Alternative Touchup Graining Liquids

Several different types of product can be used to dissolve pigment powders for graining or touch-up purposes. November 12, 2006

My Mohawk dealer is out of graining liquid and won't have any for 2 weeks! I like it only because I can reactivate my dried Blendal powders, remix and change colors. Since I am constantly adjusting colors, what else can I use? Typically, the wood is all stained one color, but of course there are many shades in a very small area. So it's nice to have something I can reactivate and change just a little. As long as I'm asking, maybe there is also something out there that does not color shift?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor D:
I prefer to use Zinsser's Seal Coat, which is a 1 or 2-lb. cut of pale dewaxed shellac, as my Blendal medium. I keep a bottle of denatured alcohol to keep the stuff wet. The advantages are that it stays wet longer on the brush than lacquer does, and it has only a small alcohol smell versus the strong smell of other coloring liquids.

If I want to pad with it instead of using Rapid Pad or Lacover, then it can be tough/streaky unless I add a little paint thinner (odorless mineral spirits is what I prefer to use) to it to give it some slip. For that reason, I love Lacover #30, except that the smell of Lacover (and Rapid Pad or Qualosole and all padding lacquers) is so very strong.

If you want to mix your own lacquer based graining liquid, add a quantity of MAK (methyl amyl ketone) to your lacquer. MAK is a strong solvent with a long evaporation rate. Using it will quickly thin out your lacquer as well as retard its dry time so that you can manipulate your work with the artist's brush.

The Konig alternative is their Color Touch Ups. These are nail polish-like colors that come in nail polish-like bottles. They are great. I just read about using oil pastels to do color touchups. They must be topcoated to lock in the color. I haven't tried this method yet, but it looks promising as a great technique. Also on the list of replacing color is the use of colored pencils (PrismaColor). These must also be locked in with a sprits of aerosol lacquer or shellac to lock the coloring into place.

There are many ways to go, all good. I didn't even mention the use of the wipe on water-base polyurethane Finish Up as a medium. It works best with dyes, because the Blendals tend to clump and I have trouble getting the pigment particles to "wet out".

From contributor M:
You forgot to mention that when using the shellac as the touch up medium, you can control and adjust the sheen to match the finish by mixing the right amounts of shellac and alcohol. When using the FinishUp, you should apply the Blendal powder with your forefinger to the damage, and then light wipe over the powder, as you would do with frenching in or finger padding. You can also add the colored powders directly on the FinishUp pad for adding color and coating to rubbed off edges.

From contributor T:
I have used just regular lacquer that I spray out of the gun for the touch medium, but you do have to be careful. It still takes it the usual cure time and can be a pain if you don't clean it up all the way.

From contributor M:
It's basically an acrylic lacquer and the proper reducer. It's finding the right combination that makes this product work.

From the original questioner:
Thanks for once more helping with great advice! Made the graining liquid and purchased the colored pencils.