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Finishing Tea lights for Xmas

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bp122

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Hi all

I have managed to make a tea light holder as my first gifting project - which is a block made of oak slabs sandwiched between Sapele (what I had lying around)

Considering Sapele has a nice dark brown-ish colour, I want something that enhances that colour and improves its contrast with Oak (didn't plan this terribly well, but I'm going with it anyway)

Couple of issues I have had:
1. No blooming idea as to what to use to finish it with. Lots of suggestions online - Shellac, Danish Oil, Tung Oil, Poly, varnish, thinned down varnish, boiled linseed oil, wax - but haven't found an silly person's guide of what is for what that is simple enough to read and not get a migrane!

2. I may have not left enough time for the projects (as I have a few more to make and a full time job and booked up weekends) as I didn't know finishing would take days (waiting for hours and hours between coats etc.)

Now, I know and understand that there is an advanced search function on this website, but I can't seem to find an article that is close enough to my predicament and inexperience and the kind of projects I want to finish.

Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated, especially if there is something that works in my favour with the shortage of time, as I am working in the evenings at the moment to "meet the demand"

I am after a moderate to glossy finish that doesn't need to withstand gunfire, but enough to withstand everyday "tea light holder" abuse.

Please help :cry:
 

ED65

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bp122":3t3ika2x said:
...haven't found an Silly person's guide of what is for what that is simple enough to read and not get a migrane!
To a degree there isn't an X is for A and Y is for B kind of guide because most woods aren't fussy and most finishes aren't particular. And for items like this you don't need to overthink it, as almost anything will work; this can be a "use what you have that you like the look of".

But since you want to maximise the contrast between the oak and sapele an oil or oil-based finish is yer man. Danish oil or anything similar would be fine, as would a thinned down poly applied in the same manner (wipe on, wipe off). You might need only three coats, that's usually the minimum that'll give a nice appearance.

Finely sand and buff the wood with a handful of shavings or an old tea cloth before applying the first coat of finish and you'll get a leg up on developing a sheen.
 

sunnybob

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As its a seasonal thing, I just want inject a warning about how many house fires are caused by leaving tea lights burning. Any internet search will show that I'm not scaremongering.
Be careful where they are placed in the house, and give a gentle warning to any one you give them to.
 

bp122

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Thank you all for your suggestions.

phil.p":d3053g24 said:
Osmo PolyX (or Blanchon, Fiddes, Chestnut etc. hardwax oil) is good and quick.
Ordered one on amazon, sadly I couldn't get it locally here for last night.

After watching a YouTube video on Shellac, I bought a small tin from screwfix on my way home, thinking this will get me out of trouble for now. Went home, sanded the thing down with 80, 120 and 180 grits. I was so excited that I can finish the project last night and give it to my wife for her to gift to to her Secret Santa at her work that I didn't even read the label correctly until AFTER i applied it on to the project! Turns out it was a primer sealer and leaves a white tint!!!

After applying I saw that the white stuff wasn't going away (homer) (homer) , so I read the whole thing and there it was written in bold white letters over black background "WHITE TINTED"

Didn't want to let the wife down, so dug around for any sort of finish in the garage - no luck. Didn't want to use veg oil as it would go rancid (or so I have read). But then the penny dropped - I had made a wax to use on my cricket bat out of pure bees wax and raw linseed oil - which I happened to have found two weeks ago during a clear up and had saved it to one side.

Used that on the work piece and buffed it to the best of my ability. And this is the result:
CH1.JPG
CH2.JPG
CH3.JPG


You can still see the white residue in the corners in some places.
I know this is the wrong attitude, but for my first woodworking and art project ever, this will have to do as I had to finish it by last night for it to be gifted today.
In hindsight, I should have used beech instead of Oak for the contrast, but I am still pleased on how this turned out.

Once again, thank you for your suggestions.

sunnybob":d3053g24 said:
As its a seasonal thing, I just want inject a warning about how many house fires are caused by leaving tea lights burning. Any internet search will show that I'm not scaremongering.
Be careful where they are placed in the house, and give a gentle warning to any one you give them to.
- I shall include a note :)

CHJ":d3053g24 said:
Nothing simpler and quicker (10-15 minutes) than Cellulose sanding sealer and wax.

That's all that is used on 90% of the pieces in this thread
And all I've ever used on Tea Light Holders
I will check these out.
 

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ED65

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bp122":2rsl7hoi said:
Didn't want to use veg oil as it would go rancid (or so I have read).
That issue is really overstated in most places. In the recent past it was quite common for salad bowls and implements to be touched up in food oils. And woodworking books and articles for decades suggested finishing the same with those oils, including olive oil which has perhaps the worst reputation in this regard.

