Re-Coating Painted Furniture

Advice on applying a compatible, high-quality re-coat to painted furniture. January 14, 2008

A customer asked if I could repaint her table pedestal and Windsor chairs. It's a color change issue. It's a factory Ethan Allen paint finish. What products and prep would you recommend? I plan on spraying with gravity fed HVLP gun.

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor D:
Wash with tsp and water solution. Wipe dry. Do your touch ups: fix scratches and gouges, sand away any degraded finish (peelings and chippings). If there's a lot of degraded finish, then the entire piece should be stripped. If it's just a couple of areas, then and the areas smooth and flush. On the table top, scuff the entire surface with 320. Use a colored lacquer. Topcoat with a clear lacquer in the sheen of your choice. If your color coat is something that you don't want to yellow, then your topcoat should be a CAB (cellulose acetate butyrate) lacquer. If the table top is off-the-gun, then you have your work cut out for you, so that you don't have trash or debris in your finish.

From contributor R:
I pretty much agree with what contributor D posted, but I'm not so sure a regular cab acrylic lacquer is the utmost of coatings for a table base. As a matter of fact, most lacquers today offer little protection against anything. Even though you're referring to a table base as opposed to a table top, I think for the longevity of a finish, I would opt for a conversion varnish any day over a cab acrylic lacquer.

From contributor D:
Regarding protective and durable coatings, I agree. However, since it's Ethan Allen and it has what I assume is the original finish, then my suggestion is based solely on compatibility. Ethan Allen uses lacquer finishes, as do most furniture companies (not including some dinette groups from different manufacturers). Putting a conversion varnish on an existing lacquer does not necessarily yield you a more durable finish, especially since it would have a lacquer undercoating. Whether it's Ethan Allen, Henkl-Harris, Kittinger, Thomasville or something promotional like Steve Silver, Millenia Furniture, Thomas Hahn, and on and on, they all still use lacquer. And I use Mohawk, Masters Magic, Touch Up Solutions and/or Konig to touch them up. Back to my point, compatibility is what I was suggesting, staying within the existing finish system, as long as the original finish is not degraded or oxidized.