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  • finishing wood projects

    Man this thread could be a long one.

    I have a good friend who has been woodworking for over 20 years. He went to a course last week on wood finishing and said he was doing a whole lot of things backwards!

    Anyone want to share some of thier finishing techniques?

  • #2
    Re: finishing wood projects

    I've been out of [serious] woodworking for a while, so I'm no expert. But I remember using shellac. It was my Dad's finish of choice, we even used shellac to seal brick walls in the farmhouse. So a couple weeks ago I went a'shoppin' for some shellac. The guy at the hardware store told me shellac is on its way out, nobody uses it anymore...

    Well, I bought some anyway, and I think I like it. Haven't made a major project with it yet, just monkeying around with it so far. But I like the look it gives the wood. And it has an interesting history.

    - djb
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    A Democracy is 2 wolves and 1 sheep voting on what to have for lunch.

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    • #3
      Re: finishing wood projects

      Depending on the material, mostly stain and polyurathane. Been dabbling with furniture paste wax and hand rubbing it into the wood, nice and smooth.
      If at first you don't succeed, try reading the owners manual.

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      • #4
        Re: finishing wood projects

        Oh yeah, and I used [link removed by request]this stuff [link removed by request] on a shop cabinet. I liked it, too. A pic of the finished cabinet is here.

        For some reason, I don't care for varnish and polyurethane. Not sure why, maybe I'll remember later...

        - djb
        Last edited by RIDGIDadmin; 09-09-2014, 08:48 AM.
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        A Democracy is 2 wolves and 1 sheep voting on what to have for lunch.

        Restore the Republic.

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        • #5
          Re: finishing wood projects

          I've been using gel stains and oil finishes. I'm not a real fan of poly, though it's a very good choice for surfaces that'll be subject to alcoholic drinks, hot things, etc.

          I want to try shellac, but I'm afraid I'd need a sprayer. I understand there's brush shellac and spray cans, too. I may try one or the other of those.
          I put it all back together better than before. There\'s lots of leftover parts.

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          • #6
            Re: finishing wood projects

            All of my jobs have a spray on/wipe off stain, followed by 2 coats of lacquer sanding sealer sanded with 220 paper, then either 2 or 3 coats of semi gloss lacquer, depending on the wood. For me, time is important and the jobs are fairly large. I've used oil poly in certain areas, mainly high moisture areas like hot tub surrounds and some tops, but the dry time is a killer for me, not to mention the mess of overspray. Lacquer dries before it hits the ground so it's just a matter of sweeping it up.

            Just curious, what is your 20 year woodworker doing wrong? LOL Sometimes the "new" stuff is just advertising hype and not really anything special.

            Mark
            Congratulations to Mr. "the sky is falling" Al Gore, nominated the new Village Idiot!

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            • #7
              Re: finishing wood projects

              I recently tried a very new technique...Wife asked what she could do to help with our current project just got done with an entertainment center that stretches across one full wall. So I said well I guess you could finish them explained about sanding between coats etc. Well looks like I forgot to explain about thin coats of poly and to sand and stain with the grain. Turns out that technique doesnt work to well... I have been sanding and re-staining the last week looks like another week after that.

              DJB I really like the look of that shop cabinet. Did you use only that one product with it or a combination of things?

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              • #8
                Re: finishing wood projects

                Depending on the look and feel I want on the project, I use either a mixture of oil/poly/spirits or shellac. With either I wipe on.
                k
                Poplar Branch Wood Crafts

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                • #9
                  Re: finishing wood projects

                  He took the course at Lee Valley by a master craftsman.

                  He was told that under no circumstancse should he sand between coats of finish. He was also told NEVER to sand the final coat, but instead to use some special type of stainless steel wool that will not harm the finish. The instructor encouraged the use of a High volume low pressure (HVLP) system. I plan on taking the course when it becomes available again.

                  What do you guys think?

                  Originally posted by The Wood Meister View Post
                  All of my jobs have a spray on/wipe off stain, followed by 2 coats of lacquer sanding sealer sanded with 220 paper, then either 2 or 3 coats of semi gloss lacquer, depending on the wood. For me, time is important and the jobs are fairly large. I've used oil poly in certain areas, mainly high moisture areas like hot tub surrounds and some tops, but the dry time is a killer for me, not to mention the mess of overspray. Lacquer dries before it hits the ground so it's just a matter of sweeping it up.

                  Just curious, what is your 20 year woodworker doing wrong? LOL Sometimes the "new" stuff is just advertising hype and not really anything special.

                  Mark

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                  • #10
                    Re: finishing wood projects

                    drift393 -

                    The cabinet is hardwood plywood from Lowe's (or Home Depot?), birch, I think. It was first stained with Minwax Golden Oak (#210B), then the Bee Wax stuff was rubbed on.

                    In answer to my own question above, why I don't like varnish and polyurethane:
                    My Great Aunt (Grandfather's sister) refinished antique furniture all her life, I don't think there was one piece of furniture in her entire house that she didn't refinish. And I remember her always lamenting the thick layers of varnish she had to remove. She'd start with a piece that was practically black, with no grain visible on the surface, and when she was finished it'd have a beautiful rich, deep grain look. I thought it was amazing, how she made something so dark look so good.

