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Repairing Clear/Wood Polyester

Watch the video Polyester Repair for Ebony for a tutorial on the basics of polyester repair. Products needed to do proper polyester repairs are available in the Advanced Complete Kit. If starting new, this is the repair kit for polyester black (ebony), white, and clear coat (wood) finishes. For those who already have polyester/touch-up tools and experience, the Advanced Complete Kit provides a list of included items with hyperlinks to the individual product pages for comparison of needed parts.

Repairing Veneer & Surface Damage: One of the hardest tasks in clear polyester repair is the job of repairing veneer & surface damage and the attempt to arrive at a color match. For wood and paint finishes we recommend the Paint Box. For traditional wood finishes, we recommend having Medium Walnut and Light Mahogany dyes, correcting color differences with the Paint Box. To form new corners and fill in deep gouges, we recommend using Rex Lith Gel Filler.

This is an area of human endeavour that is really art, not technical expertise. For that reason, we will not spend a lot of time talking about how to color match and simulate grain in veneer work. You need to learn from a master. However, there are some basics that will get you started ...
•  Use the least amount of color possible, too much color causes the repair to appear too dark from one angle, and too light from another.
•  Pick the lightest color in the surface as a base color. Use Naphtha to 'preview' the color.
•  If the surface is light, err on the light side. If it is dark, err on the dark side.
•  Keep your grain lines really thin, and continue them half way up the walls of the polyester (but no farther!).
•  Stop sooner than later.

Watch Out! ... Use as little color as you can. Using too much color can prevent the polyester from properly bonding to the floor of the repair. To prevent this, paint a fine coat of polyester (mixed with hardener) over the completed veneer work, let it set up for 10 minutes, and then pour the normal amount of polyester into the site. This will not only prevent bonding problems, but will also protect the colors from bleeding and shifting.

With polyester finishes, color matching is made more difficult for several reasons ...
•  The polyester, even though it is almost clear, acts as a filter, changing the color of a repair. What could look perfect before the polyester is added can look terrible afterwards.
•  The polyester reacts with some coloring materials, especially if they have not completely dried. This can result in the color changing when the polyester is added. or as the polyester hardens. The color of the veneer changes with the angle that light hits it if too much color has been used.
•  If the floor of the repair is not on exactly the same level as the original surface, the repair will be noticeable.
•  When stains used to color 'pool' around the edge of the repair, it leaves a dark circle.
•  It is difficult to clean out completely all the broken and fractured pieces of polyester. If you leave loose polyester, white pockets can appear after the polyester is poured. White areas will also appear around the edge of the repair if the original finish lifts even a small amount.

For a guide on dealing with the above issues, we highly recommend the recently revised and comprehensive Polyester Repair Manual.