Questions to Ask Before Recoating Finishes

By Bernie Bottens | Posted: 05/02/2013 10:00AM


Bernie Bottens how to finish wood I recently discussed touching up catalyzed finishes and provided a few general rules to follow. Now, moving forward, let’s say that you have something requiring a spot repair or a customer wants you to re-coat their cabinets. Here are some questions to ask yourself before you decide to proceed with repairs or recoating.

1. What is there already and what do you know about that coating?

2. If it’s a pre-cat, then which pre-cat? What are its specs?

3. If it’s a post-cat, then which post-cat? What are its specs?

4. If we don’t know the answers to 2 or 3, then, by all means, proceed with caution.

We’ve talked about the pre-cat and post-cat characteristics associated with recoating. There is something else that I need to at least mention. This comes as a result of global trade, economic conditions and competitive pricing.

There are a lot of furniture/cabinets made these days off shore as well as on shore. Any of these companies could be using any version of a coating including a no-cat such as a straight nitrocellulose lacquer or an acrylic lacquer.

These are the cheapest per gallon as well as the easiest to spot repair. They simply melt together when one coat is sprayed over the other. But, they are also the softest form of peanut butter. Their presence in a fluid state when mixed with another type of coating will surely dilute its chemical characteristics.

Next week I am going into some nuts and bolts suggestions for spot repairing lacquer finishes. I will give you my tried and true suggestions that I have learned over the years. Stay tuned for that discussion.

Until next time…spray on!


About the Author

Bernie Bottens

Bernie Bottens ( and teaches on the subject of wood and wood finishing in industrial woodworking. He and his wife, Carol, live in Vancouver, WA. Bernie has been teaching wood finishing to shop owners, shop foremen, spray technicians and finishers all over Oregon, southwest Washington, and northern California for the past 9 years. Prior to that, he owned his own cabinet shop. His shop credentials include apprenticing and becoming a journeyman exhibit builder. Before that he taught in the public schools for 20 years. Bernie is the owner of Kapellmeister Enterprises, Inc. and Kap Coatings Consulting. Reach him at

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