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Thread: Easy, good looking finish

  1. #1

    Default Easy, good looking finish

    I'm having a difficult time getting a finish that looks good to me. Specifically the spray can clear finishes. I have tried following the instructions by spraying light coats and observing the recoat times, but I get the orange peel, dimpled look every time. I have tried Rustoleum clear, as well as the Krylon. My shop is heated and so temp is not an issue.

    The only one that seemed to flow well and get a nice smooth attractive finish with no orange peel look was Watco spray lacquer that, ironically, is made by Rustoleum.

    For this reason I have stuck with wipe on poly till now for my carvings, but as you know, that takes several days to get the number of coats needed. I have great results brushing polycyclic or shellac, but anything carved makes it difficult to brush on.

    I worked in a cabinet shop for 12 years and the pre cat lacquers are amazing, but I suspect I may not be able to buy those though I do have spray equipment.

    I know many on here use the spray finishes, so I'm hoping others have helpful tips on these finishes.

    Thanks in advance!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Tega Cay, SC


    Try Sherwin-Williams. They have some new water based lacquers that have low VOC's and give the same results of solvent based ones.

  3. #3


    I will have to check into that, thanks!

  4. #4


    An update:

    Yesterday after posting, I tried several samples with different techniques. The one that seemed to work better for me was to literally "mist" the first 2 coats, regardless of if it covered fully. This seemed to prevent the orange peel look.

    I believe the wood was absorbing the finish differently depending on the density of the grain. The misting seems to seal it and then, a full but still light coat stays on top rather than penetrating differently causing my issues. I'm hoping this is the issue, but I am pleased with my test piece using this approach.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2008


    Sometimes with solvent based coatings you can get micro blisters, they appear similar to orange peel, or can leave the surface like sandpaper or sometimes people mistakenly assume it's dust contamination even, it just depend on how severe it is. It can manifest in many different ways.

    Your previous coat may appear cured because it skinned over, but the underlying coating was not fully off gassed yet.
    When the next coat is applied to soon the solvent from the first coat can cause the second coat to micro blister.

    That might explain why your light coat gave you better results.
    It's hard to tell without seeing it, and it can be hard tell even with seeing it, but just something to consider.

    Glad you got the finish you were looking for.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Beardstown, IL


    May sound funny, but started putting Tung oil on with a rag. Clean no runs. Then apply poly with the same.
    thanks so much!

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