damaged crotch walnut top

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Forum topic by Paulanthony posted 01-30-2012 08:41 PM 1362 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 2334 days

01-30-2012 08:41 PM

Hey Guys,

I wish this were fiction, but it isn’t. I just screwed on the top of a crotch walnut coffee table that I made for my wife’s birthday. Exactly one day latter, my young Black Lab hooked his collar on a wrought iron plant stand and flipped out, thinking the plant stand was chasing him. He yelped in terror and bolted…right for the cof

fee table.

Yep. You guessed it. The plant stand flipped over and damaged the top. If he weren’t such a good hunting dog, I probably would have sent him to dog heaven.

Anyway, I finished the top last fall with Qualalac satin lacquer which I sprayed in my shop. It came out well. Now, however there’s a two-inch long scratch in the top. The scratch isn’t very deep, perhaps a 1/32in. or so. Can I fill in the damaged area then keep building up coats of lacquer for an even finish? (I can’t spray because my shop isn’t that warm in the winter.) Could I use brushing lacquer to build up the top then knock the whole thing back when I finish the finish? Or should I bite the bullet and refinish the whole top? The problem with that is I don’t want to lose thickness. It is a big table with a thick top. Your thoughts are much appreciated.

3 replies so far

View Tennessee's profile


2873 posts in 2540 days

#1 posted 01-30-2012 10:00 PM

Having refinished for 12 years professionally, I never had total luck with fill-ins at a high-bar level, especially on things like tabletops where all the world can see everything. And you’ve got something 2 inches long and over 30 thousandths deep.
That being said, sometimes you do catch a break and your touch-up, filling crayon, whatever, works magically and you move on.
I would try to fill it with brushing lacquer first, then let it sit for a long time, maybe even three-four weeks. Then I would go back and start leveling it with fine paper attached to a perfect flat board. The trick is to level the brushed on lacquer, without knocking down the original finish. Small board is better here.
Once level, you can start using polishes and products like Novus 3, then 2 to achieve a smooth finish. The satin is a blessing and a curse. It’s somewhat matted, so you are not trying for a mirror finish. But you are going to try and recreate the gloss level of the original lacquer, which is low. Hard to hit that particular satin matte so it all looks the same. Actually harder than recreating a mirror gloss finish.
What’s the worst that can happen? You end up stripping it…

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View Bertha's profile


13529 posts in 2719 days

#2 posted 01-30-2012 10:03 PM

I have nothing to add to Paul’s outstanding reply except that your dogs are quite handsome. Good luck! :)

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View chrisstef's profile


17426 posts in 3032 days

#3 posted 01-30-2012 10:22 PM

I wonder what puttting a damp towel over the area and steaming it with an iron would do? I obviously have no idea but maybe someone will chime in on that thought with more experience than myself.

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

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