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Forum topic by WOODIE1 posted 09-29-2012 04:31 AM 3389 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View WOODIE1's profile


117 posts in 2516 days

09-29-2012 04:31 AM

I am finishing a mirror frame that was made out of African Mahogany. It looks amazing but so far has been a bit tough to finish. First coat was a wipe on Zissner amber shellac just because I had it and like the color and effect it had.

I usually use General Finishes water clear but being a bathroom frame that actually rests on the counter surface I went with Zar Ultra antique flat clear. I read so many rave reviews on line but…...

I sanded with 180-220, shellac 1 coat, 2 coats clear.

The dark stripes in the wood fuzzed out really bad. I sanded with some 220 and then put one more coat of the same clear. It still has tons of pin holes and fuzzies almost like the grain swelled up.

Am I better off sanding with 180 through fuzzy and then clear with waterborne GF???

What caused the fuzzies? This is my first non Home Depot wood project and I am blown away with how cost effective real wood is and how much better it looks for the dollar. No making oak look like walnut stain needed but this fuzzy deal make me want my HD red oak.


8 replies so far

View Gshepherd's profile


1727 posts in 2439 days

#1 posted 09-29-2012 07:40 AM

all of the mahoganys are prone to this fuzzy issue…... I find it best to do a coat of shellac then sand it down, Shellac will make the wood fibers stiff, kind like viagra…. Then sand it down, this may solve your problem….

-- What we do in life will Echo through Eternity........

View MNgary's profile


303 posts in 2654 days

#2 posted 09-30-2012 11:46 PM

I ponder if going over the wood with a fairly damp cloth to raise the grain and then lightly sanding with 250 or 280 grit paper before applying the shellac would have prevented this problem.

I haven’t run into the fuzziness but I first fill the pores, level, color with a water-based dye, lightly sand, and then hand-rub shellac when using mahogany.

-- I dream of a world where a duck can cross the road and no one asks why.

View riverguy's profile


110 posts in 2301 days

#3 posted 10-01-2012 12:34 AM

I don’t know if you want to change the finish you’re using, but I use African mahogany for lots of stuff, including kitchen and bathroom trim. I sand to 220 and apply two medium coats of Deft Brushing lacquer (I spray it, thinned about 10% out of the can), lightly sand again with 200 to remove any nibs, and apply one more coat of lacquer, thinned a bit more. I’ve had amazing success with this quick-and-easy process. The whole process takes less than an hour, including drying times. I use it on my fine-woodworking gallery projects and on furniture, too. I’ve had it in kitchen environments for years and it holds up well. If it ever gets damaged, it’s easy to repair, too.

I know, it’s not what many fine woodworkers would call a high-class finishing technique, but I’ve had my work in galleries next to the best of them, and it’s pretty hard to tell the difference. If you’re looking for a really great finish, there are alternatives to as-sprayed semi-gloss (which looks pretty good as is). I use some medium-grit auto polish/wax on a soft cloth and get any kind of hand-rubbed shine I want. Want a nice dull, aged look? Use 0000 steel wool, rubbed gently along the grain.

Over the years (like 55 of them), I’ve used a lot of the “recommended” finishes, and I always go back to good old Deft lacquer. Try it, you might be amazed!

Check out the work on my Web site if you want see what Deft lacquer can do!

-- Skip, Forestville, CA,

View WOODIE1's profile


117 posts in 2516 days

#4 posted 10-01-2012 02:43 AM


I will tray and post pics. I didn’t think of it as part of the process but after sanding I did wipe it down with a damp cloth.

Well I sanded with 180 and then re applied the clear and all was fine. I had 1 piece for a sill that as cut from the exact wood and the only difference was I did NOT wipe with damp cloth and it was perfect on the 1st shot??

I will try the Deft as I want to start spraying anyway as it is the way to go.

View jumbojack's profile


1685 posts in 2861 days

#5 posted 10-01-2012 03:13 AM

Mahogany has deep pores and yes it can get a little fuzzy. While I never use wood filler some do if you are looking for that flat even finish. My name is Jack and I am a Lacquer guy. I love lacquer, not the green stuff but the full on, do smoke any where near the stuff lacquer. It will not raise the grain or cause any of those fuzzys. On mahogany three very light coats. Enough to thoroughly cover the surface. Then let it dry. Sand LIGHTLY with 400 or higher. You want to get that super smooth kinda hazy finish. Wipe well with a soft cloth, shaking it out often. Lay down another two or three coats and knock that down with some 600 after it dries. Now you should have a very fine finish. Lay down a coat of paste wax and let it sit for half an hour and buff it out. When buffing ya gotta BUFF. None of this mamby pamby wiping but really scrub with a soft clean cloth. Another coat of wax wont hurt and your piece will benefit, again let it sit for half an hour and again buff. With a rattle can of Deft you can get the frame done with one can and have a little left over. You are gona be tickled. You can get all of this done in two days. I prefer the satin lacquer for most of my projects, but what ever floats your boat.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View a1Jim's profile


117417 posts in 3814 days

#6 posted 10-01-2012 03:19 AM

I would use grain filler first ,then blotch control and the your finish.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View riverguy's profile


110 posts in 2301 days

#7 posted 10-01-2012 03:31 AM

I am an inherently lazy guy, so I always try to evolve my finishing processes into the simplest, quickest way I can find to get the results I need. With all due respect, I would like you guys who like to use 400 and 600 grit sandpaper and multiple coats of lacquer to try the method I use on African mahogany, walnut, Koa, Mango, and others.

First, finish the project (or sample) to 220 grit.

Then, Deft Brushing Lacquer, semi-gloss. Thin maximum 10%, spray one coat at low pressure. When dry (five minutes), one more coat. Let dry half an hour, sand lightly with 220 and apply another light coat, thinned a bit more, just heavy enough to cover the surface with no dull spots. When this coat dries, your project will already look better than a lot of fine furniture you see in stores. You won’t see any sandscratch, so why go finer than 220?

If you want it better than that, rub lightly with an automotive rubbing compound and finish with “cleaner wax,” wax with a very fine compound in it.

Caveat: This may not work with other lacquers, but it works well with Deft.

-- Skip, Forestville, CA,

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3885 days

#8 posted 10-01-2012 04:14 AM

Khaya is not a true mahogany. It usually has bands of interlocking
grain which make hand planing troublesome. I can be scraped
with card scrapers then sanded with a firm block. Filling the grain
is a good idea. Razor blades edge scraping works well between
the card scraper and sandpaper.

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