How to Repair Water Damage to Lacquer Finish
Water damages lacquer by turning it milky and blurred. Finishers predict this milkiness “blushing” when it happens while the finish is being implemented. Water also can be accountable for the white rings made by hot or wet glasses and pots left standing on a lacquered tabletop. Blushing and water rings are not difficult to adjust — you just have to discover a means to allow the water to escape and disappear.
The Way Finishers Eliminate Blushing
Blushing happens when you spray lacquer in humid conditions. Moisture settles on the surface and gets trapped when the finish skins above, which usually occurs quite quickly. To mend blushing, you have to re-soften the surface so that the water can disappear, at the same time controlling humidity or drying period so the issue doesn’t recur. If adjusting the ambient humidity is not possible, finishers frequently spray the existing lacquer with a thinner with a slow evaporation time — called a retarder. In addition they might blend the retarder with lacquer and spray a brand new coat.
Employing the Finishers’ Technique
Old lacquer finishes may turn milky as moisture from the air increasingly compromises them. This is particularly likely to occur to your finish that consumes a protective coating of wax or furniture polish. The easiest way to repair this is to use the exact same technique finishers use to adjust blushing. The first step is to give the surface a comprehensive cleaning to remove all traces of wax or dirt that might be present. Follow that by scuffing the surface with 400-grit sandpaper, then squirt a full wet coat of lacquer in an aerosol can.
White and Black Water Rings
Every time you forget to set a glass of water, teapot or potted plant on a table with a coaster, you risk leaving a white watermark at the finish or, worse, a dark one. Both are caused by water seeping through minute cracks in the finish. When the rings are black, that means the water has penetrated and stained the wood, and correction entails stripping the finish. When the rings are white, then only the finish was affected, and you’ve got a range of options for removing them.
Removing White Rings
One way of removing white rings is to rub them with a mild abrasive like cigarette ash or toothpaste. The abrasive wears the surface sufficient to allow the water to disappear. Another plan is to use an oil like olive oil, mineral oil or mayonnaise. The oil seeps into the small cracks and where the water has collected, and displaces it. A third solution is to heat the rings with a heat gun, thereby raising the temperature of their water and also facilitating evaporation. A fourth choice, and one that requires care, is to rub the rings with denatured alcohol. It relaxes the surface just enough to allow water to escape.