Woodworker's Journal fall-2009, страница 71


White rings from water marks often will disappear when you clean the surface and remove the old wax. If they don't, dampen a cotton cloth with denatured alcohol and gently wipe the area. If it works, you're repairing a shellac finish.

degloss the finish, in which case, move on to the next step.

• Rub: If the finish is in good shape but has merely lost some of its sheen to minor surface scratches, rub it. For a satin luster, use #0000 steel wool dipped into paste wax and rub back and forth in the direction of the grain to impart a series of fine, uniform scratches. Wipe off the excess wax immediately, or let it dry and buff it off for a slightly shinier surface. For gloss finishes, use rubbing and polishing compounds from the automotive store.

• Touchup: Now that it's clean, you'll see all the little nicks and scratches where color is missing. Your local woodworking specialty or hardware store will stock several different brands of touchup markers in a range of wood colors. They look like normal felt-tip markers, and they work the same way. Simply color in the light sections of scratches or edges where the finish has rubbed through. It's a good idea to buy several colors close to what you think you will need, and use whatever matches best, including combinations.

In the same section of the store, you'll also find wax fill sticks that look like crayons in woodtone colors. Use them to fill in small dings and nicks. Rub the crayon over the

defect until it fills up, then scrape off the excess with the edge of a credit card to leave a smooth, flat surface.

French Polishing

The classic way to rejuvenate a clear finish on a fine antique is with French polish. Describing both the finish and the method of applying it, French polish involves applying thin coats of shellac with a cloth pad. Behlen (sold in many wood specialty stores) and Mohawk (sold online and through distributors) offer several versions of pre-mixed, ready-to-use French polish under names like Qualasole™, Rapid Pad, Lacover®, and Lac

If your finish is in decent shape, try using #0000 steel wool dipped into paste wax, and rub back and forth in the direction of the grain.

French. This beautiful shellac finish is great for fairly gentle wear, but on the down side, it is neither heat- nor alcohol-resistant. Additionally, it does take some skill and practice to get a nice surface.

If you don't yet have the skill, you might try Bulls Eye™ French Polish from Zinsser. It is a traditional, clear wiping finish that goes on in one step. I've had good success with it.


Finishes that are wearing thin can be recoated to add another layer (or two) of protection and many more years of wear. Almost any finish can be recoated with more of the same, but if you don't know what is on already, there are still several safe options.

After cleaning, lightly sand the surface with 320-grit sandpaper. Avoid sanding through the color, or you'll have extra touchup to do. Zinsser SealCoat™ is a good first step, as it will bond to any finish. Any coating, including waterbased ones, can go over it. Apply one coat as a clear primer, or add several to give you a classic shellac finish. Oil-based polyurethane can also go over any finish, including SealCoat, and is more durable. Painting is another option.


Fall 2009 71

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