Quantcast

How to finish a burr elm 'plank'

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

OldWood

Established Member
Joined
1 Mar 2005
Messages
902
Reaction score
2
Location
Edinburgh
This is a continuation of my thread asking about re-enforcing this plank, which I'm going to use for an old pendulum and weights clock mechanism. It's about 1 metre long and 400mm at it's widest. It's been thicknessed to 23mm rather roughly.

P1030333 (Small).JPG


The problem area is this, and I'll get round it by temporarily screwing some support on the back while working on it.

P1030334 (Small).JPG


Once finished I can take the support off and there will no stress once the clock is mounted and the unit hung.

My question is that I come from the round world where sanding and polishing is made easy for you. I'm not so confidant about it in the flat world and would appreciate some guidance. I should be able to get access to a drum sander which will take out the planing irregularities, and I assume after that it is a case of sanding through the grades with an orbital sander - to what grade ? and how do I tackle the burry bark bits ?

And finally, but I'm sure it won't be, what finish should I be considering ?

Thanks
Rob
 

Attachments

Midnight

Established Member
Joined
11 Oct 2003
Messages
1,805
Reaction score
0
Location
Scotland
:shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:

Holy CH1T...!!! I mean... HOLY CH1T...!!!!!!!...

I've only ever heard about boards like that... was just about to give up on them as a myth fed to noobs to keep them interested... then again... can a burr THAT size technically be called a board???? Man... that'd have me stood scratchin ma heid for months tryin to figure out how the heck t plane it... I'd love to hear what you intend to do with it...
 

andersonec

Established Member
Joined
25 Jun 2010
Messages
1,443
Reaction score
0
Location
Lincolnshire
Ref. the finish, I have seen large pieces of burr made into coffee tables with Resin poured onto it, the stuff had to be a couple of millimeters thick and completely filled the voids, it was as though there was a sheet of glass wrapped around the thing, obviously had to be done in a completely dust free environment, I think it could have been Polyester Resin.
With highly figured wood like that, the finer the grit the more the grain shows so 500 grit min (IMO), you could try finishing it with a scraper and doing the bark with a soft brass wire brush.

Andy
 

Steve Maskery

Established Member
Joined
26 Apr 2004
Messages
11,708
Reaction score
50
Location
Kirkby-in-Ashfield
It depends what look you want to achieve.

Rustin's Plastic Coating will give a glass-like finish to almost anything. It can look fantastic and it can look ghastly.
For a more natural finish you could try one of the hardwax oils like Chestnut or Osmo. Both excellent in my experience.

You could also consider filling all the voids. Pete Maddex has done this on some pippy oak and it looks terrific. He used cheap epoxy and instant coffee, I believe.

Just food for thought.
S
 

Pete Maddex

Established Member
Joined
22 Apr 2005
Messages
9,073
Reaction score
52
Location
Nottingham
Hi, Rob

Thats a very, very nice piece of wood.

I would plane it and scrape it but I do have a scraper plane that works on knotty stuff.
I hate sanding but if thats your only option go for it. I would be inclined to carefuly wire brush the bark areas to remove any loose stuff.

I used Wicls own brand epoxy and instant coffee for filling knots in pippy oak, but if your are sanding I would use the dust for a filler.

I use Danish oil on most stuff, can't stand plastic coating stuff with varnish.

Pete
 

OldWood

Established Member
Joined
1 Mar 2005
Messages
902
Reaction score
2
Location
Edinburgh
Thanks guys for your advise, and it's nice to hear your envy! I'll put in a plug for Jim at Scottish Woods in Oakley in Fife. It sounds as if I'd better not tell you how much I paid for it then !! :lol: Gloat.

Mike - I had a fancy some half dozen years go to make a Vienna clock with a long pendulum and weights, and picked up a mechanism with an 8" face off Ebay. The project for the case stagnated as all too often these somewhat ambitious ones do (in my case anyway!), and it suddenly came to back to mind a few months ago with the solution being just to mount the mechanism on a simple board. This board just jumped out at me on Wednesday at Jim's - not quite 'simple' but certain simpler than a full Vienna case.

I just hope that HID will like it as she can be a bit picky ! If she doesn't then I will at least make some good money on it.

