Reply by Douglas Bordner

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Posted on Help me choose my topcoat...

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Douglas Bordner

4024 posts in 4058 days

#1 posted 07-12-2007 04:55 PM

Ultima Spray Lacquer (waterborne, poly-based). Target Coatings (order online) or through Jeff Jewitt’s Homestead Finishing website (at last order you have to fax in). I have a home shop and used to use MC Campbell Magnalac. Terrible odor, dangerous lacquer thinner based (explosive). I am totally won over to this stuff. You might find it best to spray as much of the case as flat parts and then do the final assembly (mask off the glue joints first with green 3M tape). Target also has pre-cat and varnish offerings, all waterborne. Soap and water gun clean up (don’t use solvents or you’ll end up picking balls of white crud out of your gun). You might check to see if they sell a gun cleaner where you buy yours. I got a product called “The Challenger” at a local independent paint store that works great. Spraying light, 20 minutes dry out of dust, one hour recoat.

If you finish in the flat you can lightly use a card scraper (Veritas sells an Ultra thin card scraper you can bow with one hand and put a gentle hook on just for finishes) to knock off the nibs, scuff sand with 320 grit between coats and shoot 3 coats in a day without blowing up the neighborhood and without the hideous aroma (that draws bugs like rotting fruit) of Magnalac or Deft. This stuff burns into the next coat like shellac or lacquer. I even shoot this stuff in my funky garage workshop, which is none too clean, although I sweep it up about an hour before spraying. General Finishes has a good (and cheaper) waterborne that rated well in Fine Woodworking’s recent test if saving a few buck is important. It just isn’t as heat resistant, but unless you client is storing heated hex nuts (their test material) in his bookshelf, that shouldn’t be an issue.

As far as rubout, look for Mirka Abrasives Abralon pads. They let you rubout to 4000 grit dry with a Random Orbital sander. I use them on my jewelry boxes, posted on this site.

Take a look at a blog entry of mine for links and info

Or you could just use wipe on BLO/Mineral spirits/Thinned varnish and do an “in the wood” finish or Doug Stowe swears by Deft Danish oil on his boxes.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

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