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Discussion Starter #1
I have a TV riser that I am refinishing. Basically it has two sides and a top, like a stool, that the TV itself will go on top of and have clearance underneath for a cable box or in my case a center channel speaker. I purchased this assembled and was not happy at all with the quality.

It was made with oak and painted black (not sure what type of paint, lacquer, etc was used). I have sanded everything down to bare wood, used filler for some cracks, splits, and some bad grain areas. At this point in time I am putting Rustoleum filler/primer on. There are no signs of grain or cracks and it is pretty darn smooth after a nice sanding.

Here is where I have questions and need help.

I am going to use Rusto black enamel on this with Rusto clear enamel on top. I have read many different ways of doing this, but my plan is a coat of black, wetsand, coat of black, wetsand, repeat if needed, coat(s) of clear, wetsand, 3M fine cut cleaner to buff/polish.

First, is the above method going to work out for me okay?

Two, since this is already assembled and cannot be taken apart there is no way I can coat the entire thing at once. When doing the primer I would spray the top and lips of the top, let dry, then flip it over for the outside sides, entire inside, and bottom. Can I use this same method with the enamel or will I run into issues with the overspray on the sides from doing the top initially?

I am reading a light spray initially, wait a few minutes, heavier spray, let dry. Repeat.

Lastly, I am reading that the Rusto enamel takes forever to dry and if you put coats on before the last dried then you are screwed. What is the recommended drying time (I realize this will fluctuate with humidity and temp), but I do not want to strip this thing down and start over.

Plus since I will be putting an lcd tv on this thing I'd really like it to be dry before use just so the next time I pick up the tv there isn't dents in my finish because it was not fully dried/cured.

Any help from you experts would be appreciated - first timer here.
 

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The first plan you have looks fine as long as the between the coats sanding is done with paper no coarser than 220 grit. Then the final wet sand should be with about 2000 grit. Very much coarser and you might rub the clear coat off trying to polish the scratches out. Just be sure to wait a week or so before doing any final sanding and polishing.

The second part you should be able to spray the edges and then one side even using a rattle can. Just spray the edges and then the face. Let dry really good before turning over and doing the other side. The paint may feel dry however the weight of the riser will mark the paint. Especially don't turn it over and set it on anything with overspray on it. It creates blocking where the solvents in the finish still not cured will re-wet the paint and cause them to stick together.

When you say light coats they don't mean lightly mist some paint. The mean don't attempt to put 3 mils of paint on in one coat. You should spray a full wet coat, just don't overdo it. As far as when to recoat, go with the directions on the paint and keep in mind the directions are for decent weather conditions. According to the directions on a can of Rustoleum paint I have you have to topcoat the primer within an hour or wait 48 hours. It's the same for each coat of enamel and topcoat. It has a recoat window. A recoat window is a reference in the directions that say something like apply all the coats of paint with a certain timeframe. What happens is if you let the paint dry for a couple of hours and then recoat it the solvents in the paint will wrinkle up the paint like you put paint and varnish remover on it. On these paints if you exceed the window you have to let the coat of paint cure before putting another coat on to prevent this. The drawback is you have to let the finished paint dry for a couple weeks or so before you can put something on it without the risk of making dents in it. It would actually be best in the long run to wait 2 to 3 days between coats.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Steve. I just took a look at my cans and they also say within 1 hour or wait 48 hours for recoat. I have no problem with waiting although it sure would be nice to just knock this out haha.

I was a little confused about your recommendation for painting though. The picture I posted was upside down of course, but what I had been doing was just spraying the top panel and sides of the top panel only, let it dry, then flip it over (like the picture) and now I could do everything else. With this method there would be a little overspray on the sides before flipping it over. Since it dries to touch in 2-4 hours and you need to recoat within an hour I guess I need to wait the full 2-3 days before flipping it over to do the other side?

This would certainly add quite a bit more time to this project, but I am okay with that. My concern was that little bit of overspray being painted over when not in the recommended time window.

As far sanding I have 600, 1000, 2000, and even 3000 with me. I was going to use the 600 for the first coat then hopefully 1000 on the next ones. 1000 or 2000 on the clear coat then. I read not to sand it totally smooth, but say 50% of the orange peel then coat again. The clear of course would be sanded smooth and buffed.

Sorry for all the questions - just want this to come out really nice and piano-like since everything around it will be high end stuff.
 

