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Finish on turned work, especially bowls

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Anonymous

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I have tried several methods but get what I think is MY best with 5 or 6 applications of Danish oil, sanding VERY LIGHTLY between coats and dusting off with tack cloth. I have fairly clean conditions but not "clinical" However it never appears as good as the finish I see at the craft fairs etc. Not that my finish is "gritty" but it looks a little "heavy" and "deep"
Is 6 coats too much or should I be thining the oil and with what?
Any suggestions please?
 

Johnboy

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On bowls I usually power sand to 320 grit then hand sand down to 800 grit. A couple of coats of sanding sealer cut back with wire wool. Use a Liberon woodturners wax stick and buff with a soft cloth. This gives a very shiny finish and I then apply Black Bison wax with wire wool and buff up again. This gives a nice sheen and feels good too. Easy to maintain with additional coats of wax.

John
 

Cutting Crew

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Hi Ben,

In general the end use of the turned work dictates the type of finish is needed, if the work is to be handled, stored in a glass case or even used as a utensil.

Most of my work is for galleries and exhibitions and most of gets finished in the same way, sanded down to at least 800 grit, sealed with cellulose sanding sealer and finally sprayed with a melamine lacquer. The work then stands for 10 to 14 days to cure and is then hand rubbed and buffed on a series of wheels.

Again depending on the final use the piece will either remain a high gloss or be cut back with 0000 steel wool charged with wax. All the products I use come from the Chestnut range.

If spraying is not for you, Chestnut also produce aerosols containing sealer and lacquer.

Hope this helps.

Mike Swain RPT
 
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Anonymous

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Thanks to you both.
I always thin my sealer 50/50 is this correct? And how long should you leave to dry?
What grade steel wool do you use.
I appreciate finishes are dependent on use and will note in future.

Thanks,

Ben
 

Cutting Crew

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Hi Ben,

I personally thin down the sanding sealer, mainly because I spray it on and I find it also helps penetrate the timber better. Using a cellulose based sealer, it dries almost instantly, I cut back the sealed surface ready for the clear or tinted top coats, these I leave to dry for 10 days or so before flatting back with wet and dry 1000 grit used wet and finally buffing with compounds and a wax stick.

Steel wool in 0000 grade, I break a piece off the roll and form it into a small ball shape, tucking the pulled ends into the ball. I'm not sure if this is the correct way, perhaps some of the woodworkers will jump in to help with their methods of applying waxes.

Hope this helps

CC
 

Terry Smart

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Hi all

I've resisted joining this thread until now but now I'm going to dive in and be a bit controversial!

I feel I should state that I don't disagree with anything that has been said, all sound advice so far, but I would like to offer some extra information on a couple of issues.

Firstly, when using Steel Wool, it is worth getting into the habit of cutting it using scissors or a knife rather than tearing it. There is always a possibility of it cutting into your hands when you tear it and the rougher grades will do this before you know it. Whilst talking about Steel Wool remember it is very flammable and burns incredibly easily, especially the 0000 grade. Stray sparks from grinders will set it off!

Now for thinning Cellulose Sanding Sealer (and none of the other types I know of should need thinning except sometimes for spraying).
Now, we sell both Sealer and Thinners so we have no axe to grind about using either. Certainly the product dries quickly and when working on large areas thinning it down will help the application (we say this on the can) and will help brush marks flow out easier etc.
However, we feel that there should be no need to habitually thin the sealer 50/50, which I know is a common practice. I'd like to explain why we think this...

The reasons most often stated for this thinning is to help the product soak in, penetrate or adhere better. This product is designed to stick to wood, it doesn't need any extra help! After all, you wouldn't thin a super glue!
And, the product doesn't need to penetrate any more than it does. Often, if over-thinned, too much will penetrate, sometimes all of it, and this means it isn't allowed to do its job properly. If you were using an undercoat for paint and the whole lot soaked into the wood you wouldn't be happy, but that's what is happening with thinned sealer!

There's a little experiment which can illustrate this nicely. If a 50/50 thinned sealer is applied to bare timber, allowed to dry and then buffed using Burnishing Cream there will probably be no effect as the sealer has soaked in completely and the surface isn't really sealed. All of the sealer is under the surface and therefore when a top coat is applied some of this will sink into the wood. A good finish can still be achieved... but probably not as good as if the product hadn't been thinned.
If the same is done with the neat product (or even thinned 10%) then the sealer will polish to a shine because there is a coating for the Burnishing Cream to work on. The presence of this coating means that the wood is sealed and ready for the application of a finishing coat.

I don't like to rant on about 'you must do it this way' or 'you mustn't do that' as there are very few rules in woodfinishing and I'm always pleased when people experiment with our products. This is one subject I feel strongly about though as it is a popular myth that is passed on as gospel whereas we feel that there are good reasons for not obeying it!
What I'm trying to say is, try using the product without thinning it on small items to see if it makes a difference. If you prefer the finish of the thinned product then carry on with it, but it would be a shame to not even try.
 

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