Stain and Crackle for Distressed Alder

Ideas and resources for an unusual "crackle" finish project. May 23, 2007

I have a job in the works and the finish will have a stain and some distressing, and here and there some crackle. The topcoat will be a catalyzed lacquer. I've used some crackle in the past with mixed results, and usually over an opaque coat. This crackle will be over stained and distressed alder and applied around the door and drawer handles and some on the edges. I could use some advice on the crackle part of the finish. What products have you guys and gals used that has yielded good results?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor M:
Most paint stores sell a crackle paste; it works both ways in a coating, or you can place it on certain spots that you want to crackle. You will need to do some testing to get it to work right. But it does work.

From contributor B:
Check MLC's latest crackle lacquer.

From contributor J:
Hot hide glue thinned and brushed on in the areas you want crackle works for me. The thicker the glue, the heavier the crackle. Crackle will tend to follow the direction of the brush strokes. Try some samples to get used to the technique and how heavy to apply the hide.

From the original questioner:
Much thanks to those who are helping me with the crackle. I'm going to order up some sample material to fool around with. The job is in the near future, but I like to have all my marbles in order well in advance.

From contributor S:
I tried our paint stores in California and could not find crackle paste. Need more information on this product. Please help, because we are trying a similar finish as the questioner.

From contributor M:
If your paint stores do not have it, you can get it at most arts and craft stores. It's actually flattening paste that is used to decrease the sheen in coatings.

From contributor B:
You need ML Campbell's crackle. Forget about the water base stuff and other time consuming techniques.

From the original questioner:
Thanks. I did visit MC Campbell's web site and printed out the information on their crackle. Sounds easy. I'll get some sample material. Most of the information on the crackle seems to say to use over a gloss nitrocellulose lacquer, and I'm going to be using a catalyzed material. I haven't read everything in full yet, so I have homework to do before actually diving into the finishing side of the job.