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Instant Gratification - Finishes

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Joe Sheble, Nov 16, 2020.

  1. Joe Sheble

    Joe Sheble

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    I get 1 day a week where I can work in the shop, with the lathe. Because I only get 1 day to play around with this hobby, I'm not keen on finishes that takes days & days to apply. I do want my bowls to be shiny, and I'd love if if there were usable, but I find all sorts of finishing techniques that literally takes days to apply sometimes.

    So I'm curious about the quickest and most durable finish that I could apply in a single day. What I currently do in most cases is sand to 320 or 400, apply thinned cellulose sanding sealer (usually 2 coats - dries super quick), de-nib with 0000, then use Yorkshire Grit and then finally a microcystalline wax.

    My shop is not well ventilated, so I mostly avoid lacquers although I did try the Deft Spray Lacquer (which IMO just ended up looking splotchy and I wasn't impressed). And while shellac is food safe and dries quickly, I've also heard it's not very durable at all.

    I've been considering Minwax Wipe On Poly, and did a couple of test runs on a spindle but with it being winter now, and my shop isn't heated or cooled, I had a hard time with it drying within the 2-3 hours it says to wait between coats.

    So any advice for me? Something I can cut, shape, and finish in a day and still get great looking results, and the bowl being usable versus just something to look at on a shelf.
     
  2. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Not sure how strict your time constraints are on your “off” days.

    my favorite finish is Waterlox.
    It do multiple coats with a day between.
    It takes less than 10 minutes out of a day to add a coat.

    if you have 10 minutes each day THIS COULD WORK...


    This takes 4-5 coats to build a finish. For a glossy finish I use the beal buffing ending with carnuba.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2020
  3. Tim Connell

    Tim Connell

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    Polymerized tung oil also fits into the schedule that Hockenbery mentioned above. You can also achieve a glossy finish depending on number of coats.

    Also, neither of these finishes need to be applied in the shop or on the lathe. I do all my finishing in my basement.
     
    hockenbery likes this.
  4. What's the rush to finish? - John
     
  5. Dennis J Gooding

    Dennis J Gooding

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    An obvious solution is to ladder the pieces. That is, have several pieces in different stages of process at any given time.
     
  6. Joe Sheble

    Joe Sheble

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    Impatience and the desire to actually start and finish a project in the allotted time I have. To me, and strictly my opinion, but I don't want to make bowls that take a week before I can gift them away.
     
  7. Steve Tiedman

    Steve Tiedman

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    Joe, what sort if durability do you need? Are you making decorative work meant for a shelf? Take your pick of finishes, durability isn't a high priority factor and shellac should be considered for it's fast dry time (as fast as the alcohol completely evaporates from the mix, leaving the hard finish coat). Cold probably slows that process too, though. Subsequent coats melt together and can be built up fairly quickly. And it will handle "oh, that's pretty" handling just fine, as long as the lookyloo doesn't have wet gin or vodka all of their hands.

    For work that would require durability due to handling and use, I tend to not use surface finishes anyway because they... wear off the surface and then look bad. For these items I depend on penetrating oil finishes to enrichen the look of the wood, but I stop by about the 3rd coat, after that the wood has absorbed all that it will and a surface film will start being built up. I encourage the user to allow a patina to develop from use.

    Is there a way to safely implement heat into your shop? It seems to me this is your biggest challenge, for every finish product out there is going to give you the optimal temperature range for proper application and cure times. I recall a workbench I cobbled together years ago, the shop temp was probably no more than 54-55 degrees, and the new can of brush-on Mixwax oil based poly varnish did jot want to cure at all, what a mess. The lower the temperature, the slower the cure time of oil based finishes. Every oil based finish requires a minimum of 24 hours at the rec. temp. range for successful performance, even Minwax Wiping Poly. Pure tung and linseed oils, even longer, many days.

    Can you take the finishing process into a heated space? Check the application temps of water based finishes? Skip finishes altogether and go with raw wood (just a wild thought)? I like the finishes hockenbury and Tim suggest, but for the best results you need warmer room temperatures.

