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Salad Bowl Finish Fail

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Donna Banfield, Nov 21, 2020 at 12:06 PM.

  1. Donna Banfield

    Donna Banfield

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    These images are from a bowl I made in 2003. It belongs to a family member. I had been turning for about a 18 months at this point, and I was using Salad Bowl Finish, because that's all that I knew. I don't use this for a finish any more, and you can see why.

    In 2004 or 2005 I began using oils, and applying all my finishes OFF the lathe. So for woodturners looking for a quick and easy finish, this is what your bowl will look like after a few years. Wipe-on poly, Salad Bowl Finish, anything that is a film finish will sit on the surface. And if you're using the lathe to apply it, you're not allowing any of it to penetrate the surface. It eventually wears off. And as it wears off, it doesn't look pretty. Salad Bowl finish fail 1.jpg Salad Bowl Finish fail 2.jpg
     
    Emiliano Achaval and odie like this.
  2. RichColvin

    RichColvin

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    Well, it looks like it has been loved and used to me. If you achieved that, then you have a winner.
     
  3. Doug Freeman

    Doug Freeman

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    Agree a film finish should not be used for a project that will have utensils touch it. One of the prepolymerized walnut oil finishes is what I use.

    I use a lot of wipe on poly and some oil for other finishes. I may start the application off the lathe but all get finished on the lathe. It may be wet sanding, wipe down, or buffing (drill mounted buffs vs a Beal method). I prefer to have the piece mounted vs a mounted sanding pad or buff. I mention this for 2 reasons: 1) the piece can have oil or varnish applied on the lathe, at slow ~100 rpm) speed, and 2) it requires the project holding method to be retained through finishing.
     
  4. Ditto Doug. I never use film finishes (Wipe-On Poly, lacquer and similar) on any item that will be used in the kitchen (salad bowls, ice cream scoops and similar). Only use oil finishes (Mahoney's Finishing Oil, Liberon Finishing Oil and similar). Never had a finish fail when using oil finishes on kitchen ware. - John
     
  5. John Torchick

    John Torchick

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    John, thanks for sharing your experience here.
     
  6. Donna Banfield

    Donna Banfield

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    I encourage my customers to use my bowls regularly. And since moving to an oil-based finish, hand-rubbed, off the lathe, several coats every 24 hours, for about a week, those bowls show use, but the finish is still there. That said, if the end use was intended for anything hot (porridge, oatmeal, soup, utensils for stirring pots on the stove), then no finish is my choice.
     
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  7. Randy Anderson

    Randy Anderson

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    Donna, good to see what I do being done by more experienced turners. I decided when I first started to not use surface finishes. I like my bowls to look and feel like wood. Not wood with a plastic coating - no offense to those that do all the high end finishes. Too complex for me. I use walnut oil but interested in your process of multiple coats over a long period of time. Never done that. I put a couple of coats on (depending on how the wood absorbs it) with a grey scotch brite pad, let sit for a while then buff with same and then done. I don't do any finishes on the lathe. That said, I've gone back to some of my early bowls in inventory and have put another coat of oil on and buffed them a bit. They felt dry and customers feel them before they buy them. I might try your process. thanks
     
  8. Donna Banfield

    Donna Banfield

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    Randy, I used to use urethane oil, that was sold by Woodcraft. I never cared for the short shelf life that finish had. If I had a can that I didn't use up in about 6-8 weeks, the finish would begin to oxidize, (Skim over with a hard shell) making it useless. I now make my own 3-part finish, based loosely on the finish used by the late furniture maker, Sam Maloof, and more currently by Alan Lacer, master of the skew.

    Equal parts of Boiled Linseed Oil, a high quality varnish (Fiddes is what I use), and turpentine or mineral spirits to thin the other two. Thinning it helps the first coat penetrate the surface. After the bowl is completely turned and sanded, I take the piece into my finish room (this is a sort of 'clean room'), where I also do my airbrushing, painting and photograph my work. I apply a liberal coat of the already mixed finish with a rag, and place the bowl on old bandsaw blades that have been cut into 10-12" lengths, and bent to make a 45 degree V-shape. The freshly coated bowl sits on the tips of a few teeth, for about an hour. The bowl gets another coating and immediately wiped dry with paper towels. After 24 hours, I lightly scuff the bowl with 0000 steel wool, use compressed air to blow off the debris, and repeat that entire process (apply finish, wait an hour, re-apply, sit for 24hrs) for about a week. Depending on the humidity, the bowls might have up to 36 hours in between coats. But they have at least 4 coats; some woods tend to soak up more oil and will get 5-6 coats. Then I let the finish cure. That takes about 30 days, or when I put the bowl up to my nose and take a deep breath, if I don't smell the finish, the curing is done. The bowls get buffed using the Beall Buffing system, and ready to go to one of the galleries that sell this work.

