Plastic Damage to a Water-Based Finish

Plastic lying on finished furniture can wreck the finish. October 27, 2005

I have a client that purchased a table over one year ago - maple, finished with a water based lacquer. The table was fine when the client picked it up in May 2004. Now the lacquer is peeling off. I went by to take a look and noticed the client keeps it covered with plastic. Could the plastic make the finish break down over time? Is there something that could have happened during the finishing process that would take this long to become a problem?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
The simple answer is yes. In Bob Flexner's book "understanding wood finishing" there is a brief excerpt that explains this problem. "The oily plasticizers in the plastic migrate into the finish and soften it, and cause the two to stick together." This is on page 162. This book is a must have for anyone in the furniture refinishing industry. The resins in most finishes have plasticizers in them. When the two meet for extended periods of time, they will gel together, creating the problem you described.