Refinishing lacquer top

I am removing many scratches from the lacquered finish on a 1988 drexel table top using an orbital bloc sander. I’ve sanded it to 600 grit but still see micro swirls in the remaing lacquer finish. Eventually I want to respray the top with nitrocellulose lacquer.
What’s the next step so I can spray on lacquer?
Do I sand to 1000 grit?
Polish, buff with maguire’s car polish?
Spray with lacquer? Then polish?
Suggestions appreciated.

It should not be necessary to remove micro-scratches if you are going to spray lacquer over lacquer. The new coat of lacquer will dissolve into the older coat and flow to fill. This would not be true if you were using a reactive finish like polyurethane.

You may find this video useful for other thoughts on getting the perfectly smooth glossy finish:


Paul Duffield replies:

My suggestion is that you cannot eliminate the swirly marks with more finish. The wood surface needs to be smooth and free of witness marks.

The only way I know is to sand back to the wood using the sander if you wish and then hand sand using a block with 180 and 220 grit. Use mineral spirits at that point to see that all sanding marks are eliminated.

Now you can apply finish.

Or… I would use a hand plane and card scraper to get the surface ready for finish in just a few minutes.

Let me know if you need help with what finish to apply and how. Hope this helps. Paul.