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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The local experts advised me to clean antiques with ammonia prior to stripping and suggested that this would prevent fish eye issues associated with silicone in the wood pores if it is present. I had never come across this idea in any of the searching that I have done.

Feedback is always appreciated. Thanks.

Gary
 

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I have not heard of that. Ammonia is a fairly aggressive chemical. It is a solvent for shellac so I would not use it on an old piece that may have a shellac finish.

Cleaning up silicone is a multi-step process. I've never tried what is suggested so I can't say whether it's a good idea or not.
 

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Ammonia might get some of if off but I think you would be better off using a wax and grease remover such as Dupont Prepsol Solvent. Some folks also use naphtha but I think the prepsol solvent has more ingredients in it. The silicone problem is just part of being a refinisher. All you can do is clean the furniture off but some pieces have had so much put on it that it goes through the finish into the wood. Just get some Smoothie and when you start to apply the finish put some smoothie in the finish and it will eliminate the fisheye. Now the smoothie itself is silicone so any sandpaper you use or paint brush you should mark them as silicone contaminated and not use them on clean pieces. Some refinishers automatically put smoothie in all of their finish but I only use it when it's needed. I've always been skidish of the long term effects of adding the silicone to the finish even though that is what its made for.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
I have not heard of that. Ammonia is a fairly aggressive chemical. It is a solvent for shellac so I would not use it on an old piece that may have a shellac finish.

Cleaning up silicone is a multi-step process. I've never tried what is suggested so I can't say whether it's a good idea or not.
Howie the guy who told me about this said that in fact he almost uses the ammonia as a stripper for shellac. Anyway he swears by his approach and has been doing it that way for a long time.

Thanks for the comment.

Gary
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ammonia might get some of if off but I think you would be better off using a wax and grease remover such as Dupont Prepsol Solvent. Some folks also use naphtha but I think the prepsol solvent has more ingredients in it. The silicone problem is just part of being a refinisher. All you can do is clean the furniture off but some pieces have had so much put on it that it goes through the finish into the wood. Just get some Smoothie and when you start to apply the finish put some smoothie in the finish and it will eliminate the fisheye. Now the smoothie itself is silicone so any sandpaper you use or paint brush you should mark them as silicone contaminated and not use them on clean pieces. Some refinishers automatically put smoothie in all of their finish but I only use it when it's needed. I've always been skidish of the long term effects of
adding the silicone to the finish even though that is what its made for.

Steve thanks for the input. The piece that this guy stained and finished for me is the one that I had so much trouble with that was solid birch. I was unable to spray the lacquer based stain and so I took the piece to him. I had sanded the entire dresser very thoroughly and he told me that he still ran into a fish eye problem. I guess it is time for me to add some Smoothie to my chemical arsenal and be ready when silicone and fish eye hit me again.

Gary
 

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I've always been skidish of the long term effects of adding the silicone to the finish even though that is what its made for.
A great way to sell a product. A product that can solve an immediate problem, but creates an ongoing need. IMO, it's best to solve the contamination problem, and not introduce a "fisheye remover" to your finishing area and equipment.






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A great way to sell a product. A product that can solve an immediate problem, but creates an ongoing need. IMO, it's best to solve the contamination problem, and not introduce a "fisheye remover" to your finishing area and equipment.










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What ongoing need? I often finish a piece of furniture right next to other pieces that are new construction with the same sprayer switching back and forth with a formula containing smoothie and one that doesn't. All I have to do is rinse the gun a little between changes and don't cross contaminate with the sandpaper I'm using. Some antique furniture has been used for decades with a lot of the finish flaked off and is so highly concentrated with silicone it is impossible to refinish without using a fisheye control solvent. It gets deeply embedded into the wood and can't be just cleaned off.
 
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