Moderators: Random Orbital Bob, nev, Noel, Charley, CHJ

 Reply
User avatar
By AndyT
#1213444
Over the years I have read lots of disparaging comments about the use of Danish Oil on ash. Most of them make comparisons with yellow bodily fluids.
I don't get these comments, as my experience is different. If I show you what I mean, you can tell me if that's what you meant all along.

Our bedroom has two wardrobes in ash - one of them an old one, the other one made by me.
It also has two ash bookcases. They are all the same colour, which I like. The pieces I built are all finished in Danish Oil. The old wardrobe has probably had something like Briwax or an equivalent - whatever was used in old furniture shops in the 90s.

This picture shows the larger bookcase when it was new, (seven years ago) next to the wardrobe I made, about 10-15 years old in the photo.

Image

Over the years since I made the bookcase I have not put any more finish on it and it now matches the wardrobe, which looks about the same. I assume the darkening is just normal ageing and the effect of natural light on the wood.

Here's the other bookcase - about 20 years old now.

Image

And here's a bit of the old wardrobe (cropped to conceal untidy room!)

Image

Allowing for the vagaries of digital cameras and their auto white balance, and for my own colour vision which does not always match other people's, all four pieces look about the same to me.

And I think the colour is fine!

Are they the horrible urine colour people complain about? Or are they what you would expect of a timber which while pale when freshly cut will naturally darken over the years?
User avatar
By custard
#1213445
Are they the horrible urine colour people complain about? Or are they what you would expect of a timber which while pale when freshly cut will naturally darken over the years?


That's the key Andy, time and exposure to air and light.

Unfortunately the judgement on a finish is made immediately after application, not five years down the line. I guess that's inevitable but it's still a shame. Take American Cherry for example, lots of people avoid it because it has a reputation for blotchiness, and those that do use it will often follow elaborate finishing routines to minimise blotchiness. But all it takes is six months to a year and Cherry will start to patinate and any blotchiness will disappear.

I guess there's also a fashion component, and right now what many customers want is a bone white timber with a matt surface. Any hint of yellowing is seen as evidence of being old and musty, which in our iPhone era is a hard sell.

Having said that Sycamore and Maple, with the wrong finish, can go a very nasty tangerine colour which time only seems to make worse!
User avatar
By Tasky
#1213478
I haven't a clue about finishes or anything, but the bookshelf looks fine to me, colour-wise... The top looks bowed, but that could be a trick of the camera! :p

However, that wardrobe is lovely... I'd be quite proud if my efforts turned out as good as that!!
User avatar
By AndyT
#1213480
Tasky wrote:I haven't a clue about finishes or anything, but the bookshelf looks fine to me, colour-wise... The top looks bowed, but that could be a trick of the camera! :p

However, that wardrobe is lovely... I'd be quite proud if my efforts turned out as good as that!!


Definitely lens distortion, but thanks!

It was a much simpler build than it looks.
The box is just veneered MDF, held together with glue, screws and battens where they don't show. The doors are square section PAR ash, held together with dowels. The T&G was bought ready machined, as was the ovolo moulding which is planted on to make a rebate to hold it.
I think it's a useful example of how a beginner can make good use of a timber merchant's machining options. It was designed to complement the older one in a simpler way and provide better hanging space (ie in a deeper box).

Here's a better picture showing how big the gap is between the doors :oops:

Image
User avatar
By custard
#1213485
The first piece of furniture in this link is 250 year old European Walnut, the second piece is 300 year old Ash. Likely they both originally would have been varnished, but of course they could have been refinished multiple times since.

Time cures all.

https://pegsandtails.wordpress.com/prop ... e-program/
User avatar
By Tasky
#1213499
AndyT wrote:I think it's a useful example of how a beginner can make good use of a timber merchant's machining options.

Wherever possible, I'd do that, certainly in the beginning stages. PAR wood, certainly, if only for decent faces/edges to help get you started on the dimensioning!

