Professional Finishing

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Stan Merritt

I have a potential customer who is wanting a bedroom suite painted. I don't know what kind of existing finish it has. But just in case it's a lacquer, latex, or enamel, is there a safe way to apply conversion varnish over these products. If not, is the best thing to just spray it with lacquer. Thoughts??

2/6/22       #2: finishes ...

Never put a hard finish on a softer finish
I would not use CV unless it's new wood or stripped down

2/7/22       #3: finishes ...
Chemmy  Member

Thought and warnings are these.! Never apply any new coating over an unknown coating.! Test coating in an inconspicuous area not seen ....lacqueres will disolve or soften enough so it will come off on your finger or rag with lacquer thinner or retarded in minutes, if lacquered, will need to closely visually inspect the surfaces(all of them)
To be sure there is no cracking of the lacquer.!! If not then check for adhesion of the existing finish, if duct tape firmly applied does not remove any finish, then I would proceed with caution and let the customer know that you can't guarantee the finish, when it comes to declaring instead of completely refinishing it.!! Make that in writing and have them sign it.!!
The same would hold true with any other coating, be it latex, enamel, urethane, acrylic, varnish etc.!
Shellac, waxes, and oils are about the only things you can recoat, without worrying about film failure, "if" proper cleaning and washing are done.

2/7/22       #4: finishes ...

Just randomly "spraying it with lacquer" is your best way to loose your butt on the job. With product growth and selection, we really can't just say lacquer any longer. There is precat, post cat, nitrocellulose, water based, etc.....Your best bet will be some kind of water based top coat so it might adhere and not yellow over time and change the color. But absolutely you have to do a lot of testing as Chemmy said.

2/7/22       #5: finishes ...

not to mention the offgassing of C.V.

2/11/22       #6: finishes ...

I would seriously consider using Ben Moore Command. I used it on a Lance camper remodel for one of my clients. They were lacquered red oak. I cleaned up with 409 and scuff sanded them and sealed them with Bin shellac primer and 2 top coats of tinted Command. Probably could of used Command straight. They say it'll stick to anything I just didn't want to chance it. The Command is plenty tough and is much more flexible than CV or even the GF pigmented Enduro I use.

2/11/22       #7: finishes ...

Forgot to add. Command is WB and dries almost as fast as GF does which is fast. You can easily shoot 2-4 coats a day depending on the weather. I shot it with a pressure pot with 1.5mm tip. Lays out nice.

2/12/22       #8: finishes ...
Daniel Shafner  Member

If it's retail furniture, it has a lacquer coating. As already suggested, a quick dab with some lacquer thinner will confirm.

If it's lacquer, first scrub the furniture with Simple Green. Then shoot it with vinyl sealer, or white vinyl primer, or Sealcoat shellac, or BIN shellac primer. Do your fills and spot spray. Dust/tack rag and continue to your topcoat.

The 2 thin coats of original topcoat aren't thick enough of a film to have a "hard over soft" issue. In theory, yes. In practice, no. There's a huge track record of successfully finished projects by shops everywhere on which I base my suggestions. We're doing this often enough.

Is this appoach "best practices"? No. Best practices dictate to remove all old finish and then start as new. Super costly and likely, also, not a cost effective task unless the furniture has special meaning to you.

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