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Birch burr box - what finish?

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kingcod

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I've made a small box from some birch burr from the garden. I'd like a nice shiny finish. French polish appeals to me but since the wood is so pale I'd like to avoid anything that's going to add too much yellow. Ideally a clear finish then.
 

marcros

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Super blonde shellac, goes by a number of different names but you want the lightest grade, unwaxed.
 

ED65

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If you want the finish to literally be as pale as can be then most water-bourne finishes are 'water white', but they do the least to enhance a wood's figure and any optical qualities.

With a burr it seems a shame not to maximise figure ("popping the grain" in American parlance) then oiling first is a good idea, but unfortunately even a very pale oil can add noticeably to the yellowness and you potentially face a long drying period before you can overcoat it with a hard finish.
 

CHJ

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I personally would use a Hard Wax Oil to 'pop' the figuring & provide a handling resistant finish.
How much this would darken you base material beyond your preference I'm not sure.

This is 3 coats of Hard Wax Oil (Chestnuts) on Beech for an indication.


It is important to let the oil polymerise and lightly flatten between coats if you want the depth of gloss.
 

custard

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I agree with Marcros, shellac is an excellent finish for boxes, and super blonde shellac is superb over paler timbers.

I know some cabinet makers who are concerned that the purple dye used in methylated spirits will add a tinge. Personally I don't find that a problem, but if you're still concerned there's a little trick to deal with it,. The dye in meths is very fugitive (it fades and disappears in sunlight) so put your meths bottle in a south facing window, after a few weeks it will be almost totally clear.
 

custard

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Just to illustrate the point, here are two bottles of meths.
Meths-01.jpg


They both started out the same purple colour, but then the one on the right had the sunbathing treatment!
 

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