Naugahyde Stuck to a Lacquer Tabletop

Who knew? August 30, 2005

I was called to the residence of a woman I have done some work for to look at a problem she was having. She showed me a very beautiful if contemporary pair of speakers that are in her living room. One of the pair of speakers was on top of a piece of her furniture with a cloth doily under it. The other speaker was sitting on top of an oak furniture piece that has a solid wood top with a lacquer finish.

She told me the speaker was stuck to the lacquered oak top. I took hold of it and exerted some force and it was indeed stuck fast. I then went to the other unstuck speaker and lifted it to see how much it weighed. It felt like 6 or 7 pounds. I then returned to the stuck speaker and exerted even more force than before to try to free it and I couldn’t budge it .

I decided to stop trying to free it for fear of damaging the speakers’ bottom or the cabinets’ top. The speakers appear to have a synthetic leather or naugahyde pad on the bottom. Can anyone explain why this seems to have bonded with the lacquered cabinet top?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From Paul Snyder, forum technical advisor:
Plastics and synthetic fabrics contain plasticizers to make them flexible. The plasticizers diffuse from the plastic/fabric (vinyl in particular) and either evaporate or migrate into a contacting surface.

In this case, the plasticizers in the naugahyde have migrated into the lacquer and caused the two to fuse together. The plasticizer in the naugahyde acted as a solvent for the lacquer. The lacquer finish is ruined and will need to be replaced.

From contributor M:
This a common occurrence with plastic dollies on table tops. I would suggest using an Acrylic coating if you decide to take on the job.

From the original questioner:
If I take this job my plan is to use a syringe filled with lacquer thinner to squirt thinner slowly between the two until I get the speaker bottom to come loose. Does anyone have any other ideas?

From contributor R:
If you can get at the underside of the table, try a heat gun to warm the wood. This should soften the lacquer enough to remove the speaker. Be careful that you don't start any fires though.

From contributor M:
You may want to try using some wedges between the pieces.