Finishing Challenges: Goobers in the Woodgrain
June 3, 2013 | 9:18 am CDT
Not All Lacquer Thinners are Created Equal

Finishing Challenges: Goobers in the WoodgrainFor the past few weeks, we have been discussing how to make repairs to woodgrain and my buddy Kevin Kamberg, an expert on this, shared a few tips. His last tip, listed below, illustrates how to repair lacquer that has floating debris.

Goobers in the Lacquer
These could be anything from a dust particle to some sort of floating debris or even a bug. Flying bugs, especially gnats, seem to be attracted to fresh lacquer. I don't know why but it's very rare in my experience that any other sort of bug will land in fresh lacquer.

Provided whatever the debris is doesn't leave a visually offending remnant, the fix is the same as above. Abrade it smooth and reflow the surface.

A black speck on a blond wood could obviously pose a problem. Whereas, that same black speck on black walnut probably wouldn’t be noticeable. Gnats tend to create enough of a flaw, due to their wings, to require backfilling the surface with some fresh lacquer to bring the finish mils up to an appropriate level once the gnat is removed. However, if you can spot and remove the gnat before the lacquer sets up, simply misting the area with the above solvent blend will usually get it to level out, leaving a flawless surface. A pair of fine tweezers nearby for removing any fibers, gnats, or other floating stuff can save the finisher a lot of time! The more primitive the finish area the more useful those tweezers will be.

So, what about the black speck over a blond wood such as Maple? The fix depends on how close to the surface the speck is. If it's close to the surface, then shaving or sanding down far enough to remove it, followed by a reflowing mist, will work. The thin blade razor blades are handy for this removal because they are thin enough that, using two hands, you can flex the bladeenough to create something akin to an old-fashioned spoke shave that dips down in the middle to gouge out material in a localized area. That can allow you to shave down in a manner that doesn't leave the sort of sharp grooves that would be caused by trying to shave down into a flat surface with the end of the blade.

If the speck is too deep, then you can use the corner of the razor blade to dig down far enough to remove it. Then, drizzle some fresh lacquer into its place and backfill the hole. Let the lacquer dry long enough to shave or sand it smooth. Then reflow the surface and voila!

Kevin’s words are ones that are good to be remembered when in the spray booth and one has these issues. The next thing to do is to make certain that you have some MEK and PM Acetate on hand in your paint locker for just such occasions.

Until next time…spray on!

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