    Avoid finishing near fuel-fired appliances, some, like gas water heaters, sense combustible fumes in the air intake and can go into hard shut down for explosion prevention.

    Steve.
     
    Bill Boehme likes this.
  8. Curtis Fuller

    Curtis Fuller

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    Keith Burns, A Tennessee woodturner who I've learned so much from came up with his "Keith Burns 10 minute finish" years back. Basically he uses Minwax Antique oil. He applies a heavy coat, lets it sit for about 10 minutes, and then wipes it hard with paper towel or rags to remove any of the oil that hasn't penetrated the wood. The emphasis is wiping hard, getting as much of the oil off as possible. Then he immediately buffs it with the Beall buffing system using tripoli, then white diamond, and finally the carnuba wax used very sparingly. And that's it. This is NOT a gloss finish but a very soft sheen. It holds up well, I have pieces over 10 years old that still look great. The downside is it tends to ruin the tripoli buffing wheel after a while and it's not for pieces than have any kind of natural edges, voids, or beads or grooves or places that are hard to wipe clean. It's imperative that you sand it well first, to at least 400 which you should do anyway, but this finish doesn't give any second chances. But if you like a soft sheen finish and you're piece fits the requirements, it's the best quick finish I've used. I've also used the same process with WOP with the same results.
     
  9. Richard Coers

    Richard Coers

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    Not sure you are really getting what could be called a finish. You are getting thin layers of lacquer with the soft sanding sealer, and then some shellac with the Yorkshire Grit. But the wax just changes the sheen. If you want a film coat, there is a padding lacquer that can be put on with the lathe running. But as implied, speed is usually not a good direction to head with a quality finish. Do you hurry with the turning too?
     
  10. Joe Sheble

    Joe Sheble

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    I take my time with the actual turning, but it's a bowl, doesn't really take all that long to shape it. From a square blank (6x4) to fully turned and ready for a finish is probably 45 minutes to an hour... So an hour to cut, but days and days for applying a finish.
     
  11. Mark Jundanian

    Mark Jundanian

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    @Joe Sheble , let me suggest a PU finish that I regularly use and can be applied in one day. I use Bartley Clear Gel Varnish, which I get from Woodworker's Supply
    https://woodworker.com/gel-varnish-mssu-875-212.asp
    They appear to be currently out of stock, but I just bought a quart recently, so I would expect them to get new supply.

    I believe this is a blend of polyurethane and alkyd resin and is a satin sheen. It is a very viscous gel about the consistency of pudding. After you have completed sanding your piece you apply the product with three rags. Use the first rag to wipe the gel on and spread all over. The second rag is used wipe off the excess and insure the varnish has been spread completely. Then with the third rag hand buff the surface. Let sit 6 hours to cure. Then repeat the above steps for a second coat--there is no need to sand in between coats, but you may if you wish. Again let sit for 6 hours to cure. A third coat is optional. If you apply the first coat after breakfast you can have a third coat on before bed. When freshly applied the varnish has very low tack. This may be because it is such a thick gel, but whatever the reason it doesn't tend to accumulate dust nibs.
     
  12. odie

    odie

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    Mark, have you ever tried the Beall 3-step buff with the Bartley finish?

    -----odie-----
     
  13. Mark Jundanian

    Mark Jundanian

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    No I haven't, Odie. First, I don't like a high gloss finish. I realize it is a difficult surface to achieve, so while I admire the effort, I don't like the look.
    Second, I'm always looking for the easy, and hopefully foolproof, way out.
    I have started to use Osmo Polyx-Oil (satin) with good results and I think they may have a gloss version.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2020
    odie likes this.
  14. John Tisdale

    John Tisdale

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    Occasionally I really enjoy doing a few weed-pots - the gel finishes from Bartley and General Finishes works great. Not sure how much the gel finish protects from water vapor but, to my thinking, a few cracks in a weed-pot adds character. However, if you find yourself turning that special heirloom, spending a bit more time with the better sealing finishes will serve you well. But to stack a second however, the better finishes tend to be solvent based (some nasty solvent based) - spraying in a basement, or a garage with a common airspace overhead to your family, is nuts.
    QUESTION: Has anyone on the forum experimented with Target Coatings? Maybe there is a way to both "rub on" and then "rub out".
     
