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 Post subject: Not a cabinet but is a wood refinishing project
PostPosted: Jun Wed 05, 2019 10:43 pm 
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Location: Cromwell, Connecticut
I apologize in advance if this is completely wrong for this forum. Moderators please adjust accordingly.

I am refinishing an old cedar chest. I will be using normal stripping methods and will seal with Bullseye Sealcoat after sanding and prep. My goal is to retain the natural color and apply a durable top coat. I am leaning to a satin finish as I don’t think these were ever glossy.

My question is what should I used for a top coat? Lacquer is not what I want, only because there will be drinking glasses on it occasionally bringing moisture into the equation. It will be a center piece in our 3 season room. Lacquer is not the most durable finish which is why I decided to steer away.

I hate to say the P word for a finish, as it is not normally used in this forum.

Let me know you thoughts.

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Tony

People may not remember how fast you did a job, but they will remember how well you did it.


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 Post subject: Re: Not a cabinet but is a wood refinishing project
PostPosted: Jun Thu 06, 2019 3:19 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
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Location: Southwestern,Ontario Canada
Lacquer is still the way to go for furniture. Why not spend some money on some good quality coasters for your glasses and make sure everyone uses them.
Just a thought.
Tony


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 Post subject: Re: Not a cabinet but is a wood refinishing project
PostPosted: Jun Thu 06, 2019 3:03 pm 
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Location: Indianapolis, IN
I used spray lacquer on a cedar chest, it turned out beautifully. A coat of furniture wax went on to protect it. It looks fine 4 years later, but it's not heavily used.

I would struggle with this decision around liquids..

Peter


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 Post subject: Re: Not a cabinet but is a wood refinishing project
PostPosted: Jun Thu 06, 2019 7:20 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
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Location: Merrick,NY,USA
I know this is sacrilege on this forum, but I would use Wipe-on Poly satin finish for your project. I have used it with excellent results on several furniture projects. It's very durable, easy to apply and looks very close to sprayed lacquer–not like the gloppy, sloppy plasticky poly finishes of old. Why not do a quick experiment with a scrap piece of cedar first and see what you think?


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 Post subject: Re: Not a cabinet but is a wood refinishing project
PostPosted: Jun Thu 06, 2019 10:20 pm 
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Posts: 5348
Location: Montvale NJ, 07645
Tbone wrote:
My question is what should I used for a top coat? Lacquer is not what I want, only because there will be drinking glasses on it occasionally bringing moisture into the equation. It will be a center piece in our 3 season room. Lacquer is not the most durable finish which is why I decided to steer away.


What you want is precatalyzed lacquer. Nearly all are KCMA approved and have passed all the moisture tests, etc. It will spray just like regular lacquer. I like the Hood Finishing Supply Magna-shield. I just got gallon the other day and it is like $40 for a gallon. It can be rubbed out and you can get a beautiful finish. Other choices are to use a post catalyzed lacquer or a conversion varnish. Both are more durable than a pre-cat, but more difficult to work with. If you use the Magna-shield, don't put it over shellac- it is self sealing. Shellac is junk where there is moisture.

Poly is a good choice also. You can get a very nice satin hand rubbed finish by taking a regular poly and cutting it 50% with mineral spirits and wiping it on with a lint free rag. It will take a number of coats to get a good build, but the coats dry fast and you should be able to put on 2 in a day.

Cedar is very soft and not a furniture grade wood by any stretch, so I am thinking the poly might be your best bet.


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 Post subject: Re: Not a cabinet but is a wood refinishing project
PostPosted: Jun Thu 06, 2019 10:20 pm 
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Joined: May Wed 23, 2018 6:28 am
Posts: 403
If you want something that will last it's either catalyzed lacquer or polyurethane. Nothing else is durable enough for years of normal use.

I have a 140 year old French cabinet currently used as a kitchen island that was missing its top when I got it. The rest of the cabinet is beautifully carved and has its original finish. I made a new top for it 35 years ago and it still looks good after years of abuse. Its a about to be moved to a less stressful place and I don't expect to ever need to refinish it.

The suggestion to use wipe-on is good as it levels better, but I would put on a minimum of 3 coats. It takes a while for the first coat to dry, but the later ones dry more quickly. Try not to wait more than 6 hours between coats because it starts not to adhere well to itself after it hardens.

I would never use lacquer for a piece that I expect to have glasses, dishes, or bottles placed on it. It turns yellow quickly, is too fragile on wood, and not worth the risk. I have tried to keep French polished (shellac) pieces original for decades. You can't trust anyone to be careful enough, so its a lot of work. I picked up something I use as a coffee table in the living room a year ago and it is already damaged. It's not that old so the top will be refinished with poly, if a ever get done with all of the oak trim in some new rooms.

John


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 Post subject: Re: Not a cabinet but is a wood refinishing project
PostPosted: Jun Fri 07, 2019 9:13 pm 
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Location: N. Palm Bch, Fl.
+1 Wipe-on Poly. For all the reasons Michael gave. I've used it on two projects and it looks like a lacquer job that was done by a Pro and a Pro I am not. Everything doesn't have to be Lacquered.

Freeman


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 Post subject: Re: Not a cabinet but is a wood refinishing project
PostPosted: Jun Sat 08, 2019 11:39 am 
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Location: Cromwell, Connecticut
I was not convinced that lacquer is the way to go. Of all the lacquer projects I’ve done, not one of them gave me a comfort level to set a glass on. And yes, I could put coasters down, but I’ve had people over and they can’t take the hint to use them.

While this is old, 1960’s, it is not antique. It has what appears to have been a varnish on it. Later today, I’ll take a cloth with Denatured Alcohol and one with Lacquer thinner to see what I have.

Though I have not used it, I’ve seen wipe on poly work done by one of our members, and it looks great. I doubt anyone I have over would know or care about what finish I used. They will use it just like a table though.

I respect that John has used the French Polish method for old pieces. We were taught the process in a class I took. Not as easy as just wiping it on.

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Tony

People may not remember how fast you did a job, but they will remember how well you did it.


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 Post subject: Re: Not a cabinet but is a wood refinishing project
PostPosted: Jun Sun 09, 2019 5:54 am 
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Joined: Aug Wed 24, 2011 4:35 am
Posts: 4431
Location: Sunnyvale CA
Freeman wrote:
+1 Wipe-on Poly. For all the reasons Michael gave. I've used it on two projects and it looks like a lacquer job that was done by a Pro and a Pro I am not. Everything doesn't have to be Lacquered.

Freeman



Another +1 for wipe-on polyurethane. I like the look of lacquer, but it is probably the least durable finish you could imagine. It was surpassed in terms of speed, durability, and ease of application long ago. This is not restoring a historical artifact, it's a piece of furniture you plan to use.

Brett


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