Hand Tools Archive
Dinna be skeptical laddie!
I can absolutely guarantee that it can and does happen and has some rather spectacular effects on the finishing process. I have had a very nice table almost ruined by it. I kept getting what I refer to as aligator skin on both lacquer and shellac.
Since it was an ebonized finish, my last resort (which worked) was to sand it back, seal it with an automotive sandable primer, sanded again and used lacquer paint as a spray finish. Not as nice as the finish I was originally planning but it did save the piece.
There were no spills in the shop but I did have a spray lube that contained silicone. So either overspray when working on a machine or accidentally getting some on one of my cutting tools (chisels and/or planes) were the only possible culprits.