Friday, April 1

Tray Tables - Lacquering

I'll spend the entire day today sanding, and shooting lacquer.  It is times like this that I am especially grateful to finally have a finishing room with doors on it.  In the past I did finishing work in the work area of the shop.  That meant having to stop all woodworking, clean the shop thoroughly (including walls and ceiling) than drape sheets over any near-by tools so over-spray would not get on them and gum them up.

Now I just take the pieces to be finished into the finishing room.  The doors are kept closed at all times to keep wood dust from migrating in.  In that clean environment I can spray finish, then go back out to the shop and continue woodworking.  In this case, I am sanding more tables.

It takes about 45 minutes to sand a table.  When done, I vacuum it, tack rag it and take it in for the first coat of lacquer.  While the lacquer is drying, I sand another table.  When all 8 tables and two stands have one coat, I'll go back and shoot all with a second coat.  When those are dry I'll scuff sand to smooth the finish, tack them off again and shoot the third coat.

Once the third coat has hardened up well (overnight) I'll apply a skim-coat of quality polyurethane to just the panel tops of the trays to help protect them from careless living.  Lacquer is a beautiful finish, but it will take on white water marks if sweaty drink glasses or hot plates are left sitting on it.  The polyurethane helps prevent that.

The polyurethane has to cure for at least 8 hours - more if it's cold or damp - before I can begin packaging the table set for shipment.

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