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PostPosted: 18 Dec 2017, 12:17 
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Making something the attached picture for the wife's Christmas


I have sycamore slices that range from about 10mm - 40mm in length. They are sanded down to 1200 grit and I'm going to mount them on some ply. Not sure if I should leave the slices as they are or finish them with oil or something else. Thoughts are much appreciated. It will just be hung on a wall.

Thanks


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PostPosted: 18 Dec 2017, 13:16 
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That looks really good !! I like the contrasting colours.

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PostPosted: 18 Dec 2017, 14:32 
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How dry was the wood when it was sliced? Or how long since the disks were cut? If it's been a while since the cuts were made, any cracks so far?

Wood doesn't have to be finished, but finish can slow moisture transfer and reduce the peaks and troughs of movement. This helps improve long-term stability so there are further advantages to applying finish than just beautifying the wood.

If the slices were cut a while ago, seem stable and you like how they currently look you could take a chance on applying no finish. If you want to help seal them in hopes of minimising cracking then liberally applying heavily thinned finish is one option. End grain is like a sponge, it'll absorb dilute finish seemingly indefinitely, so you could do 10 coats and think it needs more but a half-dozen would be enough for some benefit.

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PostPosted: 18 Dec 2017, 15:16 
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ED65 wrote:
How dry was the wood when it was sliced? Or how long since the disks were cut? If it's been a while since the cuts were made, any cracks so far?

Wood doesn't have to be finished, but finish can slow moisture transfer and reduce the peaks and troughs of movement. This helps improve long-term stability so there are further advantages to applying finish than just beautifying the wood.

If the slices were cut a while ago, seem stable and you like how they currently look you could take a chance on applying no finish. If you want to help seal them in hopes of minimising cracking then liberally applying heavily thinned finish is one option. End grain is like a sponge, it'll absorb dilute finish seemingly indefinitely, so you could do 10 coats and think it needs more but a half-dozen would be enough for some benefit.


I cut the tree about 3 weeks ago and cut the slices a day or so later. They sat in an airing cupboard for a week or so and then I dried them out in an oven overnight (about 90oC). They are now nice and dry from what I have seen in sanding them. There have been some cracks but I'm not too fussed about that in some ways as it adds to the character in some way.


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PostPosted: 18 Dec 2017, 15:26 
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Grain would be improved with a finish I think, also add some protection from dirt and dust. Popular on the youtube for this kind of project is simply a spray laquer.


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PostPosted: 18 Dec 2017, 15:32 
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Rorschach wrote:
Grain would be improved with a finish I think, also add some protection from dirt and dust. Popular on the youtube for this kind of project is simply a spray laquer.


That's helpful, I have spray lacquer that could use.

The other thing I was thinking was that I might want some of the slices to have a bit of a darker colour to them like in the photo in my first post. I have some boiled linseed oil as well as some wood dyes that I might test to see what colours they bring out. Thoughts on how that might look?


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PostPosted: 18 Dec 2017, 16:06 
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Would probably look very nice. I have not tried it myself but have seen people use laquer ove BLO, I assume you would want it to be thoroughly dried though.


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PostPosted: 19 Dec 2017, 10:22 
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The slices will naturally darken over time with exposure to light, but since it's sycamore probably not that much.

Oiling will darken the wood a bit, as well as maximise any contrast, but it will also add a noticeable yellow tone. You'll see the effect immediately when you oil a scrap.

You can probably get away with using spray lacquer over BLO but it depends on the lacquer or 'lacquer' (very different products can be called lacquer by their makers). And as Rorschach mentions you would want to wait for the oil to be thoroughly 'dry' first. Which is a problem as curing time for BLO is said to be about a month. Given the time of year you should expect it to be longer if your working area is a little cold. And not to pile on the bad news because this is end grain the oil will have soaked in deeply so it can't cure as quickly as it would on long-grain surfaces where it's very very thin and has easier access to oxygen.

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PostPosted: 19 Dec 2017, 11:32 
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ED65 wrote:
The slices will naturally darken over time with exposure to light, but since it's sycamore probably not that much.

Oiling will darken the wood a bit, as well as maximise any contrast, but it will also add a noticeable yellow tone. You'll see the effect immediately when you oil a scrap.

You can probably get away with using spray lacquer over BLO but it depends on the lacquer or 'lacquer' (very different products can be called lacquer by their makers). And as Rorschach mentions you would want to wait for the oil to be thoroughly 'dry' first. Which is a problem as curing time for BLO is said to be about a month. Given the time of year you should expect it to be longer if your working area is a little cold. And not to pile on the bad news because this is end grain the oil will have soaked in deeply so it can't cure as quickly as it would on long-grain surfaces where it's very very thin and has easier access to oxygen.



Might well just leave the lacquer at the moment then and possibly spray it further down the line. I put some different finishes on some of the slices last night so I'll get a photo tonight to show what they look like. I was also going to put some text on one of the slices with a wood burner but a tip broke in the end of it yesterday when I was taking it out! Bit annoying as I'm not sure now if I'll be able to burn the text into the wood. I was thinking of possibly printing text in reverse onto plastic from an inkjet printer and transferring that onto the wood, seen people do that on youtube.


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