Troubleshooting Pin Holes in Lacquer

Advice on adjusting application techniques to avoid the formation of pin holes in the finish. April 17, 2010

I recently sprayed four coats of Behlen lacquer over walnut and began to rub out the finish. Much to my chagrin, I found small pinholes in the lacquer surface. I noticed it because the rubbing compound dried to a nice bright white color. Now in very isolated areas, there are pinholes with dried rubbing compound in them. I can take a needle and flick the compound out, but there is no other way to get it out, so I'm stuck with sanding down and re-coating. I'd like to know what I screwed up before creating the same problem again.

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor B:
Pinholes are caused by the finish drying too fast, especially on porous woods. Add some retarder and spray thin coats.

From contributor C:
It's really a combination of spraying either too thick or too close to the surface. Thin out 40% and keep your gun distance at least 8" away from the surface.

From contributor R:
I have had this problem also. There are a number of factors that can cause this, but one is contamination in either the lacquer or spray equipment. In my case it was the blow off air nozzle that was new and had oil in it. I was blowing oil all over the pieces I was about to spray.

From contributor T:
You didn't mention if you stained it? You may have solvent popping from the stain, not being completely dry, and forcing its way to the surface.