  15. Randy Anderson

    Randy Anderson

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    While I don't like my bowls shiny and decided long ago not to dive into the deep end of the complex art of surface finishes, I do sometimes want just a bit of sheen on them. My go to finish is simple walnut oil that I apply with a grey 3M scotch brite pad but, after it's sat for about 10-15 minutes I take another grey 3M pad on the end of my drill motor sander (they adhere to the hook and loop pads just fine) and buff it for a few minutes. I've found it really enhances the feel and on most all pieces gives them a nice sheen. Not shiny and glossy but a nice sheen that enhances the deep look of the grain on many pieces. Easy, no fumes and safe, unless I get too much on the spinning pad and end up spraying all over myself. I've seen folks wet sand with oil while on the lathe with nice results but decided that was just too messy for me.
     
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  16. Roger Chandler

    Roger Chandler

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    If you want both quick and gloss, then General Finishes "Woodturners Finish" is a water based acrylic polymer finish with extra dryers in the mix. You can take your finish turned piece into the house where you have normal room temperature and apply in even strokes with a piece of old t-shirt, and once about every 30 minutes re-coat, provided you put on a thin coat previously. I have even used a hair dryer on low setting to accelerate the drying to 15 minutes per application. Please note, this finish will build, and if you remove the nibs before the last application, you can achieve a glorious gloss finish that will be beautiful, especially on darker woods like walnut, but it works well on maple, cherry, etc.
     
  17. Dave Landers

    Dave Landers

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    For bowls, I like walnut oil (I use Mahoney's). Wipe on, let it sit for a while, and wipe off. Mike says it's ready to use right away after one coat. I prefer to let it sit so the oil has a chance to cure. If your shop is not heated, bring it inside somewhere.

    Most of my bowls get buffed with the Beall system to get a bit of shine, but I only buff the outside. I want that smooth feel when someone picks it up, but I leave the inside oil-only so not to discourage use (could be just me, but I think a highly-finished-looking makes folks concerned they'll ruin the finish if they use it).
     
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  18. Doug Freeman

    Doug Freeman

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    Yes I have used Target EM6000 production lacquer on several pieces, and have used it and EM9000 poly on flatwork. Always sprayed, never tried to wipe on. It sprays and rubs out great. WB finishes look very drab and lifeless without an undercoat of something (I use shellac) to create chatoyance.

    I’m with Dennis - you need to ladder several projects. Your choice but you are severely limiting yourself. I may have 1/2 dozen or more pieces at various stages after finish turning - sanding, coats of finish, curing, rub out, buffing - depending on what the piece is getting. Most get MW poly semi gloss, thinned 1:1, flooded on and kept wet for 10 min or longer, wiped off, repeat. Some I buff for more sheen. May take several weeks before a piece is completed, but something else is in the pipeline so finished pieces are coming out of the process. Have yet to find a 1 day finish that was satisfactory.
     
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  19. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    I have used the walnut oil finishes for years, specifically from the Doctor's Woodshop, in part because he is also from Oregon. It is a matt finish, which I consider ideal for daily use pieces. Simple and easy to do. For an 'art' piece, which I seldom do, I will use several coats of a wipe on poly.

    robo hippy
     
  20. Doug Freeman

    Doug Freeman

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    Reread Joes original post. Define “useable”? I use the described poly finish for dry food serving dishes, cookies, fruit, whatever, no utensils touch the surface and no liquid.If utensils will be used or any liquid, I’m with Robo - walnut oil, I’ve used Mahoney’s.
     
