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Thread: How to remove cloudiness in lacquer finish

  1. #1

    How to remove cloudiness in lacquer finish

    This is a request for advice on how to remedy a lacquering job that turned cloudy. To the surface of a new kitchen stool made from white oak, I applied six coats of shellac with pore filler applied between each coat until the surface was smooth (to match the smooth surface of an old stool in my kitchen). I then sprayed six coats of Mohaw Finisherís Choice Clear Lacquer in a spray can. After letting it dry for two weeks, I noticed a hint of cloudiness in the lacquer. At that point, I didnít know cloudiness in lacquer finish is generally caused by moisture trapped under the surface during application and thought perhaps wax would remove it. So I put on a layer of Howard Feed-n-Wax and buffed it. The next morning, the top of the stool was as white as if it were covered with the pool of milk! It has remained solid white for the five days since I applied the wax. On the advice of the wax manufacturer, I removed the wax using mineral oil but the whiteness hasn't diminished. Would applying lacquer thinner to cause the lacquer to go through the drying process again remove the moisture? Any other suggestions for getting rid of solid-white cloudiness in a lacquer finish?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    McKinney, TX
    Since you apparently have access to Mohawk products they make a no Blush in an aerosol can. Basically it’s a slow lacquer thinner that you spray on. Should do what you’re thinking needs to be done. You can try misting on some regular thinner it may work.
    Steve Jenkins, McKinney, TX. 469 742-9694
    Always use the word "impossible" with extreme caution

  3. #3
    Steve, thank you so much for your suggestion to use Mohawk lacquer thinner spray. I knew about lacquer thinner, of course, but I didn't know that Mohawk sold it in a spray can. I got some and it worked perfectly. The cloudiness, which was solid white over much of the piece, is now gone. It took up to five applications in some areas to remove all the cloudiness. Six hours after having applied it earlier today, it's still free of cloudiness.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    'Glad you got the issue resolved, David!

    One thing...the shellac. It's important to use as little shellac as possible as it's not intended to be built up to some thickness like a varnish would. A thin coat to seal, just the pore filler, one or more times as needed, and then a single thin application of shellac to seal that as a barrier coat is how I would approach the situation you described. Built up shellac can lead to cracking in subsequent finishing steps with various clear coats.

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  5. #5
    You can make your own blush remover, but it will require spray equipment. Spraying straight lacquer thinner can work but it will flash off pretty quickly, which may be why it had to be done numerous times. I have had great success mixing lacquer thinner with lacquer retarder. I keep a Harbor Freight gravity feed gun handy with the thinner/retarder mixture. If the job I am spraying starts to blush, I grab the Harbor Freight gun and spray the blushed surface. Works every time. I also use it after I spray the last coat of lacquer, even if it doesn't blush. I will usually sand the final coat with 400 - 600 wet and dry sandpaper and then spray a light coat of the thinner/retarder mixture. The sanding scratches disappear and the finish feels like silk.

  6. #6
    Jim, thanks much for the tip on minimizing the number of layers of shellac. I wasn't aware of this and want to learn more about the appropriate uses of shellac.
    Rob, thanks for sharing tips on how to avoid blushing in lacquer application, especially the final coat of a thinner / retarder mixture. I'vefiled that away for use the next time I apply lacquer.

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