Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Interior varnish tip

If you have varnished surfaces in your interior, you have probably found that where they are commonly touched the surface has become gummy.  I presume that this is due to skin oils penetrating the surface of the varnish.

I have tried to wipe this gummy surface off with paint thinner before recoating with varnish, but it was ineffective.  Acetone was too effective, softening everything.  And just recoating without removing the gumminess doesn't work either - the gummy surface prevents the new varnish from curing.

So what to do?

And then when wiping down the table after dinner one day, I made a serendipitous discovery.

The ubiquitous scratchy sponge
The fiddles on our saloon table are one of these commonly touched surfaces, and had indeed become gummy to the touch.  As I wiped down the table that nite, I had a brief moment of inspiration (a cosmic ray passed thru my brain?), and I turned the sponge over and vigorously rubbed the soft varnish with the scratchy side of the sponge.  Amazingly, the gumminess was gone!  In some places the gummy layer was deep enough that several round trips of damp sponge side followed by wet sanding with the scratchy side followed by damp sponge were required.  But nowhere did I penetrate the varnish layer.  Even if I had, as a typical zero-cost experiment, that would only have prepped the surface for recoating.



Tyler said...

So easy I'll bet that you wished you though of it sooner!

Robert Salnick said...

Tyler -

Indeed. But isn't that the way it always goes? :)


Anonymous said...

Thanks Bob. Would have never thought of that.


Robert Salnick said...

Rick -

But for a stray cosmic ray, I wouldn't have either...


Deb said...

Use a little Murphy's Oil Soap on your sponge the next time. Murphy's Oil Soap is a godsend on all things wood.

S/V Kintala

Robert Salnick said...

Deb -

Thanks - I'll give that a try


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