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Finishes for Bowls

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Ken Loy, Jun 22, 2020.

  1. Ken Loy

    Ken Loy

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    I’ve tried a bunch of finishes and while I’m usually satisfied with them when I’m done, I give the bowls away and I don’t know how they hold up.

    I was using Mahoney’s Walnut Oil for salad bowls (and cutting boards), and it seems to work well. Imparts a little bit of yellow to most woods.

    I’ve also used Tung Oil and Danish Oil, with both seeming to have the same properties. They don’t build up well though, so I don’t usually get much luster to the finish.

    I just tried Tried and True Varnish and it seems to build much better. It seems thicker than Danish oil and maybe that is why it builds up better.

    I gather that all are food-safe once cured.

    What advice to you guys have on what finish to use for different bowl uses? Is there a good oil that doesn’t turn the wood yellow? I’ve tried the General Finishes Salad Bowl finish but I don’t like the plastic feel to it.
     
  2. Don Wattenhofer

    Don Wattenhofer

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  3. Ed Weingarden

    Ed Weingarden

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    Canton, Connecticut
    Mineral oil is food safe, and won't impart a yellowish hue to the wood. I've only used it as an oil/beeswax paste, which I mixed myself.
     
  4. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    Mineral Oil would not polymerize and protect the wood from the inside out. I used your combo for a few years, a well known Australian teacher uses it so many of us learn from him. I had several customers complained of blotchiness, the wax would start washing away in some areas and not on others when washed with hot water. Everyone seems to be happy with Mike's walnut oil and or Danish oil.
     
  5. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    I prefer the walnut oil from The Doctor's Woodshop. I like the wax mix in it. 'Microagregated'. He explained how it is different, and he is a chemist. He was able to dumb it down enough at a demo so it made sense. Mostly his carnuba wax mixed into it does not have to get heated to be able to blend in and flow over the wood. Just different from Mike Mahoney's.

    robo hippy
     
  6. Raif Harik

    Raif Harik

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    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Robo those look like some pretty great finishes. Which one do you use? Are the wax infused ones thin enough that the oil gets absorbed into the wood like a typical oil? I have the beall three wheels buffing system, the wheels are ... something red, white diamond, then carnuba. Would I be able to use all three after the finish is applied?

    I currently use a technique I learned from Gary Roberts. 2/3 Deft or Watco Danish oil, 1/3 lacquer thinner. The lacquer thinner thins it out so it penetrates deeply and dries quickly for subsequent coats.
     
  7. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    The Doctor (he is a PHD) has a specific bowl mix. You have to shake it up before applying as the wax settles to the bottom. I have no clue about the buffing. I have never buffed anything. I guess if I did, it would be for 'art' type pieces, and not for utility pieces, which are 90% of what I do. He does have pen mixes as well.

    I don't use the penetrating oils. Mostly it is because I don't want to put anything on a bowl that I couldn't eat straight out of the can. Some people remain sensitive to the chemicals even long after they have 'cured'.

    robo hippy
     
  8. Assuming you are talking about Watco Danish Oil, it is a film finish. It's a penetrating oil and varnish; therefore, more like a film finish. - John
     
    Ron Solfest likes this.
  9. Ed Weingarden

    Ed Weingarden

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    The red compound is Tripoli, and is a fine "abrasive". I don't know what grit it corresponds to, but I use it to smooth the surface of a piece (with a film finish) if there's dust particles that settled on the surface while it was drying. If you buff with either the Tripoli or white diamond wheels after applying an oil finish, you run the risk of contaminating those wheels if there's any oil residue on the surface.
     
  10. Mike Adams

    Mike Adams

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    Good to know, thanks!
     

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