09-04-2010 10:03 AM - last edited on 09-04-2010 10:39 AM by MSWOODcraft
[edit: this question was moved out from behind Marlen's welcome post and then given a unique title.... -Matt-]
Hello, my name is Jim and I have a finishing problem. I live in Southern Calif. the weather is over 100 degrees and I'm refinishing interior wood in a 1972 Mercedes Benz. I had to replace some of the wood as well with an Oak veneer, I stained the wood to match and clear coated with gloss enamel. After about 4 days in the car the wood sucks the clear coat in , leaving small pin holes in the surface. Please give me a better way that will withstand the heat.
09-04-2010 03:19 PM
Can you describe what finishing materials you used. Which stain--brand, etc. And which clear coat?
Enamel applies to a pigmented finish, not a clear coat so I'm a bit confused.
Oak, particularly red oak, has open pores that would need to be filled to achieve a glass smooth, gloss surface. It sounds like your finish is entering the pores, and finish within the pores cures it shrinks, and since the surface has already cured so rapidly in the heat, it has to give, leaving the pin holes not just a dimple. I'm not at all sure why this should take 4 days.
But there are few materials, none that I know, that can be applied in 100° heat. I suspect you are either going to find some conditioned space, or a change of season to get the finish completed. But we may be able to help once we know a bit more about what specific finishing materials you have been using, and perhaps a bit more about how you have been applying them.
09-05-2010 02:44 AM
…to the WOOD Magazine Forums, particularly to the Finishing & Refinishing Forum. I hope you will visit often. You will find a number of accomplished woodworkers and finishers here who stand ready to assist you with your finishing and refinishing questions.
I too am a bit confused by some of your question. You write that you are refinishing the interior wood in your Mercedes and that you replaced some of the wood with oak veneer. I’ll stipulate up front that I am not a car person so please forgive my ignorance; but, oak seems a strange veneer in a Mercedes. But more to the point, I am not sure what you mean when you say you replaced the wood with the veneer. Do you mean that you repaired damaged veneer by replacing it with oak veneer? If so, how did you apply the new veneer? Also, are we talking about a raw veneer (just very thin slices of veneer) or is the veneer you used “backed”, for example with paper? What was the substrate to which the veneer was applied?
Let me also second the request for more information about the stain and finish you are using. In addition to the brand, etc. it will also be helpful to know how these products are being applied (and where). I assume you are not working in the sun and that the car is not being closed-up after the finish is applied. Finally, are we to understand that the pin-holes to which you refer are taking four days to appear?
09-05-2010 10:20 AM
Hello again, Yes the veneer on the center console was damaged. I put a thin veneer 1/64th inch thick, with paper backing, over the center console piece. I applied it with contact cement and stained it with Watco oil based stain. I then coated it with Rust-Oleum clear gloss. I did this in approx. 10 thin coats, giving it 1-2 days to dry between coats and ruffed up surface with 0000 steel wool between coats. When I installed it in the car I didn't check it for 4 days. After the 4 days it had small pinholes in it where it had been sucked into the grain. I did all the finishing in my workshop where the temperature was in the 90's.
09-05-2010 11:33 PM
To finish the stuff that is exposed to the direct sunlight, you need a special material for outdoor use.
A coating for car refinishes is one of the paint material that is proper for this purpose.
But the veneer is also considered not strong enough for withstand the direct sunlight.
09-06-2010 05:10 PM
…but I suspect we may be dealing with something no more complicated that the wrong finish in the wrong application. I still don’t know which Rust-Oleum clear gloss you used and I don’t know if the contact cement was water-borne or solvent based. Water-borne contact cement can lead to problems with the paper backer and either type of contact cement, if applied too heavily can contribute to finishing problems. For future reference, when working with veneer in automotive applications you may want to consider a product called Duraback by Formwood. Duraback veneers work very well when moisture (humidity or direct exposure to the elements) is a factor. We have sold it to customers who were restoring Ford “Woodies” and to radio control model boat builders with excellent results.
For the finish, my suggestion would be to first apply a coat or two of vinyl sealer followed by several coats of pre-catalyzed lacquer. Both are available from Mohawk in aerosol cans. I would also avoid the use of steel wool. No amount of cleaning will remove all of the minute shards of steel left behind. No finish is totally moisture proof. As a result, when moisture moves through the finish with seasonal changes in humidity and comes in contact with the shards of steel you are likely to get a freckled finish. Stick to sanding between coats with a quality open-coat sandpaper.
On other point about the Duraback veneer; it can be pre-finished and then applied. A vacuum press makes the process much easier; but, the advantage is that you can completely control the finish room/curing environment.