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Lacquer is milky white - HALP!

by ToddJB
posted 07-11-2018 12:59 AM


35 replies so far

View Rich's profile

Rich

3883 posts in 792 days


#1 posted 07-11-2018 01:41 AM

Looks like blushing to me. It’s caused by trapped moisture. However, I can’t explain why it didn’t happen right away.

I always keep a couple of cans of spray retarder around. It’s a very slow evaporating solvent for lacquer that will soften the surface and give it time for the moisture to evaporate before it

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View bobasaurus's profile

bobasaurus

3544 posts in 3386 days


#2 posted 07-11-2018 01:42 AM

Hmm, I’ve never used lacquer before either so take this with a grain of salt. I’d be tempted to wipe it down heavily with lacquer thinner, let it dry overnight, give it a coat or two of shellac, then use an oil based top coat like arm-r-seal. Or just sand it off and refinish with something else.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View HokieKen's profile (online now)

HokieKen

7129 posts in 1341 days


#3 posted 07-11-2018 01:43 AM

Not a lacquer guy Todd but in your shoes, I’d probably sand down through the wax then try wiping it down with lacquer thinner. Sorry dude. I hate messing with new finishes.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View ToddJB's profile

ToddJB

8294 posts in 2333 days


#4 posted 07-11-2018 01:57 AM



Looks like blushing to me. It s caused by trapped moisture. However, I can t explain why it didn t happen right away.

I always keep a couple of cans of spray retarder around. It s a very slow evaporating solvent for lacquer that will soften the surface and give it time for the moisture to evaporate before it

- Rich

Rich, is it ready for waxing after this, or do you need to do anything else it after the retarder?

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

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Rich

3883 posts in 792 days


#5 posted 07-11-2018 02:07 AM


Rich, is it ready for waxing after this, or do you need to do anything else it after the retarder?

- ToddJB

Feed N Wax claims to be compatible with lacquer finishes, and I use it a lot, so I doubt that alone is the problem.

I wish I could see it in person. Is it embedded in the finish, or can you rub it and have some of it come off? Like I said, I’ve had it happen to me, but it was right away.

Edit: I almost forgot to answer your question. After the retarder evaporates, it will harden back to its original state. Be careful not to rub it while it’s still wet, that will cause a mess. I’d give it a few hours before trying to wax it.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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bd1886

28 posts in 165 days


#6 posted 07-11-2018 02:15 AM

Entrapment causes milking (mostly) and it can come from moisture (the #1 cause), environmental oils and residual dissimilar solvents. It tends to be easily reversible by just cleaning off what’s on top and re-activating the original finish providing it is the type of finish that dissolves from the top down. (Lacquers, penatrating oil, “true” varnish (nothing urethane, catylized, polyurethane etc.).
I love the properties of all Howard’s products for some things but there are inherent issues to be aware of when using it because many are mineral oil based. (It doesn’t really dry, it just penetrates and replenishes existing finishes or itself, and once used? Best to stay on top of upkeep with either itself or a compatable wax.)

Looking at your piece I would expect active lacquer solvent, residual moisture, or active natural resins (in that order) to be the culprit here…. with natural resins least likely by quite a margin.
Solution? Clean Howards off with a good scrubbing using paint thinner and let dry. Second light wipe with paint thinner to minimize any residual mineral oil/wax residue, then a couple light circular/pouncing wipes of lacquer thinner to get back to square one and let it cure.

Can’t tell for sure but betting the finish was not cured before using the Howard’s? (How long had it sat before applying the Howard’s?)

View HerbC's profile

HerbC

1790 posts in 3062 days


#7 posted 07-11-2018 02:24 AM

That sure looks like lacquer blushing which can be caused by high humidity while applying the lacquer.

The way to fix/avoid it if you’re using a spray gun system is to add a retarding agent to the lacquer.

If you are using spray cans and have this problem, get Behlen’s Blush Eraser (available from Amazon here and it will fix the problem.

I think you will need to remove the Howard’s Wax and Feed before using the blush eraser…

-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!" http://lumberjocks.com/HerbC/blog/17090

View enazle's profile

enazle

66 posts in 210 days


#8 posted 07-11-2018 02:38 AM

How big of an area are we looking at? Could be blushing, could be just sanded with out you wax. The divots being white look like they are full of sanding dust. You say you have waxed the piece, I would try removing the wax with naphtha or mineral spirits. If when wet the area clears it is not blushed but a sanded area.

