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Lacquer Finish Left a white residue

Coop's picture

I just finished a honduran mahogany desk using a cellulose lacquer finish. I noticed the parts that I didn't fill with a wood filler has a white residue left in the open grains. It appeared when I was final sanding and polishing. I assume that it is from the stearates. My question is a). how do I get rid of this now that I am finished
b). how do I prevent this in the future.

Jeff_Jewitt's picture

(post #110365, reply #1 of 6)

I doubt a white residue would be from sawdust or stearates -- nonetheless, its possible the residue is from not cleaning the pores before finishing
( a very important step when finishing open pored woods)

I think its more probable that a white residue could be a solvent/finish problem. Try sanding the lacquer with 320 grit, clean off the residue and respray with a thinned lacquer with some lacquer retarder added. This may re-solvate the blushed lacquer trapped in the pores.

If this doesnt work, I'm afraid you'll need to strip and refinish

Jeff Jewitt

Cindi's picture

(post #110365, reply #2 of 6)

I agree with Jeff. I'd like to add a couple of other reasons for your laquer turning white. 1).
Do You live in a humid area? If you do maybe the bare wood was too wet to finish and left some moisture trapped in the pores. 2). There was too much humidity in the air and the weather air was too damp for you to finish. Regardless of the reason why this happened the problem is to fix it. First try Jeff's approach with the retarder and thinned laquer. If you have to strip, try some laquer thinner on the piece and 4-0000 Steel wool to strip it if it hasn't cured too much.
This has happened to me many times (as I live in very humid summer weather) and as soon as I see the white start, I get out the thinner right away.
If the laquer has cured, You'll have to use stripper. Hope this helps.

Jeff_Jewitt's picture

(post #110365, reply #3 of 6)

One other thought -- if you use many waxes and buffing compounds on an open pored wood when polishing, they get trapped in the pores and revert to their dry color (white)
Use an ebony Compound and Polish (3M) in the future

Jeff Jewitt

Dennis_Hicks's picture

(post #110365, reply #4 of 6)

Could be caused by high humidity. I light coat of pure retarder might eliminate?

Don_H's picture

(post #110365, reply #5 of 6)

I got a bad blush on a claro black walnut cup rack I sprayed with Deft outside when the humidity was high. I let it sit for a few days and some of the blush diminished but it left some splotchy patches in the gloss. I simply filled my gun with lacquer thinner and gave it a medium shot all over and the blush and splotchyness vanished. Life is good.

Clay_Williamson's picture

(post #110365, reply #6 of 6)

You guys are good!