Touching Up Table Edges

When the color wears off a table edge, specialty markers are available to fix the problem. April 2, 2013

We have a retail account that has veneer tables. The edges lose color and we touch them up every couple of months. We have a problem with color rubbing off and getting on customer's clothes. We use a catalyzed lacquer with UTC added. It looks great and when we are done we go over all edges with rags and rub off excessive color. Any ideas?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor R:
2K urethane instead of lacquer. Wiped with rag and color and then wipe on a clear coat to seal the color.

From the original questioner:
We have to do this every couple of months. They do edged only and the product must be compatible.

From contributor C:
Can you route a slight round over edge and then use a dye stain followed by a clear coat? The dye stain will dye the raw wood and would eliminate the issue of the color rubbing off. My uneducated guess is that you might be using too much UTC in the mix and it degrades the durability of the topcoat.

From contributor R:
2k urethane will adhere fine to catalyzed lacquer.

From contributor I:
Is that 2k solvent or waterborne? Or does it matter?

From contributor L:
Mohawk Blendal sticks and their non-halo lacquers should do the trick. I don't understand how your solution rubs off on people's clothing.

From contributor D:
It rubs off because, most likely, there is too much colorant.

The quickest method of doing this kind of touch up is to use the touch up colors from Konig. The formulation of pigmented lacquer is almost like that of nail polish.

If color is rubbing off and creating a problem with people's clothes, that means the coating is corrupted. A cured coating - even if it rubs off - ought to behave like a plastic and not a gummy, messy residue.

Another coloring method you can use which avoids you having to rely on UTC is to mix Testors model paint into a small cup filled with lacquer and a small amount of both retarder and acetone. The retarder will help you keep a wet edge that you wouldn't have because of the acetone. You're using acetone because you still need the material to dry and cure. Find a balance, but if you use too much retarder, the material won't properly set up.

From the original questioner:
I think you hit it with too much UTC. I had thought of using a dye as well and will give this a try. After the first coating we go over all the edges with canalized lacquer for a topcoat. We do these at night, and at 9am they open for business. We know the cure time is short, but that cannot be avoided.

From contributor E:
The Mohawk line is incredible, and it is offered in h20. These puppies flow out - and are durable.

From contributor D:
The Mohawk Blendal Sticks are unique but they have to be buried under way too much topcoat if you're using them to replace missing color on worn edges and to fix bare edges.

Care has to be taken when using the Blendal Sticks that the application isn't too thick. These are beeswax-based products and as such they have limitations which have to be respected. They aren't the best product for fixing worn edges. They work, but there's no way that they work better than the Konig pigmented touch up markers.

The traditional method of fixing worn edges is to pad on the color using padding lacquer (Lacover, WillPro, Lubricite77, Qualasole, and do on). This method works quickly when done properly and to adjust the sheen of your padding you can topcoat with one of Mohaw's low solids topcoats in the right sheen.

From contributor Q:
I am curious why no one has mentioned touchup markers? This is exactly what they were created to fix, table edges. I have used markers from an array of manufacturers over the years and have found they do their jobs well. I know Mohawk has a line of dye markers that dry quickly and once dry will not impart color on clothing. After replacing the missing color with the markers, one can either seal the edges with aerosol finishes or use a sealer marker.

Obviously, longevity is not the goal here. If it were, we would be pulling these tables back to a shop, rounding or beveling the edges to prevent the finish and color from being rubbed off a 90 degree edge. Moreover, markers can be left at the business for touchups by the staff which will reduce the frequency of the touchups and the aggravation for the business owner.

We haven't even touched on the cleaning chemicals and scotchbrite pads that may be causing the finish failure to begin with.

From contributor R:
I guess the 600 lb gorilla in the room nobody has said anything about is, why is the color coming off in the first place? Is this a clear finish with the color just toned on? I still like the 2K urethane idea - that stuff is as hard as it gets, sticks to anything and if you don't put too much colorant in it, it should hold up fine. I don't like markers myself. The color shifts too much when you topcoat. I usually use colored pencils and then spray over them on touch ups.

From the original questioner:
We tried markers and our customer was not too happy with how quickly the color wore off.

The mixture we have been using has been working pretty well for over a year. As the last step, we go over all edges with rags, and make sure there is no color rubbing off. The last time we did the touch-ups there was a lot of color that came off some edges. I wanted to see if anyone had another idea.

We will give the dye a try and see how well it holds up.