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Finishing maple

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tim

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I'm making an island at the mo in maple. The timber I have has some pretty nice figure and I want to make the most of it but keep it as white as poss. Aquacote is great as a surface protector but doesn't make the grain stand out and most oils darken the timber quite considerably.

Given the intended location for this (kitchen!) can anyone suggest a suitable finish or combination of finishes?

Cheers

Tim
 

SimonA

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Hi Tim,

I my be completely off base here but doesn't BLO pop the grain pretty well on Maple. I'm not a great at finishing so somebody else best clarify this......

SimonA
 

Gill

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Hi Tim

I find the Chestnut acrylic lacquer has brought out the grain on my maple table very nicely and there hasn't been any loss of colour. However, the table is kept in the living room and isn't subjected to heavy use; I don't know how it would withstand the rigours of a kitchen.

When I was deciding which finish to use, there was almost universal uproar on one of the forums I visited at the thought of using an oil. I was told that any oil would discolour the wood.

Perhaps you could try a couple of coats of acrylic lacquer topped by some Aquacote?

Gill
 

Chris Knight

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Check with Terry but I don't think it would be a good idea to put aquacote on top of acrylic - forgive me if you have done this and find it works Gill! Even though water borne, there are powerful organics in eg aquacote that might well interfere with an acrylic lacquer
 

tim

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That was my concern as well Chris. What I really want is a penetrating grain enhancer and then a surface finish that is as hard as nails. Already got a suitable answer to the latter but need something that won't react with it and do the job as well.

Will BLO darken it?

Cheers

Tim
 

Scrit

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Yes, BLO will darken whatever it is applied to, as will any oil, but an oil finish will "pop" the grain in the maple - and is a absulute doddle to repair. Why not try a sample to see if you can live with it?

I'd be very wary of mixing finishing materials, i.e. water based over solvent based. Finishes take time to cure (pre-catalysed lacquers take 3 weeks or more to fully cure) and with solvent-based in particular you don't want to apply any surface coating which traps solvent beneath it as this can lead to cloudiness in the underlying solvent-based finish.

Scrit
 

Terry Smart

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I don't know enough to comment about using Aquacote over our Acrylic Lacquer and the problem could be that a test sample looks fine for a couple of weeks and then a reaction takes place after the main job has been done.

The Acrylic Lacquer, once fully dry/cured (up to 21 days for maximum effect) is a tough product but that is I realise a vague term and I'd be reluctant to call it 'tough as nails'.

Hardness of lacquer is very relative... I'm happy to recommend the Acrylic Lacquer or Melamine Lacquer etc for use on tables and even work tops, but that's not to say that the finish can't be damaged; it will withstand a lot but isn't indestructible.
One of the beauties of oil is that the finish is flexible rather than tough, so it will 'give' if the timber is dented. Oils are also easier to repair and maintain.
Lacquers will, in extreme cases, crack and patching it up can be difficult.

Looking forward to seeing any other suggestions...
 

tim

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Scrit":1gkbcrj0 said:
Why not try a sample to see if you can live with it?
Because I won't be living with it - it needs to be installed in the next couple of weeks.

I remember our conversation in Axminster now Terry re hardness (and your agressive customer feedback) and there certainly wouldn't be anu benefit in putting aquacote over the lacquer (I was thinking it was something more delicate when Gill mentioned it).

I'll get a couple of small tins of melamine and acrylic lacquer in and try a test or two.

Cheers

Tim
 

Terry Smart

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Oh dear, now I'm worried! I can't remember our conversation and I'm wondering if my motormouth got the better of me!

Do I owe any apologies to anyone?

Now, who is the custodian of the bunker keys...?
 

Scrit

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tim":19v7yopa said:
Because I won't be living with it - it needs to be installed in the next couple of weeks.
Not in a personal sense! Just by applying BLO and leaving it to dry overnight you should be able to see if the darkening is unacceptable. It is my normal practice if I'm uncertain of the results to get a piece of material and make test strips in different finishes so that I can make a comparison between finishes. Never got round to making permanent sample strips for the paying punters, though. BTW for the last year or so I've restricted my finishing to spraying (mostly pre-cat lacquer) on grounds of durability, but it doesn't make for the most eye-popping of results IMO

Scrit
 

tim

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No Terry - not you being aggressive, your customer being aggressive about particular details re hardening/ drying etc

Scrit - I knew what you mean't :wink: but in my experience of maple is that colour changes etc take a bit more time before they become noticeably darker.

Chris - I shall try Tung, as well as BLO and see what I like more. Am I right to be twitchy about putting a water based finish over the top - although obviously I'll make sure the oil is completely dry.

Cheers

Tim
 

Matt1245

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Havn't some people on here used patina for finishing maple?

Perhaps they'll be along in a bit with words of wisdom.

Matt.
 

Scrit

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Matt

Do you mean Patina? Well, it looks interesting. Care to tell us who stocks it in the UK?

Scrit
 

Adam

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Scrit":32tfy0md said:
Matt

Do you mean Patina? Well, it looks interesting. Care to tell us who stocks it in the UK?

Scrit
Screwfix.


There are plenty of topic on here - just type patina into the search facility, and you'll get plenty of user experiences and comments for best use.

Adam
 

Keystone

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One of the best methods I have come across to pop the grain on Maple is to use a Super Blonde dewaxed shellac.

I have also used clear oils, but like the performance of the shellac better.
 

Chris Knight

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Andy,
Popping the grain is enhancing the natural figure of the wood - making it more pronounced.

In the sample below I have treated different parts of these two boards with oil and shellac and both. The lower part of the lower board is untreated.

Because of the nature of the figure in these boards it is impossible to take a photo that fairly reflects the impression you get as an observer because the boards appear differently from each view point and in each light condition. For that reason I am not going to say which was treated with what as what one sees here is at odds with my visual inspection.

My take is that BLO followed by shellac (a 2lb cut of dewaxed pale stuff) produces the most pop with shellac alone a close second.

 

LyNx

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chris, thanks for taking the time to do the samples.

I'm going to make up a set of samples using a variety of veneers to see what the finished results are, and to see how the different finishes "pop" the different timbers. Very interesting to see the results against the AC / Pre-cat lacquers we use here.

Andy
 

Les1693

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When trying to keep the natural wood colour I always use Liberon Natural Floor Oil, it doesn't yellow or darken the wood. I used it my fitted bedroom units (beech) about 4 years ago and they're still looking as good today as when I fitted them.
 
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