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Well the overspray I was refering to was on the saw horse or what ever you set the project on to spray. I normally finish on some steel that is like angle iron. That way it has a minimal edge touching the project. Often when I finish something on both sides after the first coat I will cover the edge of the steel with package sealing tape to prevent it from from touching any paint. It's just a pain to finish something that has to be painted on all sides. A lot of times when I'm finishing cabinet doors I will finish one side of the door and then wait until the next day to spray the other side. Even though the finish may feel dry and you can handle it without putting finger prints on it doesn't mean you can turn it over and lay it on the other side. Finishes retain a certain amount of solvents and if you lay it on the other side where air can't get to it the fumes from the solvents build up and re-wet the paint and it either sticks to the saw horse you laid it on or sometimes just makes a dent in the finish. Many companies have the means of hanging a project from a wire so they can spray both sides at once.

When you sand between coats sand the finish as if it were the finish coat. Anything you leave will be there next time. There is no point leaving any orange peal. If you are getting that much orange peal you may be holding the can too far from the work.

For what you are doing you might save yourself a lot of grief to use a pigmented lacquer. With lacquer there wouldn't be a recoat window and since it isn't used in a wet location should hold up well. It also dries much faster than the enamel you are planning. I don't know the colors you are using but I've seen pigmented lacquer in spray cans at home depot. It could also be ordered through Mohawk Finishing Products however I don't know what the hasmat fees would run. The clear coat would need to be a cab-acrylic lacquer sometimes called butyrate lacquer. A nitrocellulose lacquer would yellow in time.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Sounds good... I just sanded down the primer again with 320 and noticed a few tiny hairlines here and there that still need touched up. I am just going to treat my primer coat as the finial finish and get all the little stuff done now - plus it is easier to see right now with the light gray.

I am still going to go with the enamel since I have it - might take a long, but I am in no rush at all with this. Hopefully it comes out to the mirror finish I am looking for.

Thanks again for your help - really appreciated!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
So far so good. I am happy with how this first top coat when on. It certainly leveled out a bit overnight and I am still going to wait a full 3 days between coats.

Any tips on doing the clear and/or polishing it after sanding? It'll be awhile before I get to that part, but in the meantime my ears are open to anything. Plan was wet sanding the black enamel coats then doing the same for the clear enamel and polishing out.

How many coats of clear is recommended...especially so I don't go through it from sanding and polishing?
 

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Applying the clear is the same process as applying the paint. Just remember all you need to do is smooth any nibs out and slightly scuff the finish so don't overdo it. Since you plan to hand rub it, you might put three coats on. Using an aerosol can to spray something that big is difficult and you probably won't be able to spray it without having some lap marks in the finish. For what you have planned thats alright though. Once the finish is dried good you can even out the finish with the fine sandpaper and compound out. I normally use a 7" auto polisher with a lambswool bonnet to use rubbing compound and I use 3M rubbing compound available at walmart. I just have a cheap harbor freight polisher I think cost about 29 bucks. Using any electric polisher you have to be careful not to take the finish off the corners. The finish can always be rubbed by hand, it just takes a lot less elbow grease using the machine.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Steve, would I still wetsand between the coats of clear or just on the final before buffing out?
 

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Steve, would I still wetsand between the coats of clear or just on the final before buffing out?
I don't think you need to "wetsand" between coats but the paint should be scuffed with sandpaper between coats for better adhesion. The scratches made by the sandpaper give a better surface for the paint to attach to and if you use 400 grit paper it doesn't do well dry so I use 220 grit paper between coats. If you would rather wetsand that is alright too. I just don't care for it myself because I normally plan to immediately spray the finish after sanding and the water is something that needs to be dried off and it always seems a drop will hide somewhere and run out as you are spraying and get in the paint.

The paint you are using is heavy enough to cover the scratches from even 220 grit paper. Some automotive paints are so thin if you sanded with 220 grit paper you could see every scratch in the finish so a car should be sanded with a paper no coarser than 400 grit between coats. The thickness of the coating is the main reason for wetsanding between coats.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Alright, last question (probably ;))... I am at the final sanding stage BEFORE I start putting coats of clear on. I have sanded the gloss black enamel coats and there are some very small 'specks' here and there that are still shiny (tiny spots that were not level before apparently).

Since I am putting clear on anyways, do I need to still sand these shiny specks out or is that something I don't need to worry about?
 

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The shiny specks are just indentations passed over when you sanded it. It's hard to say whether they would show in the final finish without seeing it but most of the time you can still continue to level the finish with the clear as you are applying it and even if some remain chances are they wouldn't show anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
It's been awhile (been really busy lately), but I am coming closer to the end :thumbsup:

Tonight I sanded the outside clear coat... 1k mostly then some 2k... I still wasn't happy with the finish at this point as the sand lines were very visible even thought it was super smooth. I remembered I had a 3k pad and tried it... huge difference.

