It’s that time of week again when another Newsletter arrives in your inbox. I hope you enjoy this week’s offering and have been having a good week, we’ve been mad busy as always, but we’re not complaining!
Let’s answer some questions…

Re-finishing tables is a common subject of questions for us, and we’ve had a few recently so I’ll cover a few of them here.
The most popular of course is which of our finishes are suitable for tables?
That’s a tough one to answer, as it really depends on the type of table, how big it is and how much use and abuse it’s going to suffer.
Any of our lacquers will be suitable, subject to the application restrictions (I’ll come to those later) or our Hard Wax Oil.
But it’s important to say that whilst these products are tough they are not indestructible and frequent spillages of water and/or hot items being placed on them will cause damage. There are coatings available that will do this, but as their name often suggests you might just as well put a sheet of plastic over the top of the timber, which can spoil the effect somewhat.

What determines the choice of finish? There are a couple of factors here, the finish required (gloss or satin) but more importantly the size of the table. For an occasional or small table an aerosol can be used which great effect, and this opens up the opportunity to use the Acrylic Satin Lacquer if a lower sheen finish is required. But there’s a limit to how big a surface you can spray; ideally each coat should go from side to side of the surface, and keeping a steady flow from an aerosol can be difficult. At this point it’s better to switch to a brushing finish.
Choices here are either the Acrylic Lacquer or the Melamine Lacquer, each with their compatible sealer, or Hard Wax Oil.

And the best way of getting a good finish with them? If the correct equipment is available then spraying either of the lacquers is an ideal solution, but if that’s not an option then they can be brushed. Each of them have their own peculiarities; the Acrylic Lacquer is slower drying and this means it’s easier to brush over a large area as the material isn’t drying as you apply it, which could make the brush drag. Acrylics have a tendency to froth up a little though, so some extra care is needed in application; one of the best ways to avoid this is to use one of our Foam Brushes as these pretty much eliminate this frothing and it is, in fact, one of the main reasons we started selling them.
Melamine Lacquer is much quicker drying, which can make it harder to apply by brush; the brush can start to drag as the lacquer dries and brushmarks don’t have time to flow out. If you’re working on a larger area the lacquer benefits from being thinned down (with Cellulose Thinners) up to about 20%. This makes it flow better and brushmarks will flow out much better.
Hard Wax Oil is probably one of the easier options to brush and with a four hour drying time there’s lots of time to apply and for brushmarks to disappear. The instructions say to wipe off any surplus oil after about twenty minutes, but this is only necessary if there’s an obvious excess. With a careful application, not overloading the brush, this won’t be needed. Hard Wax Oil is a high build oil, if you’re having trouble getting a good finish with it, it can be thinned with white spirit.

And which is the best option? It’s very subjective and there’s no real answer to this, in part it comes down to personal preference and the situation. From the point of view of which will last longest there’s very little to choose between them. We made a YouTube video some time ago on exactly this topic. The tables in the video have been back at home for many months now and all of them are looking as good as the day they were refinished.

So that’s enough about tables for this week, and of course the techniques above apply even if you’re working on items other than tables.
I’m off on holiday next week but never fear, the Newsletter will be in your inbox as usual on Friday morning – oh the joys of scheduled emails! As always I hope you have a good week, don’t forget to share whatever you’re making on our Facebook and Instagram channels if you use them.

All the best