Fixing Uneven Toner Coverage

Strip to wood and start over, say the experts — with a few tips on achieving even coverage this time. March 9, 2006

I am using a toner consisting of 14 parts thinner, 2 parts pre-cat lacquer and 1 part pigmented wiping stain. I am spraying it over a vinyl sealer. To try to compensate for not being able to get the toner in the corners, I ended up spraying too much in some places.

Can this be repaired, or should I just live with it? Can the toner be removed in a small area and then recoated to match the rest of the area or would I have to remove all of the toner and start over? Should toner be removed with thinner or is it better to sand it off? Can I remove toner without affecting the sealer? Any help would be appreciated.

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From Paul Snyder, forum technical advisor:
You can strip and start over from the beginning or you can live with what you have. It's impossible to selectively remove toner evenly.

From contributor B:
It sounds like you need to wash with lacquer thinner and start over. As far as getting into the corners, try cutting your pressure and fan size. Shoot your corners first then feather in the other parts. Sometimes I'll hold a piece of cardboard to protect one side and then do the other. You can also try spraying at right angles; this is the technique I use most of the time. Spray up to the corner and stop and spray the other way and stop at the corner. With practice you will develope your own technique.

From contributor M:
You may want to try using an 'airbrush' to feather in the corners. You could try turning the nozzle horizontal to get the color into the corners. The most important trick is to "build the toners’ color up in layers" by mixing your color up lighter, and then uniforming the color with more passes.

From the original questioner:
I used lacquer thinner to remove the toner. Do I need to reapply the vinyl sealer, or can I start with the toner?

From contributor B:
It depends on whether it’s smooth or lumpy from the lacquer thinner. If you did a neat job and only removed the toner, great. But that’s hard to do. It’s been my experience that cleaning all the way and starting over is the best way to go in the long run.

From contributor J:
What you should do is spray the stain on thinned a little and then when you get to the toner you don't have so much color being put on top. To take care of the corners being white from turbulence you can either brush in some stain or glaze in to blend the color.

From Paul Snyder, forum technical advisor:
If the lacquer thinner removed the lacquer with color in it (toner), then it removed the vinyl sealer as well. Spraying toner over an unsealed surface can/will cause it to be absorbed unevenly by the wood and the color will not be uniform. You do need to seal the wood and smooth the sealer before spraying the toner. With the right settings on the spray gun and good triggering/spraying technique you can color the corners without adding any extra steps.