    Yes, it seems like it's a lot of work, but people who purchased my bowls tell me that their bowl still looks as good today, as when they bought it 12-15 years ago.
     
    Josh Stevens likes this.
  9. Randy Anderson

    Randy Anderson

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    Yep, that is a lot more work than I currently do. I'll have to give it some thought. One of my challenges is my local market is arts and craft shows in rural TN. I'm proud of my work and want it to look as good as it can and last but, there's the practical side of how much I can put into pieces for things folks here just won't pay for. I see all sorts of ideas and things I'd like to try, sometimes I do just for myself but for stuff I intend to sell my sweet spot for bowls is $50 - $100. I have only one or two events where folks will spend more than that. A very well turned traditional or natural edge bowl with walnut oil sells well for me. Somewhat frustrating because I'm at the stage where I want to "up my game" with some variety and higher end pieces but struggle with the "that looks awesome but will anyone buy it" dilemma. OK, I see my hour of therapy time is up so I'll shut up...sorry.
     
  10. Russell Nugent

    Russell Nugent

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    Sadly where I am I'd be lucky to get 50 to 60 Canadian for 14 inch natural edge bowl.
     
  11. Donna Banfield

    Donna Banfield

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    Randy and Russell, understand. I am very fortunate to live in an area of the country (New England) that still highly values well-made fine hand craft. Even more, that the League of NH Craftsmen, an organization that began in 1932, has fostered a reputation across the country for exceptionally well-made fine craft. I successfully juried into the League in 2010. There are 8 League affiliated galleries scattered throughout the state that carry work made by juried members of the organization. Work in this area can sell for between $100 for a 6-8" cherry bowl, and over $350 for a large (13-16") salad bowl. The League monitors quality, and work that falls below the standards for the specific media is pulled from the market.
     
  12. Randy Anderson

    Randy Anderson

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    Donna, I took a look at your web site - very impressive work. I aspire to do that kind of work some day.
     
  13. Steve Tiedman

    Steve Tiedman

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    Hello Donna, I just put Sam's finish recipes, quoted from his book, into that recent thread "Instant Gratification- Finishes", at the bottom of page 1.
    https://www.aawforum.org/community/index.php?threads/instant-gratification-finishes.16881/

    Which brand of boiled linseed oil are you using? Have you experimented with a polymerized linseed oil in your recipe?

    There aren't too many polymerized linseed oils out there, Tried & True Danish Oil is polymerized linseed oil. Blending my own finish in years past typically meant a 50/50 mix of Minwax oil-based varnish (brush on thickness) and pure tung oil, making essentially a spar varnish. Sometimes a 1:1:1 mix of those two along with mineral spirits.

    Thanks,
    Steve.
     
  14. Don Wattenhofer

    Don Wattenhofer

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    I had the very same problem long before you started turning, it is just another example of a poor unnecessary product.
     
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  15. Donna Banfield

    Donna Banfield

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    Steve, I'm buying my Boiled Linseed Oil from a big box store, in gallon containers. I've not used Tried and True, so cannot make comments on them. In my very early days of figuring out finishes, I tried a true pure tung oil finish, and my experience was unpleasant. That may have been my own naivety in user error, I can't say. But I found something that works well, is durable and lasts a long time.

    I use spar varnish on my outdoor furniture, and it's as thick as the Fiddes varnish I use. But I don't thin that, as I only apply one coat --every year :-(
     
  16. Steve Tiedman

    Steve Tiedman

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    Thanks, Donna.

    Steve.
     
  17. Doug Freeman

    Doug Freeman

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    Donna, your finish routine is very similar to mine. Which Fiddes varnish do you use, and why that particular brand/type? Have you experimented with other brands?
     
  18. Donna Banfield

    Donna Banfield

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    I have used Behlens Varnish, and found them both to be fine for use. My preference is to use the satin finish, but in a pinch I used semi-gloss. Lately, Behlens has been hard to find; I ordered my last case of Fiddes right from the manufacturer.
     
  19. Michael Nathal

    Michael Nathal

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    Donna, in your original post, you mentioned you were avoiding a film finish. But I don't understand how the above is not a film finish. It is my understanding that anything with varnish will build a film. Diluting the varnish with BLO will limit the film build up, but nevertheless, it will build given enough coats.
     
  20. Doug Freeman

    Doug Freeman

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    Read her process again - wiped dry before the finish dries. I use a very similar process, but not for anything that utensils will touch because it will still scratch up over time, just less than a film over the wood will.
     

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