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By MarkDennehy
#1226708
Quick question (like "how do you sharpen?" is quick I suspect) - what's considered a traditional finish for beech?
Apart from staining it, that is - I'm happy for it to look like beech, it's kindof nice.
By Steliz
#1226710
I don't know what is traditional but I like to maintain the natural look of the wood as much as possible and recently I've tried sealer followed by wax or lemon oil and I'm very happy with that.
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By custard
#1226715
How is it being used Mark?

Water based varnishes are simple enough and don't yellow the timber too badly, they offer decent protection except for red wine and fruit juice where they're pretty useless. Osmo PolyX will darken the timber a bit more and you'll never get a really brilliant gloss, but it will provide better protection and spills and stains. Osmo Raw offers the same protection as PolyX but preserves the paleness of the timber better, however it's basically very low shine/almost matt only. As Phil says, Danish Oil works well too, they vary brand to brand but generally they'll darken the wood a whisker more than Osmo, they give a similar level of shine, and the better ones offer roughly similar protection.

It's really about what level of protection you need, what level of gloss you want, and how much you want to preserve the pale colour?
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By MarkDennehy
#1226721
It's a toy for a 13-year-old girl Custard (note that I didn't say a child's toy because I like having all my fingers :D ). It's a school locker for one of her dolls.

Image

That's not quite finished yet, there's a door to go on still (but that was yesterday and today the carcass is basically finished in the white unless I go nuts and add stringing which I'm rather itching to). It doesn't have a close deadline and in fact I have to take a quick break on it to work on a fathers day gift but that's also in beech, it's a japanese toolbox design:

Image

Again, not done yet and I just had to redo the sides completely, but the main carcass for that is now glued up and I'm hoping to get the dowel pins made for it tonight, and this one I do want to put some stringing on.
Also, you might recognise the material for the lid :)
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By MikeG.
#1226722
I'm a recent convert to water based lacquers. They don't yellow, and you can even get them with a white tint to combat yellowing of the wood over time. Dead easy to apply, too.
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By custard
#1226725
Mike, the whole white tint thing is to combat short term yellowing rather than over time.

I've tested a few, and I've seen tests on more from other makers. They work superbly well when they're not exposed to direct sun, but it doesn't take that long in a south facing location before they're indistinguishable from similar finishes without a tint.

Incidentally, when I originally trained as a cabinet maker it was still common practise, when hammer veneering a paler timber, to add a pinch of white pigment to your hide glue in order not to yellow the result...at least until after the piece had been sold and delivered!
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By custard
#1226727
Actually Mark's photos remind me of another issue with tinted finishes. They're fine with normal grain, but when you get the ripple or fiddleback figure that are so common with many paler timbers (see the Rippled Sycamore in Mark's project), you'd find that a tint would kill the chatoyance and subtlety of that ripple stone dead.

To make ripple figure pop you really need some kind of oil based finish. It's a tough call with stuff like Rippled Sycamore or Fiddleback Maple, do you enhance the figure and yellow the project, or retain the pale look but fail to squeeze all the impact from the figure? There's really no finishing option that allows you to do both.
Last edited by custard on 10 Jun 2018, 18:56, edited 1 time in total.
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By ED65
#1226733
How far back do you want to go Mark? Everything was finished in the same old standbys – wax or oil – if you go back far enough. A tad more recently (mid-20th century onwards) commercial beech stuff was very frequently done in spray lacquer, as was most other stuff needless to say.

What you're doing isn't going to need loads of protection like a tabletop so a scant few coats of wiping varnish would do fine, and it won't yellow the beech too much if you use a varnish that isn't especially amber to begin with. Centre handle here is beech after four wiped-on coats of poly, on top of two coats of shellac sanding sealer. Here it is in the white so you can see the colour change.
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By custard
#1226737
MarkDennehy wrote:It's a toy for a 13-year-old girl


I'd stay away from oil because it'll smell rancid if you finish the inside, and whatever she stores in it will also end up ponging.

A couple of coats of water based varnish is all you need, or some sanding sealer followed by wax, but buff well to avoid any transfer of wax onto doll's clothes.
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By MarkDennehy
#1226747
custard wrote:I'd stay away from oil because it'll smell rancid if you finish the inside

Slight aside on that one - does that ever finish offgassing and just smell neutral or is it going to smell for years?
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By custard
#1226749
Even if it isn't quite years and years it can feel like it!

One of the reasons many makers switched from Danish Oil type products to Osmo is if you want to finish a cabinet with a door, or a blanket chest with a lid, then it's often a nice touch to finish the inside of the door/lid, with Osmo if you leave the component for a week or two after finishing the inside with a single coat, then buff hard, you can just about get away with it. If you did that with DO the client be retching.