AndyT wrote:Here's a better picture showing how big the gap is between the doors :oops:

Between the doors looks absolutely fine from where I'm standing.
Sliiiiiiiiight gap above the left door, if you want to get pedantic, but I've seen far worse from professionally machined furniture from reasonably well respected brands, so I think you're doing well!
And again, the grain on that is lovely - All the girls here at work are jealous!
User avatar
By ED65
#1213572
Well done Andy =D>

It must be mentioned that your basic untinted Danish oils can and do vary in colouring and some, being much higher in oil, are quite a bit darker than others which have a higher resin content (in the tin some do look like BLO with just a splash of varnish added!) :lol: Then the number of coats makes a difference, three or four adding noticeably more to the ambering than just one or two.

Obviously what the person likes dictates what they'll think of the resulting colour in any case.

If someone wants their ash to keep some of that whitish quality the bare wood has then none of the standard oil-based finishes is going to cut it for them; even a very pale oil (walnut or poppy) will deepen the tone unacceptably. Some don't even like the slight colour imparted by the palest of bleached shellacs, so they'd tend to go for one of the water-white finishes.
User avatar
By AndyT
#1213590
Thanks for all the kind words.

Now you have softened me up, it's time for all the "yellow fluid" commenters to pitch in. I shan't be offended - I know what I like.

Do these pieces show the colour you object to? If not, let's see some examples which do!
User avatar
By custard
#1213629
Now you have softened me up, it's time for all the "yellow fluid" commenters to pitch in. I shan't be offended - I know what I like. Do these pieces show the colour you object to? If not, let's see some examples which do!


Andy, you're the one living with the pieces, so your opinion is the only one that counts.

What I can say is that when I show clients test boards with different finishing options then a clear pattern emerges.

Here's a board of Hard Maple, sanded to 240 grit, with four finishes. One the left is the natural and unfinished wood, next to that is Osmo Raw (the version of Osmo with a slight blue/white tint to neutralise any yellowing), next is Osmo Poly X, and finally is a wiping varnish.

Finishing-Hard-Maple.jpg


This is just a poor phone photo, but in real life you'd see the Osmo Raw is very close to the natural timber, the PolyX is noticeably darker, and the wiping varnish is much darker still. Clients are overwhelming in their preference, they want Osmo Raw and they absolutely do not want wiping varnish. When it comes to paler timbers the phrase I hear all the time is "driftwood", that's the theoretical ideal for the vast majority of my customers, bone white and dead matt. More and more furniture makers are going to quite extreme lengths to try and deliver this. There are some extremely expensive, UV resistant spray solutions, and many makers are adding a good few hours to the build process by hitting timber with a two-pack bleach solution.

Now there's a twist to all this, and one that you touched upon in an earlier post. This test board is resting on my bench, which is itself made of Hard Maple. I can't remember what finish I originally applied to the bench, but I'm pretty sure it will have all worn away now. So what the bench shows is the colour Hard Maple turns after several years exposure to air and light. Osmo Raw will slow this change down, but nothing can prevent it completely.

Which all makes for a confusing situation. I regularly hear clients objecting to the wiping varnish colour in the strongest possible terms. But I've never had a client come back to me after several years with objections about how a piece as aged. I guess we all just get used to the stuff that surrounds us.
User avatar
By Sheffield Tony
#1213638
I have made a few ash chairs now, with the oldest about 4 years old, all finished with Rustins Danish oil. The colours now are quite like Andy's - the most recent quite white still, the oldest a sort of pale biscuit brown. I rather like it.

Now, I confess I've never been much troubled by fashion, but I think I'm not fond of this white look. Reminds me of teeth and skin whiteners - fakery. I prefer a finish to afford protection, but otherwise leave the wood looking - and feeling - as much like natural wood as possible.

Linseed oil can be a step too far though, some light woods come up almost JCB yellow !