View Aj2's profile (online now)

Aj2

1881 posts in 2000 days


#9 posted 07-11-2018 02:55 AM

The sure fire fix is too squirt some lighter fluid on the spot lite it up.
Let it burn for out it will go away quick.
It will pull the moisture out
It may come back if your piece is still drying

-- Aj

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TheFridge

10744 posts in 1688 days


#10 posted 07-11-2018 04:59 AM

I vote for burning :) sorry. I’m no help. I’d probably douse it in lacquer thinner and get most of the finish off to let it breath then try again.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View ToddJB's profile

ToddJB

8294 posts in 2333 days


#11 posted 07-11-2018 05:40 AM

Thanks guys. I’m going to try the clean it well with paint thinner approach and let it dry. If it dries back white, I’ll grab a can of blush eraser on my way home from work and give that a go.

I’ll keep you abreast. (Fridge, I’ll keep you two – I know how you like ‘em.)

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

View HokieKen's profile (online now)

HokieKen

7129 posts in 1341 days


#12 posted 07-11-2018 10:29 AM

Hey! I like ‘em too and I answered before Fridge!

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View gwilki's profile

gwilki

226 posts in 1676 days


#13 posted 07-11-2018 12:47 PM

I’ve not used the particular lacquer that you show in your pic, but my supplier of rattle can lacquer would tell you that 4 or 5 days was not enough to ensure the lacquer was completely hard. When you sanded it, the heat softened the lacquer and moisture and maybe wax got into it.

When I’ve rushed things, I’ve gotten the same results as you.

-- Grant Wilkinson, Ottawa ON

View ScottM's profile

ScottM

691 posts in 2349 days


#14 posted 07-11-2018 01:13 PM



I ve not used the particular lacquer that you show in your pic, but my supplier of rattle can lacquer would tell you that 4 or 5 days was not enough to ensure the lacquer was completely hard. When you sanded it, the heat softened the lacquer and moisture and maybe wax got into it.

When I ve rushed things, I ve gotten the same results as you.

- gwilki

Ditto. You should let lacquer set up for a week or so to let it fully cure before waxing. I was told the petroleum contents of the wax can sort of melt the lacquer. Not saying it isn’t blushing. Just saying you may have more than one issue.

View ToddJB's profile

ToddJB

8294 posts in 2333 days


#15 posted 07-11-2018 02:24 PM



Hey! I like ‘em too and I answered before Fridge!

- HokieKen

Jealousy doesn’t suit you, Kenny.

Just saying you may have more than one issue.

- ScottM

Well, that’s guaranteed.

Cleaned it off really well this morning. Let it dry for the day and grab some retarder on the way home tonight

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

View Aj2's profile (online now)

Aj2

1881 posts in 2000 days


#16 posted 07-11-2018 04:01 PM

I would like to change my suggestions from lighter fluid to denatured alcohol because it burns cleaner and fast

-- Aj

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HokieKen

7129 posts in 1341 days


#17 posted 07-11-2018 04:07 PM

I think AJ just REALLY wants you to set something on fire Todd! ;-))

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View Planeman40's profile

Planeman40

1307 posts in 2963 days


#18 posted 07-11-2018 04:09 PM

Yep! Its “blushing”. As a long time lacquer user I have this happen in the humid summer months here in Atlanta, GA. What is actually happening is this. The quick-evaporating thinner in the lacquer chills the surface of the drying lacquer allowing moisture from the damp summer air to condense on the surface of the still wet lacquer, creating “blushing”. I have always corrected this by dampening a very soft brush (like an artist’s brush) with lacquer thinner or acetone and carefully brush over the surface. Notice I say “dampening”. You don’t want to use a lot of thinner. What this does is it slightly melts the lacquer surface to take away the blushing but quickly evaporates before it can chill the surface again. Using a brush full of thinner will take away the blush, however the time it takes for the heavier coat of thinner to evaporate allows the surface to chill again and the blushing will come back.

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View enazle's profile

enazle

66 posts in 210 days


#19 posted 07-11-2018 04:45 PM


Hey! I like ‘em too and I answered before Fridge!

- HokieKen

Jealousy doesn t suit you, Kenny.

Just saying you may have more than one issue.

- ScottM

Well, that s guaranteed.

Cleaned it off really well this morning. Let it dry for the day and grab some retarder on the way home tonight

- ToddJB


So when you got it wet with the Mineral Spirits, did the cloudy area go away? It it’s blushed you will see the clouds even when its wet.

View ToddJB's profile

ToddJB

8294 posts in 2333 days


#20 posted 07-11-2018 04:46 PM

I’ve employed the DNA and fire on unfinished wood, but never some thing finished. Interesting AJ.

Thanks Rufus. Fingers crossed it’s simply blushing

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

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ToddJB

8294 posts in 2333 days


#21 posted 07-11-2018 04:49 PM


So when you got it wet with the Mineral Spirits, did the cloudy area go away? It it s blushed you will see the clouds even when its wet.

- enazle

Yeah, it was still there when it was wet. But should have removed the wax.

