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Pre-Cat vs Poly Test 2022

The first instalment in our test series is probably THE most important aspect to test. Call it lacquer, finish or ‘top coat’ this barrier is the only thing between you and the lovely timber, therefore it must be robust enough to take everyday accidents and mishaps. There’s plenty of info about finish over on the lacquer options page so we won’t repeat ourselves here. So, how did we test the 2 main lacquers we use? Lets have a closer look as there was one very surprising reaction we didn’t expect… let’s go!

Sample 1

Above we see our test boards, QLD Spotted Gum veneer with a full finish. We used the following ingredients to attack the surface as these are the most popular forms of damage (well maybe not paint stripper) and we let them sit for 24 hours. The paint stripper is an extreme test but if removed within the recommended 10 mins it does nothing, it ate the lacquer eventually only because we left it for 24 hours…

  • Boiling water in a mug from the microwave.
  • Cold water
  • Boiling water from the kettle
  • Fortified wine
  • Lemon juice
  • Paint stripper
  • Nail polish remover (acetone)

Sample 2

Application of the acetone was the most interesting result. The polyurethane lacquer seemed to absorb the acetone pretty much immediately, where as the pre-cat held it on top and it slowly ate it away. Needless to say we were amazed at this finding and have derived VERY VALUABLE INFO. DON’T wipe away acetone spills! Resist the urge to wipe it up asap as it looks like it will soften the poly but not eat it so let it sit there!! As the results show, the acetone had no effect on the poly and re-hardened but the pre-cat didn’t cope so it is heavy stuff. Maybe keep the nail polish in the bathroom, that’s the best advice.

We removed the mug after 10 minutes as it had cooled. The other samples were left over night and assessed 24 hours later. I missed the shot of the paint stripper being applied but it’s like a jelly substance.

Sample 3

After 24 hours and before wiping. These shots were taken to highlight any raw damage that may have occurred from the samples or any resides expected to be left behind. Above pic shows the pre-catalyzed results.

Sample 4

Here we have the polyurethane results…

Sample 5

Pre-Cat sample after wiping with a damp cotton fibre cloth (water only)

Sample 6

Polyurethane sample after wiping.

Sample 7

Both test boards wiped clean with only water to show the results of any damage. If the nail polish remover had been wiped at the time of spillage, the resulting damage would have been far worse. Looks like nothing else made a mark at all except the paint stripper which was to be expected.

Sample 8

Overall, this kind of test was done to ease our minds as much as yours and it has delivered in spades. We found out what to do and what not to do plus we witness the difference of integrity between the two lacquers! Excellent results all round. Look out more more material tests from the Mab Lab coming soon!