This topic has 2 replies, 2 voices, and was last updated 4 years, 10 months ago by Former Member Content Archive.

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  • #14978

    Good Morning,

    Sometimes we’re asked to do research on painting techniques that we do not normally do for the stage. It’s a long story, but I’ve been asked to look into painting the lid of a harpsichord if our shop ends up doing the repairs. I have watched harpsichord refinishing videos and was wondering if anyone on the forum has some pro-tips.

    1. Is it necessary to strip the current paint for the fix?

    2. I’ve been looking at a flat enamel oil from Sherwin Williams. Does anyone have any experience using this product?

    3. Do I seal after the oil is applied? If so, what could I use? Is it necessary given the fact that I am using oil? I’ll post a pic, but it’s not super shiny, so I’m sure it’s not been lacquered.

    4. It is just the lid. In the pic you can see the broken piece and there are a few dings in the wood.

    Thank you in advance! Any advice is greatly appreciated!

     Kimberly Manuel
      • Experience: 15-20 years
      • Scenic Status: Other

      I would advise to not strip the lid. You should be able to sand and blend the repaired part to match the rest of the lid without having to strip it. Once you start stripping a piece, you cannot stop and the lid will look different than the lower section in texture and finish, so usually if you strip one piece you will need to strip it all. That has been my experience. Will you be repainting the entire harpsichord or just the lid? If you’re only repainting the lid, then I advise to sand the entire lid with a 100 grit sandpaper and focusing on where the repair meets the rest of the lid. Prime the entire lid using a primer that will work with oil-based paint and then paint with your oil-based paint. Typically with a flat enamel you shouldn’t need to seal it. You get more strength with a satin finish for furniture, but I’ve noticed that even flat enamel has more of an eggshell finish, so that should hold up to normal wear and tear for furniture. One product that helps speed up the drying process with flat enamel is called Japan Drier. It only takes a little of it to mix into the paint and it cuts your drying time roughly in half. I’ve even used it in stains and polyurethanes. The key is to only put in as much as the container says for the amount of paint you’re using, i.e. pint, quart, gallon. If you need to seal it, then I’d read the container label for your flat enamel first to see what it advises to use to seal it. Hopefully this is all helpful. Any other questions, just let me know. I have a side business where I refinish and reupholster furniture, so I’ve used all sorts of products and techniques.


      Thank you for the advice. I really didn’t want to have to strip the lid. At this point it’s just the lid that needs repaired, however, its up in the air about whether or not we’re fixing it. Fingers crossed that we don’t because I like staying away from oils and solvents on the job as much as possible. I’ve used Japan Drier before, but with mixed results. I once had spots in perfect circles show up as it dried. Weird.

      Again, Thank you !


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