I've experimented with finishing stuff in sunflower, safflower and rapeseed oils and never noticed an issue. I know others who have used grapeseed oil, poppy oil and rice bran oils and report good results.

I've also used walnut oil quite a bit and that was rancid before I applied it! Walnut oil has properties somewhat like linseed, although it's not considered as good. Anyway, as with linseed oil you actually benefit from it being oxidised before you use it.

bp122":2rsl7hoi said:
In hindsight, I should have used beech instead of Oak for the contrast, but I am still pleased on how this turned out.
Looks good. The contrast should improve over time with light exposure, the oak going its characteristic brown and the sapele going more toward red tones.
 

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ED65":2094ckhv said:
bp122":2094ckhv said:
Didn't want to use veg oil as it would go rancid (or so I have read).
That issue is really overstated in most places. In the recent past it was quite common for salad bowls and implements to be touched up in food oils. And woodworking books and articles for decades suggested finishing the same with those oils, including olive oil which has perhaps the worst reputation in this regard.

I've experimented with finishing stuff in sunflower, safflower and rapeseed oils and never noticed an issue. I know others who have used grapeseed oil, poppy oil and rice bran oils and report good results.

I've also used walnut oil quite a bit and that was rancid before I applied it! Walnut oil has properties somewhat like linseed, although it's not considered as good. Anyway, as with linseed oil you actually benefit from it being oxidised before you use it.

bp122":2094ckhv said:
In hindsight, I should have used beech instead of Oak for the contrast, but I am still pleased on how this turned out.
Looks good. The contrast should improve over time with light exposure, the oak going its characteristic brown and the sapele going more toward red tones.
Regarding olive oil: I have quite a lot. Every year when I get fresh oil, I put the last of the old oil (10-30 litres)in a big stainless tank, and use for everything from pig feed to lighting fires (only sometimes) to lubricating things. I only recently started using it as a finish. This oil is a mix of oils from years' past - anything up to 6 years old - and it isn't rancid, even though it is not kept in air-tight conditions. It still tastes great, actually.

My only caveats are that firstly I have only been putting oil on wood since April of this year - perhaps it needs longer to go off - and secondly that my oil is the good stuff - cold pressed, unfiltered extra-virgin etc, so on and so forth. If you buy some cheap, off the shelf supermarket oil, there is a good chance it is not even olive oil in the bottle. You may need to spend extra on some high quality oil, which rather defeats the purpose of the exercise. I use it because I have oil coming out of my ears, and need to get rid of it. It seems to work as a finish, and looks great. No hint of going rancid yet.
 

Mike Jordan

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Don't worry to much about the finish, I can assure you that vision through the face shields used by firefighters is limited at best. Anyone else in the area won't be seeing much anyway.
 

bp122

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Mike Jordan":1p351xn3 said:
Don't worry to much about the finish, I can assure you that vision through the face shields used by firefighters is limited at best. Anyone else in the area won't be seeing much anyway.
=D> =D> =D>
 

custard

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Every year I make Christmas gifts for my best furniture clients, I look for something that showcases the highly figured timbers I specialise in and also uses up some of the off-cuts which are otherwise just expensive waste.

This year I've gone for tea light holders. Here are a couple of examples,

Tae-Light-Holder-Bog-Oak.jpg


Tea-Light-Holder-Walnut.jpg


Incidentally, the first one uses some of Mike G's amazing Bog Oak.

They're all finished in a simple, home brewed wiping varnish. It's a subjective thing but I felt these amazing timbers are best displayed with a satin finish and an oil finish (including most Danish Oils) are generally just a bit too matt. There are one or two "short oil" Danish Oils out there, Blackfriars used to be an example, where you'll get a smidgeon more shine. But why mess around when you can easily formulate a wiping varnish that gets you straight to where you want to be in just a couple of coats?
 

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Mike Jordan":syxc6tmd said:
Don't worry to much about the finish, I can assure you that vision through the face shields used by firefighters is limited at best. Anyone else in the area won't be seeing much anyway.
Is the problem that candles are inherently dangerous, or that wooden tea-light holders are guaranteed to catch fire and kill everyone? I can't find an instance of a tea-light holder causing a house fire, although there are plenty of examples of Muppets taking candles to bed with them and other clever ideas, such as putting them on top of a television, without a holder etc.

Has anyone managed to set fire to their tea-light holders?
 
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