Q: I’m making a cabinet with spalted-maple drawer fronts. I can’t get an even finish on the fronts. What’s causing the uneven finish and how can I fix it? Tim Madison, Hickory, NC A: The uneven finish is caused by the wood absorbing finish unevenly. This is because it varies in density, a common problem with spalted wood. The solution is to spot-harden the spalted areas first, using a thin, penetrating cyanoacrylate (or “super”) glue. Use a medium-thickness glue for small gaps and a thick one for big gaps. After the glue has dried, sand the wood. Spalted wood is more easily scratched by sandpaper, so sand up to P600 grit. Finally, if you want a clear, non-yellowing topcoat, use a water-based finish like Minwax Polycrylic, wet-sanding with CAMI 800-grit paper between coats. click to enlarge Cyanoacrylate glue hardens spalted wood. First, spread glue over punky areas. Let it soak in and dry, then sand the entire surface before applying the topcoat of your choice. The spalted areas then absorb less finish, allowing for a more even topcoat.
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