Here is a picture of the top after using the 3k. Lines still visible, but surely nothing polish will not take out... I hope!

I still have the underside to finish sanding, but wanted to ask if most of you use wax at all? I was going to use a fine cut cleaner on this, but since it is so nice as is after 3k I was thinking just a polish and/or swirl remover. Would wax be appropriate on top of that then? I'm just thinking of how I would detail my car at to be honest.

Anyways, for my first project I am happy so far. At some point I will probably do another one of these for another room and will certainly do everything myself (having this one assembled and finished wrong to begin with made a huge pain in the butt to get to this point).
 

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I wouldn't consider putting any wax on the finish at this point. A wax is intended to moisturize and soften a finish to keep if from getting too dry and crack. It's not needed on a new finish. After a month drying time you could use the swirl remover and a clearcoat safe polish. Just be sure you have the finish like you like it before using any polish because if you choose to put another coat on then you have to thoroughly clean the polish off. You just have to let the finish cure longer for enamels than automotive finishes. Wood finishes are softer so they can be elastic enough to expand and contract with wood movement where automotive finishes are formulated for steel. If you start doing a lot of rubbing on a enamel there is the potential that it might gum up on you making a place that has to be repainted to fix.
 

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Rick Mosher
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Here is a picture of a black gloss dining table that I just did this past week.



For my final sanding I wet sanded starting with 1500 on a random orbital sander and then 3000. I removed the sanding scratches using an orbital polisher with a lambs wool bonnet and 3M Perfect It compound #1 . Then I switched to a Random Orbital Polisher with Micro Fiber pads and used the Correction compound followed by the finishing wax. This gets the halos out from using an orbital polisher. My final 2 steps were a 3M final glaze using the orbital polisher with a foam pad and low speed and then a wipe down using Meguiars Final Inspection with a new micro fiber wiping cloth.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Rick,

That is the look I am going for. I will take a look into the products you mentioned.

Thanks and it looks amazing!
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
It has been about a week since final sanding. At the moment I can still make a 'scratch/mark' with my fingernail.

Is this normal? I am getting a little worried that the horror stories of coats underneath not drying has happened even though I waited adequate (or thought I did - 3 days) time on the coats.

I have been keeping the piece inside since the last sanding... should I be putting this out in the sun or something?

EDIT : I should add that during the wetsanding process there was zero black coming off - just the clear.
 

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It has been about a week since final sanding. At the moment I can still make a 'scratch/mark' with my fingernail.

Is this normal? I am getting a little worried that the horror stories of coats underneath not drying has happened even though I waited adequate (or thought I did - 3 days) time on the coats.

I have been keeping the piece inside since the last sanding... should I be putting this out in the sun or something?

EDIT : I should add that during the wetsanding process there was zero black coming off - just the clear.
What ever you do don't put the project in the sun. If the finish is not dry underneath it will build up vapors and make large bubbles in the finish and the next step would be paint stripper. If the finish is not dry underneath it will eventually harden, so just be patient. You might give it another week before doing any thing else to it since the finish seems soft. Sometimes it helps to put a fan on a finish for ventilation but after three days I don't believe that would help. Any undried solvents would be under the surface.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
well... few more days has passed. I used your suggestion on the fan although not directly on it, but rather underneath a ceiling fan - plenty of circulation and air hitting it. Haven't really noticed a difference yet. Is it possible that I can scratch this with my fingernail only because of the fine sanding lines of the 3k I wetsanded with?

I'll let it sit here another week or two, but I would think the fingernail test should be working by now.
 

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well... few more days has passed. I used your suggestion on the fan although not directly on it, but rather underneath a ceiling fan - plenty of circulation and air hitting it. Haven't really noticed a difference yet. Is it possible that I can scratch this with my fingernail only because of the fine sanding lines of the 3k I wetsanded with?

I'll let it sit here another week or two, but I would think the fingernail test should be working by now.
It's sure a mystery why it isn't drying. I'm working with Rustoleum enamel this week and it dries hard enough overnight I can sand it with an electric sander and it doesn't gum up on the sandpaper. The only thing I can suggest is to let it cure longer.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
When I wetsanded it didn't come up at all... basically just turned the water white (for the clear) and black for the black. I'll let it sit here for awhile longer though to see what happens. Time I have although it would be nice to start using this at some point haha.
 
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