. You can sand it out until it is smooth, but don't have to go down to bare wood. Then add another thin coat. I find sanding to about 4000 grit is the same as gloss finish, so perhaps you don't even need to add the final coats if you have enough thickness in the finish, and it is smooth enough.

    Polyurethane is not compatible with lacquer. As you learned. Your problem is not how it was applied, but the basic incompatibility of the finishes. You should be able to get a rattle can of Deft Clear Gloss...LACQUER (Deft clear wood finish is lacquer but for whatever reason, Deft doesn't like the word lacquer)

    I would not apply wax, since it interferes with subsequent finishing. I worry about the Beall and other compounds leaving microscopic residue that would interfere with subsequent coats of finish.
    Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
    (Retired early to become a custom furnituremaker)
    Lots of my free advice at www.solowoodworker.com

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Plesums View Post
    ...I would not apply wax, since it interferes with subsequent finishing. I worry about the Beall and other compounds leaving microscopic residue that would interfere with subsequent coats of finish.
    I agree. I only start the buffing process after I'm done applying the finish, and only apply wax after the buffing steps are done.
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