I have a factory-made dining table with a commercial lacquer finish. There are a few small areas of alligatoring where alcohol was spilled or something hot was placed. Not having a sprayer, is there any way using amateur materials to fix these spots without doing a complete refinishing?—Kent Michaelsen

Bob Oswald replies: Of course you’ll have to sand out the damaged areas. Work it with fine grits and finish up at 320, feathering the edges. Lacquer repair is nicer than varnish because lacquer will re-flow the material it contacts and bond typically without leaving an edge. The only alternative to a spray application which you really should have for this size job would be a brushing lacquer. It’s regular lacquer with extra thinner to make it dry slower. To apply I would still cover the whole top since you’ll brush it on much thicker than spray would do. You don’t want an edge. And if you go this route, work very fast. A high quality brush and rapid covering strokes without retracing your steps. I believe it will work. In the worst case you’d have to lightly re-sand it and spray it. In any case it should look better than the damage. Good Luck.

Finishing