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Old 07-28-2012, 12:12 PM   #1
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I used the wrong lacquer - now what can I do?


Hi,

I'm a newbie to this site. To make things easier, I highlighted the main questions I have in bold, all the rest is just background information.

I'm retired in Thailand. I recently had a bed constructed of metal shelving materials, and a plywood top for a latex mattress. The metal part isn't beautiful - it's functional, allowing for storage underneath. The problem is the plywood.

The plywood was low quality, smelled badly of insecticide, and had a rough surface, that would damage the rather fragile mattresses cover. I decided to sand and seal it, hopefully making it smoother, while sealing in any insecticide.

I guess I forgot any lessons learned from watching the New Yankee Workshop, or This Old House. I've been living in Thailand for the last 9 years.

I wanted what Norm Abrams always recommended. But my memory failed me. I wanted to use something that wouldn't smell much. I thought I remembered Polyurethane as being gentle. Was I ever wrong! Double checking using a search engine - in retrospect, I think the finish of choice was an acrylic. So, I think I'm looking for something water-based, rather than solvent-based.

After the first coat the grain was raised considerably - rougher than the plywood before sanding - making a re-sanding and 2nd or 3rd coat necessary. The polyurethane is supposed to be glossy when finished. After the first coat it isn't even close.

I don't think there's a way for me to avoid re-sanding, but could I use something (like an acrylic) over the polyurethane?

If repeated coats would also make it smooth (without re-sanding) then I'm all for it. Please inform me if this might be possible.

So, what I'm looking for is something that, 1. Doesn't smell much. 2. that won't have any problems adhering to the first (still rough) coat of polyurethane, 3. that will seal in the smell from both the insecticide treated wood and the polyurethane.and 4. will leave a smooth finish.

If I got it wrong, and the product I'm looking for isn't acrylic, please let me know.

Otherwise I think it will take another 2 coats of polyurethane to make for a smooth finish - but am wondering using that option, how long before the polyurethane will stop smelling? After all, I'm sleeping right next to the thing. I have a headache now, and I'm pretty sure it's because I used the polyurethane today

If this stuff is going to be gassing off forever, I'd sooner sand it all off, or get some new plywood.

It would probably be best not to recommend things by brand name as most brands in the US & Europe are different here. I'll be lucky to find the proper lacquer because of language difficulties.

Thank you - in advance - for your expertise in this matter. I'm tired of making mistakes regarding this, and don't want to make any more. So your guidance is definitely appreciated!

Thanks!

Treader

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Old 07-28-2012, 02:45 PM   #2
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I used the wrong lacquer - now what can I do?


Quote:
Originally Posted by treader View Post

get some new plywood.
I wish all the questions were this easy.

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Old 07-28-2012, 08:08 PM   #3
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I used the wrong lacquer - now what can I do?


I'm confused. Which product have you used? Water based or solvent based?
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Old 07-29-2012, 01:34 AM   #4
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I used the wrong lacquer - now what can I do?


a shellac would have effectively sealed out the odor. . . but the shellac itself is acohol based and smells bad. . . dries fast, but smells bad. if i were you i would buy new plywood. I have used oil poly on all of my cabinetry and furniture. ... it lays down amazing and is durable. . . but it gasses off until completely cured (4weeks) . ... is there a reason you had to use a clear? why cant you just shellac it and paint it? my advice is buy new wood so you arent sleeping in out-gasses for the next couple weeks
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Old 07-29-2012, 08:24 AM   #5
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I used the wrong lacquer - now what can I do?


Hi,

Thanks for the replies. Anything to seal the wood and make it smooth would be acceptable. I just don't want to be breathing in caustic fumes from pesticides or solvents while I'm sleeping

Buying new wood is the most difficult, and costly of all the options. Plus, I still have to put some kind of finish on the new wood. I have some plastic tarp material that I'm going to wrap it in and tape it closed. That should cut down on most of the smell. The plastic is at best a semipermeable membrane. It won't shut in all the gasses, but should let them escape at a rate that doesn't bother me. My room is well ventilated with screens. A guy that runs a small hardware store here suggested Arcylic water sealant. He said it doesn't smell much, would dry in a short time, and keep in the smell of the insecticide and polyurethane. But living here 9 years I don't just take anything anyone says as fact without checking it out. All the instructions were written in Thai, so I couldn't figure that one out.

One way or another, I have to put it together tonight. I just moved into this house, and have a worker coming to put a grounded outlet in my bedroom. I don't want the bed to be in his way, so I gotta do it. Hard to explain. The bed and frame separately hog up all the room, so I have to put them together to have room to put my computer desk by the grounded outlet. BTW - It's very rare to see a grounded outlet in Thailand. I've heard Thai electricians say they're unsafe! Never once in 9 years have I seen a GFI!

It's hard to find good workers here, and I lack the energy - I'm only good for an hour or two of work. The people that made the bed should have chosen better plywood. Then they cut it too large, and that took a day searching for someone to cut it. At some point in the future I hope to find someone who will go through the hassle of sanding and painting, or varnishing, or whatever. What it looks like is unimportant. Smoothing the wood is. The cover that goes around my latex mattress is really super fragile - about half the strength of a cheap t-shirt. Any rough wood will rip it.

Thanks again,

Treader
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Old 07-29-2012, 08:30 PM   #6
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I used the wrong lacquer - now what can I do?


you cant put a price on health. ..

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