Brittle Finishes

To test for brittlencss in a finish, draw the bottom of a spoon bowl across the surface. Press the bowl down fairly hard as you do. If the finish is adhering properly, you will see a mark left by the spoon, but the finish will stay in place. If the finish has become brittle, the pressure of the spoon bowl will cause the finish to flake and break away from the surface.

When you observe flaking, you know that the finish will have problems in the near future. Normal everyday wear will

To determine the brittleness of a finish, press hard on the bowl of a spoon as you draw it across the surface If the finish is brittle it will crack and flake along the line you draw

soon cause a similar flaking and you will be faced with refinishing then. The best choice is to remove the old finish now and apply a new one before the trouble starts. Sometimes only partial areas on the piece will be subject to this flaking, while the remainder is still sound. This could be caused by a tabletop being exposed to the sun for a long period, or the side of a dresser spending some years next to a heater.

How Much to Remove Ascertain just how far the brittleness extends, and remove only the dried finish on that part. Perhaps you will have to re finish the top of a table, but won't have to touch the aprons and legs. Or in the case of a dresser or chest, you may need to refinish only one side.

However, to keep the repair from being too obvious, always refinish a whole side or top. even if the brittleness occurs only on a part of it. While the newly finished section may be slightly different in color than the rest of the piece, a visitor won't usually see it. If you refinish only a part of the top or side, the difference in color maybe very obvious.

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