                    I don't know if polyurethane darkens with age like varnish does, but I have come to like the oil/wax finish better anyway. Our oak bedroom furniture was made by Oakwood Interiors, and has the Classic Oak "Wax" Finish. It takes some maintenance, because we have to routinely re-coat it with oil, but it's almost stunningly beautiful after the oil is rubbed in. The grain is accented and the surface shines...to me, it doesn't compare to a sealed finish.

                    So that's why I don't use varnish and polyurethane. It's mostly Aunt Besse's fault that I now like the natural, open grain look of wood that has not been sealed with a finish. (Thanks, Aunt Besse! ) There's probably a name for this kind of wood finishing, leaving the grain "open" if that's even the right term. But whatever it's called, I like it!

                    - djb
                    sigpic

                    A Democracy is 2 wolves and 1 sheep voting on what to have for lunch.

                    Restore the Republic.

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                    • #11
                      Re: finishing wood projects

                      Originally posted by franklin pug View Post
                      He took the course at Lee Valley by a master craftsman.

                      He was told that under no circumstancse should he sand between coats of finish. He was also told NEVER to sand the final coat, but instead to use some special type of stainless steel wool that will not harm the finish. The instructor encouraged the use of a High volume low pressure (HVLP) system. I plan on taking the course when it becomes available again.

                      What do you guys think?
                      Hmmm. As far as sanding, you HAVE to sand the "sanding sealer" IF you are using lacquer. That's why it has that name. The solids in it do the job of filling grain and giving you something to sand smooth. To me, it would be like trying to paint a car without sanding the primer!

                      As far as sanding between top coats, I do not do that. Lacquer will melt in to the previous coat so a mechanical bond is not needed.

                      If I was using your basic oil polyurathane, I ALWAYS sand between coats because poly does NOT melt into the previous layer and relies soley on a mechanical bond for adhesion.

                      As far as sanding the final coat, well, there will be some who want a super gloss finish and will sand with 1000 grit then use a polish to make it like glass. Personally, once the sanding sealer is smooth, the final finish will be smooth PROVIDING you do not get any crap on the surface between coats. I sometimes will see a speck of dust and need to sand it off between final coats but thats unusual.

                      Using some kind of "steel wool" on the top coat, will, if taken to the extreme, give a very flat sheen. Maybe thats the look he wants. But what if YOU don't?

                      I"m sure this guy has good results with is style of finishing, but he does not have the corner on the market. There are many successful methods of finish, each giving a specific "look and feel" to the surface. It all depends on what you are looking for and how much time and money you want to spend to achieve that look and feel.

                      An HVLP system is nice, providing you have the money and patience. They can be pricey and spraying with a HVLP (conventional) type gun is slow. But remember, I look at this from a different angle. I do semi-production work and do it all by myself so time is important too. My little Wagner 100 dollar airless is a life saver for me. I can lay out 30 cabinet doors and shoot them (edges and one side) in under 5 minutes.

                      I guess the bottom line is do what works best for YOU and gives the best results that either YOU or your CUSTOMER is looking for. No one person has all the answers, but we all contribute ideas and procedures and opinions that when taken together, can make our woodworking either better or easier.

                      Mark
                      Congratulations to Mr. "the sky is falling" Al Gore, nominated the new Village Idiot!

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                      • #12
                        Re: finishing wood projects

                        Hey Wood Meister -
                        What type (brand) of lacquer do you use? Does lacquer have any cons (like varnish, which darkens with age)?
                        - djb
                        sigpic

                        A Democracy is 2 wolves and 1 sheep voting on what to have for lunch.

                        Restore the Republic.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: finishing wood projects

                          I've been using Frazee 68060 lacquer for years. It's a production finish with a "60" sheen. My last trip to Frazee they told me it's now phased out due to the VOC content. (California crap!) So this next job will be with their "water white" lacquer and sanding sealer. I'll let you know how it goes. I hope it works well.

                          Mark
                          Congratulations to Mr. "the sky is falling" Al Gore, nominated the new Village Idiot!

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                          • #14
                            Re: finishing wood projects

                            I can't believe I didn't see someone say Urethane, I use this almost all the time. I think its great stuff, as well as lacquer. Maybe I'm wrong but I think Urethane will give the hardest coat, best sunlight protection, and it doesn't yellow. I'm not a finishing expert but it works well with me and my floors and tables and chairs and book shelf. And I will be using a Urethane base floor finish on my new tile floor, gives it that high gloss and wet look... Garager ...
                            Great Link for a Construction Owner/Tradesmen, and just say Garager sent you....

                            http://www.contractorspub.com

                            A good climbing rope will last you 3 to 5 years, a bad climbing rope will last you a life time !!!

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                            • #15
                              Re: finishing wood projects

                              I have used oil base polyurathane in the past. My two biggest complaints are drying time and yellowing. If I HAVE to spray it, I do it outside, much to my neighbors displeasure. While it's a great finish and resists almost anything, it will yellow considerably if in a sunny room. It builds fast and the "gloss" version is awesome! But for what I do, lacquer is the only way I can get anything done and not coat the entire shop with gooey poly.
                              Congratulations to Mr. "the sky is falling" Al Gore, nominated the new Village Idiot!

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