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

View Aj2's profile (online now)

Aj2

1881 posts in 2000 days


#22 posted 07-11-2018 07:35 PM

I have no idea if it will work. Charles shared this technique for removing ring marks in poly finishes
It might ruin your finish or your bark woof woof.:)

-- Aj

View Rich's profile

Rich

3883 posts in 792 days


#23 posted 07-11-2018 07:52 PM

Mayonnaise supposedly removes rings in finish. It might raise the board’s cholesterol though.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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ToddJB

8294 posts in 2333 days


#24 posted 07-11-2018 08:03 PM

Ha. I read about that too, Rich. I’d love to know the backstory as to how that miracle (whip) cure was discovered.

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

View chrisstef's profile

chrisstef

17763 posts in 3209 days


#25 posted 07-11-2018 08:12 PM

Im awfully late to the party here but ill be damned if it doesnt look like youve got some sanding dust in the pores there. There was another guy on here just recently that had an issue with that in ambrosia maple.

With that said, ill return to my hole.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View ToddJB's profile

ToddJB

8294 posts in 2333 days


#26 posted 07-11-2018 08:16 PM

Maybe. None of it lifted when I put MS on it this morning, and it wasn’t there on the first few coats of lacq. Hopefully, I have good news tonight.

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

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chrisstef

17763 posts in 3209 days


#27 posted 07-11-2018 08:24 PM

Good luck buddy.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View bd1886's profile

bd1886

28 posts in 165 days


#28 posted 07-11-2018 11:54 PM

All blushing has been a real easy fix for me and bet getting the Howard’s off with a couple paint thinner scrubs and gentle wiping with lacquer thinner. Re-spray a light coat to test

View ToddJB's profile

ToddJB

8294 posts in 2333 days


#29 posted 07-12-2018 04:42 AM

Retarder!

So after I got home after wiping off with the MS is was A LOT whiter than it was – all over it. But a couple sprays of the retarder got me here.

Which is much better.

But now I have a couple spot that look dull and dry.

What’s the next step? A couple more light coats of Lacquer?

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

View Rich's profile

Rich

3883 posts in 792 days


#30 posted 07-12-2018 04:54 AM


Retarder!

So after I got home after wiping off with the MS is was A LOT whiter than it was – all over it. But a couple sprays of the retarder got me here.

But now I have a couple spot that look dull and dry.

What s the next step? A couple more light coats of Lacquer?

- ToddJB

I’m glad the retarder worked. It’s a life saver. Regarding the spots, it just looks like you need more build. You’ll get there. And if you get more blushing, you know what to do.

Please don’t let this experience sour you to lacquer. It’s the easiest and most foolproof finish there is. Instead of aerosol cans (which are great for little jobs and touch up), go for some premium product. I use Sher-Wood products because I can get professional advice locally, and the price is right. You’ll be amazed at the difference between the aerosol spray and a real high solids lacquer.

But keep that can of retarder handy. I do.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View Planeman40's profile

Planeman40

1307 posts in 2963 days


#31 posted 07-12-2018 02:19 PM

For what its worth, what retarder does is slow down the evaporation of the lacquer thinner so it doesn’t chill the surface of the lacquer so much. It helps to know how things work.

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View Rich's profile

Rich

3883 posts in 792 days


#32 posted 07-12-2018 02:30 PM


For what its worth, what retarder does is slow down the evaporation of the lacquer thinner so it doesn t chill the surface of the lacquer so much. It helps to know how things work.

- Planeman40

You’re talking about a retarder that’s added to lacquer before it’s sprayed to prevent blush. The first photo in the post shows Todd holding a can of aerosol lacquer. Kinda hard to add it to that.

So, in this case, the retarder (blush remover) is an aerosol solvent that softened the surface and allowed moisture to evaporate before it evaporated and the finish returned to its original state.

One is a preventative, and the other is a repair. It helps to read the thread.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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Planeman40

1307 posts in 2963 days


#33 posted 07-12-2018 02:36 PM

Yep. Now I recall reading something about a spray can. As these threads go on for days sometimes, one can forget the details. Anyway, knowing about retarder might help others learning about lacquer.

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View ToddJB's profile

ToddJB

8294 posts in 2333 days


#34 posted 07-12-2018 03:26 PM

Okay. So I added a couple more coats of Lacquer last night. Checked it this morning and things looked good.

I think we’re in the clear.

Next issue. I need to mail this out tomorrow. The retarder and new coats added a slight bit of overspray. Any recommendations to replace my typical process, of Howards and buffing, since that’s what got me into this problem in the first place?

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

View Mario's profile

Mario

182 posts in 3599 days


#35 posted 07-12-2018 03:35 PM

Usual with lacquer in high moisture, let it dry and spray it with lacquer thinner, it will vanish…...no big deal

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