Step Hand Rubbing

Let's talk about hand-rubbed finishes for a minute. When the last coat of glossy varnish dries, you have a truly shiny surface, but it is not only glossy. It glistens with newness. It is that glisten that most furniture finishers want to remove during the final hand rubbing. They want a gloss that is warm and has depth but isn't shiny.

One reason that satin finishes are popular is that this glistening newness isn't as apparent on satin as it is on gloss. But there is some there, and hand rubbing of satin surfaces also improves the final look.

Materials Don't begin the final hand rubbing until you have applied all coats of varnish to all sides of the piece, and you have capped the varnish can and cleaned your brushes. Allow the new finish to dry thoroughly — at least 24 hours and preferably longer. Then get a box of pumice, a box of rottensione, and a can of very fine oil. We like the kind they sell to lubricate bicycles. Also, buy some felt at your friendly neighborhood fabric shop and make a pad of it about 4x4 inches square and about '/o inch thick.

Pumice and Oil Sprinkle some oil on the varnished surface and spread it around with the pad until the surfacc is coated. Put some pumice into a big salt shaker and shake it on the oiled surface. Use the felt pad to rub with the wood grain. Don't press hard (pumice, remember, is an abrasive). Work back and forth across the sur face until the surfacc is as smooth as satin. If this is your first oil rubdown. you probably should stop and wipe the surface clean after a few minutes, just to see what the pumice is doing to the surface. Then sprinkle some more oil and continue the work. The object of this work is to make the surface smooth and to knock off that new-looking shine. Much of the gloss will remain.

If you want, slop the finishing after the pumice-and-oil treatment. Wipe off all oil with soft clean cloths and apply two coats of fine paste wax. Wipe the wax on, then buff it with the buffer in your electric drill.

Rottenstone and Oil If you are after the perfect finish and desire a rich deep gloss, follow the pumice-and-oil treatment with one of rottenstone and oil. Rottenstone is such a fine abrasive that it actually polishes the surface. Use the same oil and felt pad technique as with pumice, but make a brand new pad.

When have you nibbed enough with pumice or with rottenstone? If you have experience with the process, you just know when to stop. If you don't have experience, you have to learn by rubbing a little, then wiping the surface clean and feeling it with your fingers. With pumice, stop when the entire surface feels satin smooth. With rottenstone, stop when you see a warm and even gloss.

When applying a spray lacquer, move the can As you spray, keep the spray nozzle al the same distance from the surface and work in a straight continuously. Overlap the rows by one third. line. Otherwise you will have an uneven application that may run or blister

HOW TO APPLY One reason that A LACQUER many refinishers FINISH prefer not to use lacquer finishes is that they can be difficult to apply. Another is that you may have to make some special preparations.

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