How to Lacquer a Table


Lacquer is a finishing product that is often used for wood furniture. It dries relatively quickly, sands easily and requires only four coats to protect a wood surface. Lacquer is typically sprayed onto a piece of furniture to achieve a flawless finish, but you can also brush it on if necessary. You can lacquer the surface of a table in a day, allowing you to get it back in the dining room quickly.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic tarp
  • Soapy water and rag
  • Sandpaper
  • Tack cloth
  • Sprayable lacquer
  • Paint gun (optional)
  • Goggles
  • Respirator
  • Rubber gloves
  • Spread a large plastic tarp on the floor of a garage or covered outdoor area. If working in a garage, leave the door open for ventilation.

  • Set the table onto the tarp.

  • Wash the table thoroughly with soapy water to clean off any dirt or other surface debris. Allow it to dry.

  • Sand the table's surface with 250-grit sandpaper to prepare it for lacquer.

  • Wipe the sanded surface with a tack cloth to remove the sanding dust.

  • Add sprayable lacquer into the paint reservoir of a spray gun. If you have lacquer that is already packaged in an aerosol can, you can skip this step.

  • Spray a coat of lacquer onto the table surface, working in long stripes following the length of table. Overlap each pass slightly onto the one before it to ensure full coverage.

  • Allow the lacquer to dry for the amount of time printed on the lacquer container.

  • Sand the surface of the table with 250-grit sandpaper, then wipe it with a tack cloth to remove the dust.

  • Apply three more coats of lacquer, drying and sanding each before adding the next.

  • Allow the final coat of lacquer to dry completely. Do not sand it as this is the surface coat.

Tips & Warnings

  • If spraying is not an option, you can use brushable lacquer with foam brushes.
  • Practice spraying lacquer on a sheet of wood if you have never done if before. This will allow you to perfect your technique before moving on to the table.
  • Wear a respirator, goggles and rubber gloves when spraying lacquer.

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