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  21. odie

    odie

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    I'm currently using the Beall Buffing method over Danish oil natural, and it doesn't result in a high gloss finish there. Going on the assumption that the Bartley Clear Gel Varnish is not a high gloss, I have my doubts that the Beall buff would make it so.....but, I have no direct experience with using the two in combination. If anyone knows for sure what the results would be, let me know.

    I, too, don't care much for the high gloss look, and as you do, I admire it when other turners do, though. :D

    -----odie-----
     
  22. Doug Freeman

    Doug Freeman

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    I have used gel poly. It can result in a fairly glossy sheen when buffed if desired. Odie, it shouldnt be an issue to put the gel on over your current danish oil. I do 2 coats of thinned poly wipe on wipe off to seal the grain first. Then rub on the gel, doesnt take much. More coats tend to equal more gloss, similar to wipe on poly where you want a bit of film thickness. I find the gel works better, less issue with lap/wiping marks. If I want a fully filled, glossy finish, I much prefer spray lacquer.
     
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  23. Ron Solfest

    Ron Solfest

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    I too haven’t discovered the perfect finish yet, but eagerly read these type threads all the time looking for one :)

    GF WTF is very nice for a build gloss finish that’s durable (I have a couple cereal bowls that are ~15yrs old, used couple times a week, that still look new. But I’ve found WTF to be very finicky to apply, and needs 5-10 coats applied about 5min or more apart.

    My go-to for many years has been Watco Danish Oil. Easy to apply in a few minutes, wipe off after 30min (wipe a few more times over few hours if open grain like oak). Bad thing is this takes about 3wks before it’s food safe. Of late I’ve taken to buff as well (Don Pencil buffs, similar to Beal buff), really like the resulting finish. I no longer use carnuba as the last step on walnut or other dark woods as it’s developed dull specs from atmospheric moisture, so on those I wipe Renaissance wax on and buff instead.

    Homemade WOP applies similar to Watco but provides more/shinier build if I want that with 3-7 coats...I don’t do this too often.

    If I’m running late on a gift I either go with just buff and wax if durability isn’t an issue, walnut oil if kitchen bowl with matte finish, or WTF. All can be gifted in a day or two
     
  24. Ron Solfest

    Ron Solfest

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    BTW - if you get Watco, make sure it’s not the CA low volatility product. Watco manufactures a regular 450 VOC and a 275 VOC. I got the latter once and was very disappointed in its application.
     
  25. Dean Center

    Dean Center

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    I have one more idea to offer. The fastest shiny finish is sprayed lacquer. One of our club members, who gets really nice finishes, gave a demo of this method at his home that was a revelation.

    He puts up a couple sawhorses with plywood and cardboard for a top, and lays out however many pieces he wants to finish on top of used band saw blade triangles. He uses a $15 spray gun from Harbor Freight, solvent based lacquer from Sherwin Williams, and sprays in his driveway. By the time he's put the first coat on the last piece, it's time to apply the second coat to the first piece. 3-4 coats on a half dozen pieces takes an hour. He successfully uses the method down to about 50 degrees--it's so fast, the pieces may still be warm from being inside, and in Apache Junction, you should be able to find a time of day that works, year round. Other lacquers don't apparently work as well as the Sherwin Williams, and it is pricey, but a gallon will lasts years. His method of clean up is basically easy, contrary to what I had expected. (Writing this, I really need to talk him into doing an article for the journal)
     
  26. Kevin Jesequel

    Kevin Jesequel

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    I am so glad you posted this. Danish oil has been a favorite finish of mine for some time. Just this weekend I purchased a new can because the last one (bought a little over a year ago) ran out. Boy was I disappointed. It was thick and syrupy and made me double check the can to make sure it wasn't WOP. After reading your post, I checked the can and sure enough, it says "max 275 VOC" on the white label with the bar code. I also noticed that the old can says "the original" above "danish oil" on the front of the can and the new one dosn't. It also says, "do not thin", which I cannot find stated on the new can, so I wonder if a splash of mineral spirits will make the new more like the old? I'll keep an eye out for more of the old stuff, but fear that Oregon may have adopted the California standard.
     
