Fixing Dust Specks in Finish

Here are a few touch-up suggestions for occasional dust blemishes in a finish coat. December 31, 2013

Question (WOODWEB Member) :
I'm sure most of you have had small specs of that piece of dust that fell on the finish when drying. I have an espresso brown vanity that I'm spraying and a few of the doors have this issue. What's the best way to deal with them?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor F:
No special thing, just sand it out and re-shoot it.

From Contributor G:
Mohawk magic marker of the right color should hide it well.

From contributor F:
While Contributor G's solution might look alright from across a room, the surface will not be smooth. What Contributor G is suggesting is actually more work.

From contributor X:
Keep in mind that if you sand and spray a door with an extra coat it may look different than the rest of the doors. Sometimes leaving it go and placing it in a strategic location is better than trying to fix it and end up creating a lot of extra work for yourself. One little speck on a base cabinet door is not worth the trouble it could cause if the fix doesn't work. If the blemish is on one end or the other just hinge the door so it is closer to the ground and nobody will ever notice it.

From Contributor G:
I have used them to make invisible and nearly invisible repairs. Just because a dust speck is on the surface doesn't mean it will feel rough, especially one or two specks. Putting on another coat isn't always the easiest thing. If you already have your dry coat film max another coat will be trouble.

From contributor F:
Depending on the finish used and the time it had been curing you may be able to shave the speck out with a razor blade (not for the faint of heart or unsteady of hand). I have seen tools for this like a mini plane available in auto refinishing stores. It also works well for runs or drips. Then give it a light scuff and spot touch up with the same lacquer. This will produce an over spray halo but it can be melted in by spraying a coat of thinner/retarder mix over the area.

Some companies sell retarder in a spray can that works well for this, I think Mohawk's is called Blush Eraser. Keep in mind that this method works best on Nitro lacquers and Pre-Cats that either don't cross link very hard or have not been drying very long. The finish has to tolerate being re-melted into wet state without wrinkling in order to pull off this type of spot repair. It will not work on conversion varnish, water based finishes or any strong cross linking pre-cats such as Magnamax if they are fully cured.

From contributor M:
I would have to say the best way to deal with them is to try and eliminate them as much as possible and to do that you have to figure out exactly what they are. Is it dust falling into the finish when drying or is it something in the finish that needs to be filtered out?

I use a drying rack when spraying doors which keeps dust from falling into the wet finish. It works surprisingly well even in dusty small shop environments. To find out if there is something in the finish just pour a little finish on a sheet of glass and see if there are any pieces of grit floating in there are if you see them after it dries. Proper stirring, agitation and filtering will usually take care of it.