This question is related to my earlier question.

I was reading elsewhere in this forum and found a question asking how to determine what finish had been applied to an old furniture item. @LeeG answered, suggesting the application of different solvents to a non-visible part of the furniture, to see which one strips off the old finish. That answer listed the solvents which remove shellac and lacquer.

I have plenty of non-visible spots on my current repair project, so this technique would work for me. It might even allow me to heal a major scratch without having to add more paint. I would just lightly dissolve the paint around the scratch and then blend the liquefied pigment to fill the scratch.

Question What solvents dissolve each of the common furniture paint types (latex, oil, etc.) which have been popular in the last few decades?

  • Not sure if this is helpful or relevant but news.thefinishingstore.com/index.php/…
    – Jaken
    Commented Apr 14, 2016 at 21:31
  • Missed this Question at the time. About this, "I would just lightly dissolve the paint around the scratch and then blend the liquefied pigment to fill the scratch." This won't work the way that you hope, it's a nice idea but paints don't dissolve in a neat and predictable manner. This basic idea makes sense and this does work with shellac and lacquer because they're permanently soluble in their original solvent. But paints are like varnish and are 'conversion finishes' where a chemical change has taken place and these things resist being re-dissolved.
    – Graphus
    Commented Apr 29, 2017 at 6:59

2 Answers 2


I would use Acetone. Pure acetone but add 10% water or it will evaporate before you can use it

  • In a 1:10 mix the water won't noticeably affect the evaporation rate of the acetone part of the mixture.
    – Graphus
    Commented Apr 29, 2017 at 7:01
  • For which type of paint are you advocating the use of acetone? Surely not all paints.
    – Ast Pace
    Commented Apr 29, 2017 at 20:25
  • It is an answer just not a well rounded one. There should be more information here to justify the suggestion.
    – Matt
    Commented May 12, 2017 at 12:40

French polish is dissolved by Metholated Spirits and can be refinished with french polishing techniques.

Nitrocellulose Lacquer can be removed with lacquer thinner.

And Varnish can be dissolved with acetone.

The top 2 fuse into each other one coat on top of the other, Varnish tends to fuse on the second day after if the temperature is not too hot. After the second day a fine sand is required. Next day it can crinkle uncured varnish.

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