    odie likes this.
  27. Steve Tiedman

    Steve Tiedman

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    Kevin- if you can, pour off an ounce or 2 of your new low VOC Danish oil into a separate container and add a very small amount of mineral spirits to it, say a quarter teaspoon at a time (pick up a set if measuring spoons and dedicate them to the shop, don't share them with your kitchen), then experiment and see if this homemade blend performs like your old higher VOC stuff. Chances are you will see success at some new ratio. I wouldn't add it to the full can until you experiment with the small quantity.

    There is plenty of web info on VOCs in woodworking finishes, interesting to read.

    Steve.
     
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  28. Ron Solfest

    Ron Solfest

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    Kevin - I tried thinning the low VOC Watco with mineral spirits but it didn’t work for me. I struggled through using it on some shop cabinets I had just made and then called Watco asking/complaining about it.

    Their customer service was great! He explained the low VOC was for CA (and maybe Oregon:) and that since I lived in TN I should order the other stuff that I was familiar with. Apparently I hadn’t paid attention when I ordered it. He told me he’d ship me a new gallon to replace the one I ordered, when it arrived it was TWO gallons! And it worked great. That was a year ago, and I’ve now reordered more making sure to verify 450 VOC.
     
  29. Lamar Wright

    Lamar Wright

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    I also use Danish oil and the Beall buffing system for all my bowls. As Steve does...I also add a very small amount of mineral spirits in a separate container to the oil before applying. It has worked well for me.
     
  30. odie

    odie

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    Very interesting! o_O

    Note: I wasn't aware of the California standards for Watco Danish Oil, so I checked my current stock for the VOC information. My latest purchase of Danish Oil was in August 2020, and on the white sticker with the bar code, it says: MAX VOC 450 G/L

    So, I guess I'm good to go for now, but every time I buy D.O., I'll be checking, because you never know.....the distribution network of your supplier may ship the 275 VOC stuff where the need exists. I purchase at Home Depot, and the last couple times I checked, they were out of Danish Oil natural.......

    -----odie-----
     
  31. odie

    odie

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    Howdy Lamar.....:D

    Are you getting the VOC 275 VOC Watco Danish Oil there in Alabama?

    -----odie-----
     
  32. Kevin Jesequel

    Kevin Jesequel

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    Hi Odie, I bought the can from my local Woodcraft because the big box stores have been out for months. Looking on Woodcraft's website, they list both the pint and quart of Watco natural DO as being the low 275 VOC formula, so it looks like they are making the switch nationally. I am curious to see what the big box stores resupply with. If they go low VOC, I fear the days are numbered on the 450 stuff.
     
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  33. GRJensen

    GRJensen

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    I looked everywhere ... Home Depot, Lowes, local paint stores, The guy that runs the paint department at my local Menards told me Watco Danish Oil (Natural) was in such short supply due to Covid-19. He said he was told they had to shut down the plant that makes it due to the number of infections. Our local store finally got a dozen cans in a few days ago.
     
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  34. Doug Freeman

    Doug Freeman

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    All of you danish oil lovers, with it apparently being a bit difficult to get, you may want to investigate mixing your own. Mix ~ 1/3 poly, 1/3 blo, 1/3 mineral spirits. May need more ms to lower viscosity. Lots of somewhat conflicting info out on the web. Havent done any calculations but it may be cheaper. Dye can be added if the color isnt quite right.
     
  35. odie

    odie

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    Kevin......I checked both Lowes and Home Depot today, and both are listing the 275 VOC formula....so, it looks like Watco may be changing over. Lowes did have 8 pints on the shelf, all 450 VOC, so I went down there and bought all of them! .Home Depot didn't have any pints on hand. There were no gallons except the 275 VOC. At the rate I'm using the DO, this ought to last me about 2 1/2 or 3 years.

