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mopowers 03-14-2011 02:08 PM

Furniture Refinishing Issue?
I recently bought a pre finished pine bedroom set (night stands, bed frame, dresser, etc.)

Here is a picture of the dresser:

I was thinking of putting another coat of satin polyurethane on the top surfaces of the dresser and night stands because the current finish seems really easy to scratch with your finger nail. Do I need to be concerned with compatibility with the current finish and a new coat or two of satin poly? Or can I just scuff the top surfaces and brush on a couple coats?

I'm not sure what the current finish is. Is there an easy way to tell?

jsheridan 03-14-2011 02:22 PM

The place you bought it from should be able to answer that question, if not they can find out. That's the best way if possible, and save you a lot guess work and effort.

mopowers 03-16-2011 09:13 AM

Thanks for the input. I found out the manufacturer and have sent them an email. For some reason their phones are not working...

jsheridan 03-16-2011 09:35 AM

That's good Mo. I say why do all the work involved when a phone call might give the answer. Work smarter, not harder.

bobtheblindguy 03-16-2011 10:12 AM

Another solution is to have a sheet of glass cut to the size of the top surface and lay that on top for protection. I did that for 2 bedroom dressers and it protected them for 20 years.

StevenH 03-16-2011 10:50 AM

Factories commonly use lacquer but it can be also other finishes previoulsy done by someone else.

Begin by applying with a small cotton ball with alcohol. If the finish is shellac (or “spirit varnish”) in short order the alcohol will begin to dissolve the finish and it will becomes noticeably soft and a bit sticky to the touch. If nothing happens, move to step two.

Apply with a small cotton ball with lacquer thinner to another area. If this causes the finish to soften then it may be lacquer. The next question is; how old is the piece? If it is over ten to fifteen year old (and has not been refinished recently) it is most certainly lacquer. However, if the piece was made (or refinished) within the last fifteen years it may also be a water-borne finish—lacquer thinner will also soften water-borne finishes. To test for water-borne proceed to step three.

Finally, apply with cotton ball with xylene in another area. If the xylene softens the finish it is most definitely a water-borne finish.

mopowers 03-16-2011 10:51 AM

Thanks guys. I will think about the glass idea. I'm not sure about doing that on the night stands though.

I just received a response from the manufacturer. Here is what they said:

The stain we use is supplied by Sherwin Williams and is a lacquered stain. Unfortunately we do not have a color listing from them, but if you would take a small drawer into the store they could mix a stain to match."

Is there something I can use that is compatible with the lacquered stain to build up the finish so it won't scratch as easily? Thanks for the help fellas!

StevenH 03-16-2011 10:56 AM

Since its a lacquer stain, apply 1 coat of bulls-eye shellac seal coat, lightly sand with 320, then poly.

mopowers 03-16-2011 10:59 AM

So should I do the tests even though they said it was a lacquer?

StevenH 03-16-2011 01:13 PM


Originally Posted by mopowers (Post 610594)
So should I do the tests even though they said it was a lacquer?

We know now what they put on the furnitures, there is no need to.

mopowers 03-16-2011 01:48 PM

Thanks for the help!

A couple follow up questions though- Will the bullseye sealcoat change the color of the furniture? (Since I only plan on doing the top surfaces)

This is the stuff right?

Should I scuff the current finish with some sandpaper first so the sealer takes?

Would this route be better and more scratch resistant than just using a satin lacquer over the existing finish such as this?

Thanks for all the help!! I'm a gear head/hotrodder, not a painter! I really appreciate the help!

StevenH 03-16-2011 06:15 PM

The most wearing resistant are Oil based polyurethane and water based polyurethane.

Polyurethane is more scratch resistance than lacquer.

HOWEVER they are most hard to repair finishes. Water and Oil polyurethane.
If the scratch is too deep, you will need to strip it.

Lacquer on the other side is easier to repair. But not wearing resistant.

StevenH 03-16-2011 06:19 PM

Seal coat will dry clear, it will not affect the wood color.

housepaintingny 03-16-2011 06:22 PM

If the manufacture said they used Sherwin Williams Lacquer you should just go to Sherwin Williams and buy Sher-Wood CAB-Acrylic Lacquer, clear. An acrylic formula will be clearer than an oil base or shellac. It is not recommended to apply a polyurethane over a lacquer finish.

StevenH 03-16-2011 07:49 PM


Originally Posted by housepaintingny (Post 610909)
It is not recommended to apply a polyurethane over a lacquer finish.

Unless there's a seal coat between. But there is no point of doing, since there wont be a difference in durability.

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