cloudy/milky finish

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Forum topic by buff1 posted 521 days ago 911 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 521 days

521 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: finishing sanding

why does my finish sometimes dry with a cloudy milky color? i use 2 coats of dreft sanding sealer with light sanding in between coats and then tack cloth to after each coat. then a final coat of gloss. i do not finish when raining due to moisture but can’t figure it out. any help would be appreciated.


8 replies so far

View rrww's profile


263 posts in 745 days

#1 posted 521 days ago

Are you brushing or spraying? What top coat are you using?

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

1728 posts in 1125 days

#2 posted 520 days ago

It doesn’t have to be raining to have problems with blush, and that’s what that sounds like.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, we sent 'em to Washington.

View huff's profile


2800 posts in 1917 days

#3 posted 520 days ago

Hard to tell exactly what’s going on. When you say you use 2 coats of Deft sanding sealer; I take it that is their Lacquer sanding sealer you are spraying from a rattle can? Is the top coat you’re spraying also Deft Lacquer? (or brushing).

If that’s what you’re working with, then I would guess you have a problem with moisture (humidity) and it’s making your finish blush. Like Fred mentioned, it doesn’t have to be raining to have problems with blush.

You’ll have to tell us more about where you’re working and what you’re working with to be able to help more.

-- John @

View GaryL's profile (online now)


1074 posts in 1462 days

#4 posted 520 days ago

Do you have a spray set up? If so, try spraying a coat of straight lacquer thinner on it. Nothing heavy. This sometimes allows the trapped moisture to escape thus eliminating the blush. Be sure it is as dry as possible in the area you are spraying. Somewhere in the 30 to 40% range would be ideal. If you have a dehumidifier, run it for a day or two before trying this.

-- Gary; Marysville, MI...Involve your children in your projects as much as possible, the return is priceless.

View buff1's profile


2 posts in 521 days

#5 posted 520 days ago

Yes I use the spray from a rattle can. I do not brush anything. The gloss I use is a minwax gloss also
In a rattle can. Yes the dreft sanding sealer is a lacquer. Working in north east GA where the weather
can be high of 40 degrees today and 75 tomorrow. My shop is basically 4 metal walls and metal roof with
nothing being insulated.
Thanks for the advice so far.

View TrBlu's profile


359 posts in 1257 days

#6 posted 520 days ago

I live in east/central Alabama. Our weather is similar to yours.

It could be your spray cans are too cold. It will take longer for the contents of the cans to warm than it will your shop. The cold spray into a warmer air temperature could be creating a light layer of condensation under your top coat.

I keep my rattle can finishes in the house, when not in use. This way they will stay 60 – 75 degrees year round. With a garage shop, that is not terribly inconvenient for me.

-- The more I work with wood the more I recognize only God can make something as beautiful as a tree. I hope my humble attempts at this craft do justice by His masterpiece. -- Tim

View SamuraiSaw's profile


450 posts in 596 days

#7 posted 520 days ago

It is most likely moisture. As Gary said, the best way the pull the blush out is a light coat of thinner. That “melts” the lacquer and allows the moisture to escape.

Personally, I’d avoid using the minwax. I don’t like their products. Deft makes a spray lacquer in a rattle can that is pretty good.

-- Artisan Woodworks of Texas....

View huff's profile


2800 posts in 1917 days

#8 posted 520 days ago


Definitely sounds like moisture (humidity). Sometimes just having a little heat will help with the humidity. Lacquer is usually the one we have the problem with blushing. Sometimes just spraying a very light coat each time will prevent it from blushing and sometimes that will also get rid of the blushing that’s already accured.

If Lacquer is sprayed fairly heavy, moisture can get trapped in the finish since the top layer of the lacquer will flash over quickly and trap any moisture that may be in the finish. Since lacquer burns into itself each time a new coat is applied, sometimes if you spray a very light coat over the area that’s blushed, it will disolve the top layer enough to let the moiture release.

Doesn’t work all the time, but a lot of the time.

-- John @

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