I too don't like the plastic skin look and high gloss will not be on for this either, and I'm not sure I want to fill in the inclusions (coffee grains, sawdust and CA glue work well too - and set incredibly fast and hard). The wood has so much character and colour that I'll be looking for a finish that doesn't mask any of that.

Rob

ps Mike I've only just noticed you're in God's country - where abouts?
 

AndyT

Established Member
Joined
24 Jul 2007
Messages
11,800
Reaction score
189
Location
Bristol
I think Jim (Jimi43) will be along soon, to explain that what you really need is an infill plane.
He might have a picture or two of some of his selection, posed on a somewhat smaller piece of burr, which used to look like a big bit till you showed us this!!
 

Midnight

Established Member
Joined
11 Oct 2003
Messages
1,805
Reaction score
0
Location
Scotland
Rob, as an auld fart in training with very auld school values, it's a relief to hear you intend the natural beauty of the board speak for itself... I'm north of you, about 30 miles NW of Aberdeen... quiet wee place with a hill for a back garden.. dead civilised... ;)
 

Wood Monkey

Established Member
Joined
4 Oct 2006
Messages
180
Reaction score
0
Location
Woking
Hi Rob

I have a Metabo 150mm random orbit sander which has a 'clickable' base so it offers varying orbit sizes, large and small. Basically you get 2 grades within a grade.

I sanded some very puppy Oak starting with 60 grit on large orbit and switching to small orbit after the entire surface has been completely sanded. Then changing to 120 and doing the same for a little longer. Then 240, 320 and eventually getting to an 800 paper and finally a lambswool polishing pad. It was only a small piece so it really didn't take very long.

During the process I had vacuum extractor attached which is good for extraction, obviously, but also it creates even suction pressure on the sanding pad. All you have to do is move it around. I also found that blowing over the surface with an airline every few passes makes a big difference also.

I got amazing results. The piece had a deep sheen to it like it had been oiled and waxed even before any finish had been put on it. As the process went on things just emerged from the wood. It looked lovely.

Jon
 

cambournepete

Established Member
Joined
29 Mar 2004
Messages
2,710
Reaction score
0
Location
Rangiora, South Island, Aotearoa
For the burr elm headboard on our bed I just sanded through the grits down to 800 then used Chestnut wood wax 22.
I didn't even try to fill the voids as they're a natural part of the wood.

A scraper or scraper plane might have been better, but it looks to me (and SWMBO)
 

OldWood

Established Member
Joined
1 Mar 2005
Messages
902
Reaction score
2
Location
Edinburgh
Hi Eric - not really much WIP to be seen in sanding !! But the finished article will certainly be worth posting.

Pete - from the round world aspect we tend to avoid polishing burr with wax as it collects in the voids of the wood. If hand applying is this less of a problem ? This sounds like the way I want to go. I applied Danish Oil to a burr bowl recently and was disappointed by how much it darkened the wood.

Rob
 

jimi43

Established Member
Joined
12 Mar 2009
Messages
6,921
Reaction score
0
Location
Kent - the Garden of England
AndyT":3fcnf2lf said:
I think Jim (Jimi43) will be along soon, to explain that what you really need is an infill plane.
He might have a picture or two of some of his selection, posed on a somewhat smaller piece of burr, which used to look like a big bit till you showed us this!!
Ha! Yes Andy...knocks my bit into a cock hat!

But you don't really need an infill either, although it does make life easier...just a No.4 1/2 with a sharp iron and Clifton two-part toe breaker....



It comes up quite smooth and the voids are ignored...I wouldn't fill them either....



An infill would work slightly better though...



I think I will just keep mine as a photo display....but a clock is a great idea for yours.



Cheers

Jim
 

yetloh

Established Member
Joined
1 Dec 2008
Messages
1,344
Reaction score
1
Location
Sussex
I'm with those who favour a minimal approach to finishing it. Given what you are are going to do with it, you have no need for a finish which is wear resistant. I think I would try to leave the bark and voids looking as natural as possible i.e. no finish, as shiny bark looks particularly naff. All of this says shellac to me. Applied carefully with a cloth, three or four thin coats on the flat surfaces should be enough and you can then cut it back or burnish it to any level of sheen you want. Can't wait to see the finished article.