    -----odie-----
     
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  36. Steve Tiedman

    Steve Tiedman

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    Doug, you beat me to it, but my recipe is slightly different- 1/3 brush-on oil based varnish, 1/3 pure tung oil, 1/3 mineral spirits. I always mix it in small amounts, just a couple ounces of each ingredient.

    I'll toss the suggestion of the versions of Tried & True pure linseed oil products, including their faster drying Danish oil. Light coats with their products, do not flood the surface. All are free of VOC solvents and metallic drying agents, and food safe.
    https://www.triedandtruewoodfinish.com/products/

    Steve.
     
  37. Kevin Jesequel

    Kevin Jesequel

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    I am very interested in these products and plan to give them a try in the near future.

    To the OP, I apologize for hijacking the thread, but I think it is safe to say that some of the fastest, easiest finishes are those that you simply wipe on and then off after 15 to 30 minutes (like danish oil). You can have 2 coats on within an hour and you're done. It can be done while you are cleaning up the shop after your turning session. The following day you can apply paste wax and hand buff it from the comfort of your lazy-boy, or wait until the following week's session and buff it with a Beall (or equivalent) system to a high sheen in 15 minutes or less, then get on with that day's new project.
     
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  38. Russell Nugent

    Russell Nugent

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    Just started using tried and true and when they say light coats, and you think you're putting on a light coat you've put on too heavy of a coat. It's crazy how little you need, and it will take forever to cure if you use too much. Really nice finish though and love the smell.
     
  39. Steve Tiedman

    Steve Tiedman

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    Russell, which Tried & True version are you using?

    Steve.
     
  40. Steve Tiedman

    Steve Tiedman

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    This certainly won't apply to the notion of instant gratification from finishes, but since the thread has taken a few turns, I'd like to contribute this, by way of Sam Maloof. From his 1983 autobiographical book about his life in furniture making, "Sam Maloof, Woodworker", page 120, he describes the process of finishing his world-renowned rocking chair:

    "Before applying a finish, I go over the chair with 400 grit sandpaper and burnish it with #0000 steel wool.
    I use two finishes on every piece of furniture. The first consists of one-third urethane (semi-gloss), one-third raw tung oil, and one-third boiled linseed oil. I use the raw tung oil because it does not jell; it has an indefinite shelf life. The boiled linseed oil has enough drier in it to activate the raw tung oil.
    I apply this mixture to the piece very generously, rubbing hard (when my hand starts getting hot, I know I am doing it correctly). Then I remove all the excess and let the chair sit overnight-- and sometimes longer. This process is repeated three or four times.
    I make a second mixture, leaving out the urethane. Into this I grate a couple of handfuls of shredded beeswax per gallon of the oil mixture, heating it in a double boiler on top of a hot plate until the beeswax melts. This mixture homogenizes and has the consistency of heavy cream. (I do this out of doors, away from buildings.)
    I apply this in the same manner as the first finish. (By the way, I never let my oily rags lie around the shop, since the oils are highly combustible. I keep my rags in an outdoor container filled with water.)
    And that is the way I make a rocking chair."


    6 to 8 coats, one or more days between coats. 10-14 days for the finishing process, and personally I'd give it another 30 days for a full cure time. Note he does not add any extra solvents to his recipe, either.

    Well, there is nothing instant about that process, but it is sure a long-lived final result. Time, patience, and hard work result in greatness.

    As a side note, I keep a heavy metal pale (about 2-gallon size) in my garage, and right away when I'm done with a finishing session all my finish-soaked rags (paper towels) go in it, taken outside where it is safe, then I drop a match into the bucket and burn the rags to ash. It only takes a few minutes to burn them out, and I stand by and watch the burn until cold so no burning embers get blown out of the can to make a nuisance of themselves elsewhere. An old tabletop BBQ grill may work for this, too, keeping the wire grate over the burning rags. Keep the garden hose handy.

    Steve.
     
    hockenbery likes this.

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