Quick drying finish for pencil holders


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27 Dec 2022
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I need to create a batch (10-20) wooden pencil holders, simple open top boxes done on laser cutter.

Looking for some advice on an easy and quick to apply finish that has medium durability, potentially going to need to finish a lot of them in one go, hence why I want something quick and easy.

Was considering spray laqcuer but the cold temperatures concerns me, while probably not an issue right now it will be in a couple of months.

The other option I was thinking as shellac.

Are there any other options that people think would work well in this scenario.

After going round in circles for a few months with regards to finishes and having mixed results I have landed on 2

A high quality Danish oil which i now buy in bulk which i apply with a microfiber cloth, goes on easy if you don't put too much on it doesn't need to be wiped off dry's in about 6 - 8 hours meaning you can get 2 coats on in a day gives a satin finish and fairly tough

A lot of my work can be batches up to 1500 items and Danish is very forgiving in a dusty workshop

Pure clear mineral oil for chopping boards, yes I know Danish is food safe but if I have something with a great colour and or grain then the mineral oil keeps it as true as it can be does take longer to dry than Danish

Drop me a DM if you want anymore info or drying tips

I actually have some danish oil but haven't tried it yet.

I think I was initially trying to over optimise and look for something that cures in couple of hours hence the shellac and laqcuer.

Reality being that 24 hours drying time is fine as long as the application process is fairly quick.
I would go with shellac, applied with a soft brush. Dries in a few minutes. Not sure you can spray it as I suspect it would dry en route from gun to workpiece, but never actually tried it. Cellulose lacquer also dries very quickly, and can certainly be sprayed. Not sure what rules there are now around supply and use, haven't used it for years. But dry enough to handle in 20-30 minutes on non absorbent surface like metal, probably even quicker on wood. Can bloom in cold or moist environment, but you can get specific anti bloom thinners to counter that.
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Yes, Shellac finishes can be sprayed. On such small size pieces you can use an airbrush. I have used one frequently in the past for "shading"(mixing shellac finishes with pigments or stain) on edges etc.
Interesting I didn't know you could use an airbrush to apply shellac.

I have an airbrush that I use for artistic endavours, it's in my hobby room too so temperature isn't really an issue.

This is something I need to look into some more, thanks.
With regard to airbrushes. I can recall that model plane makers used to spray the fabric with "dope" to stretch it. Funny how words now have a different meaning!
I believe that was a form of cellolose lacquer. French polish is no more difficult to clean from an airbrush than acrylics.
Melamine lacquer, warm the aerosol before use.
I started using Melamine a couple of months back, wipe on sort but will get a spray soon. I'm impressed, for turning it's fast, a wipe over with sanding sealer first and you get a good finish off one coat.
We used melamine (liquid) at school 55+ years ago - it's been around for a long time. I've only recently used aerosols, they are so easy. Spray lightly, don't worry if you miss a bit, it dries so quickly you can just spray again from a different angle.
Thanks all for the suggestions.

The mention of airbrushes made me remember that I have a desktop spray booth with an extractor, that will actually work quite well for spraying finishes in spare room.

Going to have a play with some of the suggestions and see which ones I like best.

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