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Finishing ash staked chair

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GarF

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I'm just about to glue up my second staked chair. I'd originally planned to finish with a coat of shellac sanding sealer and then chestnut microcrystalline wax. Now doubts are creeping in. Is the sealer necessary? I have no problem with topping up the wax periodically, but will there be enough protection?

I've got a tin of colron water based interior lacquer as an alternative base coat.

I'm aiming to preserve the texture of the wood and avoid any funny colour change- I keep reading about ash yellowing badly if oiled.

Suggestions/reassurance gratefully received. Although the client (eldest daughter) might yet specify some wild paint scheme which renders the matter irrelevant, except for future reference.
Cheers
G
 

Trevanion

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You can just wax the timber bear without any sealers or finishes prior to waxing, make sure to do a test piece first before you do the chair just to make sure you're happy with it. I find so long as it's a light coloured shellac sanding sealer it doesn't really affect the Ash too much, I would definitely prefer a sealer then a wax rather than wax bare.

If you do end up painting it, Ash looks great painted after the soft grain has been wire brushed with a brass brush. It really shows the grain lovely through the paint.
 

mrpercysnodgrass

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Ash like all very light/white timbers will yellow with age and the more it is exposed to daylight the faster it will happen. Water based lacquers do tend to slow the darkening process. I would not recommend waxing onto bare timber, the wax will just sink into the grain and disappear. So a coat of your colron lacquer rubbed well in with a lint free rag or sponge then microcrystalline wax on top will give a good finish without it appearing too polished.
 

woodbloke66

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Osmo Raw is supposed to work very well on ash and other light coloured timbers - Rob
 

GarF

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Thanks for all the suggestions. At the moment we seem to be erring towards duck egg blue :roll: . I've no problem with that per se, as long as people don't assume that it's an attempt at shabby sh**e!

So I shall try to retain these ideas for future reference and apply myself to finding the right paint- ie acceptable colour for herself, and sufficiently thin to show off the lovely grain for me.
Cheers
G
 

xy mosian

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Wouldn't you know? I have spent the afternoon going through long held bookmarks. One of them specifically mention a paint finish that allows grain to show through *****!
I'll try to remember the site, don't hold your breath.
xy
 

GarF

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I've had reasonable results in the past with bog standard emulsion. Rolled on and well burnished with wire wool. Has the advantage of almost limitless colour options and cheap as chips- should be able to cover a chair with a tester pot so I won't be stuck with a nearly full tin which is too good to chuck out but no use for anything else!
G
 

MikeG.

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Emulsion slapped on then wiped off can then be sealed, if you so desire, with a varnish, wax, or lacquer, giving a range of finish effects from semi-opaque to barely-a-tint. You can manage a half-passable liming effect with white or cream emulsion and vigorous wiping. I guess the only reason it isn't talked about more often is that a bit of snobbery attaches to wood-finishing, imbuing it with a mysticism it doesn't deserve, and a dead easy common-or-garden process such as I describe isn't highbrow enough for some.
 

custard

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There are two problems with finishing Ash. The first has been talked about, how to deal with the yellowing. But the second problem hasn't been mentioned. Ash is a very open grained timber, and unless the grain is filled over time those pores will fill up with grime.

Recently I was approached by someone for whom I'd made a child's windsor chair in Ash and Elm about twenty odd years ago. The chair itself had held up well, but I was disappointed in the simple oil finish.

Child's-Windsor.jpg


The grain was full of household dirt and rather than patinated it just looked grubby. I had heard that Ash only suffered in this way with open coal fires, but this chair was in a centrally heated house.

Personally I would now lay down a film of sanding sealer or shellac before applying oil or wax to Ash, and I'd also consider some grain filling. You might argue (and I'd sympathise) that grain filling on staked furniture is inappropriate finishing, in which case I'd go the shellac/sanding sealer route.
 

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woodbloke66

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custard":1fx5haud said:
Ash is a very open grained timber, and unless the grain is filled over time those pores will fill up with grime.
I wonder whether several coats of a quick drying, dead flat acrylic wax finish might solve the problem of filling the pores? This is one of the issues that I'm pondering at the moment regarding some Olive Ash recently purchased. The satin variety is too shiny for me, but I'm tempted to try the dead flat version - Rob
 

Sheffield Tony

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I find Custard's chair a bit strange. That darkening looks pretty uniform, unlike a patina from use and handling. I can see how that could come from airborne pollution like smoke, but otherwise are we sure nothing else as gone wrong in refinishing or subsequent care of the chair ?

The ash chairs / stools I've made I've finished with 2-3 coats of Danish oil (Rustins) and wax. Initially the colour varies a bit with the origin of the ash I think, from quite light to a little yellowed (DON'T use linseed oil unless you like very yellow !), but all blend down to a sort of pale rich tea biscuit colour, which I rather like.

Most of my stuff is a tooled finish from the lathe, not sanded, which might make a difference to dirt embedding. I wouldn't want to fill the grain - I want it to feel like wood ! Mind you, if I had a child's chair from 20 years ago, I would also quite like it to have collected a patina from frequent use :D
 

GarF

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Custard's point strikes a resonant chord for me. Furniture in our house is still subjected to the sticky mitts treatment- the thought of which combined with the open grain of ash makes me shudder! Never mind the finish suiting the historical context of the piece- nobody wants to sit on the icky sticky chair.

Would sanding the wet shellac sealer help fill the pores?
G
 

woodbloke66

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GarF":59xvi8i0 said:
Would sanding the wet shellac sealer help fill the pores?
G
No finishing expert here, but I don't think so. You've actually got to use something to fill up the pores; hence my suggestion of several thin coats of quick drying, dead flat acrylic polish, after which I'd use some wax to give a hint of a shine - Rob
 
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