Step Start with an Undercoat

You can find arguments both for and against applying an undercoat as the first coat. Most enamel makers specify the use of an undercoater on bare wood before the first coat of enamel is applied. Many furniture finishers say that if the wood has been prepared properly, the enamel itself, thinned a little, makes an ideal undercoat. However, it has been our experience that you get the best and most consistent results by starting with an undercoater.

Use an undercoater that is compatible with the enamel. Usually, the enamel maker markets an undercoater developed specifically for his product. All under-coaters come in basic white, but we have found it best to have them tinted to a color near that of the final enamel coat. After applying the undercoat, give it plenty of time to dry. Remember that local temperature and humidity conditions can seriously affect drying. If you live in a desert or low-humidity area, the drying time specified on the can will be more than enough.

HOW TO APPLY People sometimes AN ENAMEL think of enamel as FINISH the finish to use when you must cover up problem furniture surfaces, and it can be used for that purpose. However, enamels have been used on fine furniture for many years, and they produce fine finishes in their own right. An enamel really is a pigmented varnish, with the pigment supplying the color. The material acts like varnish, leveling itself after brushing and drying to a hard, glossy finish.

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