Jim
 

Phil Pascoe

occasional purveyor of blunt tools.
UKW Supporter
Joined
29 Jan 2012
Messages
19,007
Reaction score
213
Location
Shaft City, Mid Cornish Desert
It's all well and good to find a really nice finish for something.................are you actually going to maintain it? Are you really going to wax or oil something every month (or whatever) for evermore to keep looking nice? Probably not..................So maybe it's time to think about something more practical. Don't dismiss products like plastic coating- you can make the finish as flat or as high gloss as you wish. If you put a gloss on that you don't like, flatten it---if you over flatten it, polish it to gloss again. If you flatten it then wax it it can look quite natural.
 

OldWood

Established Member
Joined
1 Mar 2005
Messages
902
Reaction score
2
Location
Edinburgh
Some of us are lucky enough to have club access to nice things like drum sanders which I'd never used before but has done a great job in taking out the marks and wobbles of a sawmill thicknesser.

I'm now going to the orbital sander and running up through the 240 to 600 or 800 grit to get a finish that won't need much more. I may well take it then to my brother who does French polishing to get a good Shellac finish on it, though I'm wondering about the more modern 'sealers' on the grounds that don't darken like shellac does ?

Another question - I'm using a tooth brush at the moment to get the crud off the bark - can I use something more aggressive like the brass brush for suede.

Rob
 

OldWood

Established Member
Joined
1 Mar 2005
Messages
902
Reaction score
2
Location
Edinburgh
Ok - new question has come up.

I put the board through the drum sander with 120 grit belt on it to get all the bumps and lumps out. It did a good job though curiously left fine sanding lines at near enough the angle of the wind of the sanding belt on the drum.

In some ways these were quite good 'witness' marks as I then used a 1/2 sheet sander at 240 grit to take all these marks out.

The 1/2 sheet sander is the way to go on something this size with gaps in between the sanded areas. An orbital sander will be to small and care would have to be taken to prevent it falling off the sanding areas. But I'm not finding a source of full sheet size super fine sandpaper. Cambournepete - how did you sand your headboard and where did you get the 800 grit paper.

One option is to go to wet and dry, but can that be used dry on wood?

Many thank everyone for your contributions. There's little point in WIP piccies at the moment. The local grapevine has found me a local clock enthusiast who will help me with the mechanical parts.

Rob
 

yetloh

Established Member
Joined
1 Dec 2008
Messages
1,344
Reaction score
1
Location
Sussex
phil.p":fdwjqddb said:
It's all well and good to find a really nice finish for something.................are you actually going to maintain it? Are you really going to wax or oil something every month (or whatever) for evermore to keep looking nice? Probably not..................So maybe it's time to think about something more practical. Don't dismiss products like plastic coating- you can make the finish as flat or as high gloss as you wish. If you put a gloss on that you don't like, flatten it---if you over flatten it, polish it to gloss again. If you flatten it then wax it it can look quite natural.
As i said in an earlier post, this is clearly a low wear piece and shellac requires no maintenance. Plastic Coating is fine in its place -high wear applications, but why mess about with something like that in a job like this which cries out for a minimalist aqpproach?

Jim
 

jimi43

Established Member
Joined
12 Mar 2009
Messages
6,921
Reaction score
0
Location
Kent - the Garden of England
yetloh":18b7zkze said:
phil.p":18b7zkze said:
It's all well and good to find a really nice finish for something.................are you actually going to maintain it? Are you really going to wax or oil something every month (or whatever) for evermore to keep looking nice? Probably not..................So maybe it's time to think about something more practical. Don't dismiss products like plastic coating- you can make the finish as flat or as high gloss as you wish. If you put a gloss on that you don't like, flatten it---if you over flatten it, polish it to gloss again. If you flatten it then wax it it can look quite natural.
As i said in an earlier post, this is clearly a low wear piece and shellac requires no maintenance. Plastic Coating is fine in its place -high wear applications, but why mess about with something like that in a job like this which cries out for a minimalist aqpproach?

Jim
Totally agree Jim.

Plastic should be reserved for bottle tops and squeezy things that finishes come in...horrible invention...IMHO of course! :mrgreen:

Jim
 

Latest posts

Top