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 Post subject: Refinishing
PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 7:14 am 
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I have been asked to refinish a old cedar chest, and was wondering the if there is a easy way to figure out if the clear finish is lacquer or poly. It was his high school shop project in 1972 if that may help, he seems to think it was poly. The reason I'm asking is because the finish that it does have is just rough and uneven thinking that it could have the finish leved out and go from there. But feel free to tell me if that is a crazy idea also, just strip and refinish. Thanks

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 7:32 am 
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IIRC get some alcohol and rub it on the finish (in an un-noticeable place). If it is lacquer it will dissolve. If it’s poly it won’t effect it.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 8:35 am 
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Not sure that I agree with Jeff, but I've been known to be wrong before...

If it is shellac it will dissolve with alcohol.
If it is lacquer it will dissolve with lacquer thinner.
If it is polyurethane neither will dissolve it.

The only way I know to remove poly is with sandpaper, abrade it off.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 9:53 am 
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I agree with Chuck, try some lacquer thinner. But it would seem he would remember if he sprayed the finish or not. If he sprayed it, it's probably lacquer. If not, it's probably poly in which case I think it's best to sand it off.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 9:55 am 
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Chuck Knarr wrote:
Not sure that I agree with Jeff, but I've been known to be wrong before...

If it is shellac it will dissolve with alcohol.
If it is lacquer it will dissolve with lacquer thinner.
If it is polyurethane neither will dissolve it.

The only way I know to remove poly is with sandpaper, abrade it off.


Abrade?
Pretty fancy verbiage for a Monday morning!!

:confused: :shock: :D

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that don't bother me at all,
smokin' cigarettes and watchin' Captain Kangaroo,
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 10:32 am 
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OK OK so I recalled incorrectly. :oops: :oops:

I knew it was something like that. :D :D

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Jeff

If man made it, I can fix it.
If God made it we can pray for it.

Lessons I have learned:
NEVER MAKE ANYTHING OUT OF TEAK
Always remove the zero clearance insert before you tilt the blade DAMHIKT


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 12:02 pm 
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Thanks guys, I was figureing it to be poly by it looking to be brushed on, but as for the shellac never thought of that. Thats what I'm hoping to be able to do is sand and reapply poly.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 1:51 pm 
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Thats what I'm hoping to be able to do is sand and reapply poly.

I would recommend scraping rather than sanding.

A good paint scraper and some elbow grease will be better for your lungs (and the horizontal surfaces of your shop) than generating clouds of urethane dust.

Least-wise the large flat surfaces.


If was a 1972 shop project I'd bet that the finish is poly-urethane.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 5:36 pm 
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If I recall in shop class we were using a nitro celous brushing lacquer (Deft) or a varnish.

Acetone or a slow* automotive lacquer thinner, steel wool, and a bit of elbow grease will remove most finishes.

*a slow lacquer evaporates at a slower rate generally used in warm weather.

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