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Finish for Iroko

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A

Anonymous

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I'm making a pair of bedside cabinets out of Iroko and have found the the lumber I purchased was a dark brown on the outside and a golden yellow on the inside. Being new to this game, I am assuming that Iroko darkens with age. I have planed most of the darkness away and plan to build the cabinets with the golden side showing.

My question is: if I use polyurethene varnish on these, will the wood still darken over time (not that I mind) or would I be better off using a type of stain to give me an even finish?
 

sawdustalley

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Varnish. What a way to ruin a nice wood.

It will still brown with varnish, but personally I would never varnish a perfectly nice piece of furniture, if you've seen norm doing this, you shouldn't follow.

Tyr using a nice finish, shellac maybe, or a wax.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Lumber? Dave what's that then :lol:

Iroko like any wood will mellow/darken with age and exposure to light, even with the finish you choose to use.

If the Iroko was very dark before you planned it, was it mellowing or was it also dirty? If you want to get the finish to darken considerably, then you may have to help it along with stain but remember that the finish you use clear or otherwise will darken the Iroko by itself. Test is buy wetting it (spit will do). Personally I wouldn't stain Iroko but you know what you want it for.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
oops - didn't know that varnish was frowned upon so much :oops: I have waxed one or two smaller pieces that I have made, what wax would you recommend for this furniture?

It was both mellowing and slightly dirty. The dirt was fairly shallow, but the darker colour goes about 1/4 inch deep (on all sides). I do understand that all wood will darken with time and I don't really mind what colour it comes out in the end as I am still practising, I just want to do what is right for the wood.

I've seen the appends on Shellac and am tempted to try that......both wax and Shellac seem easier than Varnish (which was a right pain on the Ottoman). I had heard that these type of finishes need to be 'topped up' every 6 months or so - is that correct?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Dave,

As already said, the wood will darken anyway whatever you do.

If you wax it without sealing first it will become grimy and sticky after a period of time attracting dirt and dust. If you seal first this would be better.
If you use a shellac to do this it won't withstand any damage or spillage especially if waxed afterwards!

If you seal with a thinned polurethane, rub down, then use a suitable wax
this would be the most durable. Shellac by the way is the BASIS of numerous finishes all with different uses and qualities. Its easy to buy, apply and use, but is not a durable finish for working surfaces.


Use oil based poly not water based.

Regards
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
James,

Your'e far too young to have such a closed mind about finishing!!

Shellac and wax went out with the ark, possibly ON the ark even.

Dont forget varnish comes in many forms ie Shellac, poly, acrylic,oil etc

If you want a finsh thats going to fingerprint every time you touch it and mark everytime you put something on it any way other than carefully, then use shellac and wax. BUT if you use wax make sure its in one of those little nicely shaped pots selling under the name of "Lord Shereton"
Thats by far the best one to get, not!

The best wax is micro crystaline as used in conservation.

Anyone heard of it I wonder?

Regards
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Having recently written a thesis on Microcrystalline Wax and their application in Industry I thought I would post this condensed extract to explain in simple terms what it is.

Microcrystalline waxes are separated from crude oil during the production of heavy (residual or bright stock) lubricating oils. First a high oil product is produced which is called petrolatum; the petrolatum can be further refined as is or deoiled to produce a microcrystalline wax. Microcrystalline waxes contain much more branching and are of a higher molecular weight than paraffin waxes. These waxes are used in many applications including cosmetics, adhesives, coatings and polishes
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I didn't realise this was such as emotive subject.

As my wife will be putting cups of tea on these cupboards, what I need is a durable finish. From what I have read so far, this would appear to be thinned oil based (only type I use anyway) poly to seal. Then a Microcrystalline Wax to finish. Yes? If so, where does one buy this sort of wax?

Also, the only waxes I've ever seen for sale say that they should only be used on an untreated surface. So I am assuming this is not the case for Microcrystalline Wax.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Stevezm,

Well, you would have had to just have written a piece on this wax would'nt you!! Is nothing on this forum exclusive?!

Theres me thinking what a clever sod I am for coming out with it as a suggestion and then that pops up!

Oh well, the quality I like about it is the fact that it doesnt fingermark and also the ease of application. But the price? My god HOW MUCH????

Dave,
I've always put ordinary paste wax on to polished surfaces. I'm a restorer and I need to do this for surface appearance reasons.

Wax directly onto the wood attracts dust, dirt, grime into the grain which may or may not develope into what people call a patina in 100 years time!
Unfortunately, in 2 years time if you do this to your cabinets, the surface will have, as I said earlier ,dust, dirt and grime on it!!

As you say. Oil based polyurethane thinned with white spirirt, ragged on and flatted between coats then finished with suitable wax should do the job.

For Micro thingy wax, ring directory enquiries ask for London and name of firm as Picador Enterprises. They make it. BUT make sure your'e sitting down cos the last tin I bought cost me something like £40!!!! Was a big one though!

Only drawback with Micro is that its dead clear and imparts no colour to the finish. Darker wax imparts colour and can look better. If you use poly etc ordinary paste wax would be fine.

Cheers
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Therein Lies the Problem Dave, you see Microcrystalline waxes are rare and to my knowledge the only retail outlet in the world is in a cosmetic, handicraft and fishing tackle shop in Minsk, Russia, run by an old Slovakian gentleman by he name Rob Jones.

To further exasperate the problem, Mr Jones, now in his late 90's only opens every third Sunday in the Gregorian calendar so join the queue

Have I blown my cover, said too much Okay Okay, I winged it. I copied the paragraph from a site. Much respect Matstro, you had me thinking
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
OK - thanks for all the inut to date, I think we are nearly there now.

One last question though :D . Given that Microcrystalline wax is a bit like rocking horse droppings to find, any recommendations for a type of 'normal' wax?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Dave,

There must be 100's of waxes out there all vying to be better than each other and I think I must have tried em all in the search for a magical one that puts an instant and deep depth of shine on antique furniture.

I've settled on Mylands. The Antique Mahogany one is the best. Its got lots of body and colour and doesnt evapourate the minute it hits the wood . It also imparts a subtle stain which you may not like. So, try Mylands Antique Brown if you want a clearer finish.

I wouldnt bother with a lot of the Briwax type waxes as they have lots of solvent, toluene I think, which is not nice stuff to breath in.

I reckon everyones now going to chip in with their own favourites and you'll be confused as ever! Come back if you want more info.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Thought someone might say that! What took you so long!!

Granted, Iroko is an oily wood.

Personally I dont like oil much. Its what its going to look like in a few years time that counts. I just don't think it looks as nice and fresh as using a light laquer finish.

But I do accept that its probally the easiest finish to apply. Lots of maintainence for the customer though.

To be sexist here, its probally the housewife that does the dusting, and thats all she will usually want to do = dust. NOT oil! which she will have to do on a regular basis if she wants the peice to keep looking ok.
Its alright starting aff with loads of enthusiasm, working the oil lovingly into the wood etc but that romantic feeling will soon rub off and the pieces will eventually become dry and unloved!

Ditch the oil, go for the laquer!!

I expect you've got lots of lovely looking furniture in your house all nicely oiled Doughnut? I know, I'm a woodworking philistine! Ignore me!!

Nothing personal BTW

Cheeers
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I cant afford the furniture that I make. Just MFI tat in my house Im afraid.
I am not against laquering, as you would have realised if you had read my previous posts. I just felt sorry for the poor bloke being being bombarded by 2000 word posts on different types of wax.
Whilst we are on laquer. Cellulose not water based. Spray dont brush!!!
:D Cellulose finishes make for a happy woodworker :D
Doughnut
 

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