• We invite you to join UKWorkshop.
    Members can turn off viewing Ads!

What finish over Vandyke crystals?

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

oakfield

Established Member
Joined
7 Oct 2009
Messages
277
Reaction score
0
Location
East Sussex
I need to darken some oak for a bed I am making. I am planning on mixing up some Vandyke crystals to get the shade I need.

What finish can I put over the top? It's for an aged look so I don't think a varnish or lacquer would look right so how about a clear wax, or hardwax oil?

Also, I was thinking of using sanding sealer (for the first time) is this a good idea and at what stage should it be applied?

Thanks,
Mark.
 

marcus

Established Member
Joined
20 Nov 2006
Messages
837
Reaction score
0
Oil and wax would look good. If you go this route, no need for sanding sealer.

By the way, don't know if you know this trick but adding some washing soda to the van dyke mix makes a lovely and more natural colour. It's a chemical reaction with the tanin in the oak. I tend to get most of the darkening with the soda and add a bit of van dyke to the mix just to make it a bit richer. If you have a go with this remember that the soda takes a while to work, its not an instant effect. And do lots of experiments with scraps.

Also ( sorry if you know all this) dont forget to raise grain with water and sand before using water based stains.

Cheers Marcus
 

oakfield

Established Member
Joined
7 Oct 2009
Messages
277
Reaction score
0
Location
East Sussex
Hi Marcus,

Thanks for your help. It has been very useful.

I have had a bit of a play with some scraps and am pleased with the results.

marcus":pchre78u said:
Oil and wax would look good. If you go this route, no need for sanding sealer.
do you mean using oil with wax over the top? Is this 'better' than just a sanding sealer and wax?

Thanks,
Mark
 

marcus

Established Member
Joined
20 Nov 2006
Messages
837
Reaction score
0
I would use danish oil (at least three coats) with wax on top once the oil has had a couple of days to go off properly. It should last better than wax over sanding sealer... Trick with getting a good finish with Danish oil is to immediately wipe it off very throughly as soon as you apply it. Leaving it on for even two minutes before wiping off is too long....
 

marcus

Established Member
Joined
20 Nov 2006
Messages
837
Reaction score
0
Because he specifically said he was looking for an aged look and didn't want a varnish or lacquer.
 

Lofty

Established Member
Joined
27 Feb 2007
Messages
32
Reaction score
0
Location
Northampton
Hi Marcus,

I am interested in your comment about using Washing soda with Vandyke crystals. What exactly do you do? Mix the two together or use them separately? What sort of quantities? I make copies of old English furniture and have used VD as the basis for the colouring but I have found it difficult to get that old age look that I would like. I would be grateful for any ideas.

Thanks, Mike
 

RogerS

Established Member
Joined
20 Feb 2004
Messages
17,390
Reaction score
78
Location
In the eternally wet North
By aged look, does the OP mean silvered...as oak does as it weathers? because if he does Danish Oil will give it that lovely orange-silvered look.
 

Phil Pascoe

Established Member
UKW Supporter
Joined
29 Jan 2012
Messages
21,485
Reaction score
1,759
Location
Shaft City, Mid Cornish Desert
I read an article some twenty years ago written by someone whose relative made counterfeit oak furniture that was so good it was sold to museums as being genuine. He hung oak over a pig sty - the ammonia from the urine coloured the oak - he actually put tables, dressers and large furniture in with the pigs, so they used it as scratching posts this actually coloured it and wore edges and corners off, simulating wear and age. I shall have to try human urine on oak sometime.
 

marcros

Established Member
Joined
11 Feb 2011
Messages
11,301
Reaction score
731
Location
Leeds
phil.p":cmta61jz said:
I read an article some twenty years ago written by someone whose relative made counterfeit oak furniture that was so good it was sold to museums as being genuine. He hung oak over a pig sty - the ammonia from the urine coloured the oak -. I shall have to try human urine on oak sometime.
or just ammonia?
 

marcus

Established Member
Joined
20 Nov 2006
Messages
837
Reaction score
0
Hi Mike,

I mix the soda and van dyke together; be aware when doing test pieces that it can take overnight before the soda has had the full darkening effect it's going to. This mixture can make a very nice colour if you get most of the darkening from the soda and add just a little Van dyke for some tone. I would mix up the soda and use that alone on the test pieces to find a strength that gives you almost all the darkening you want, then add the van dyke to get the final result. NB occasionally, using chemicals (ie the soda) to colour timber can give a blotchy look. Your test pieces, if they're from the same batch of timber, should give you an indication as to whether this is likely to happen or not.

A good trick in applying water stains and dyes is to dampen the timber first. This helps in avoiding problems with overlapping brush strokes and allows you to apply extra stain in streaks along the grain to avoid an unnatural, too-uniform look. Don't let the timber dry out in patches (a mister bottle helps with this) until you have finished applying the stain. If you use this approach you will need a darker mixture than you would otherwise use as it will be diluted by the water already on the surface. Lots of test pieces and lots of experimentation is the key!

For the most authentic aged look the timber needs to be oxidised (which is what happens to timber left to age naturally). Nitric acid is the best way to do this, but its nasty, nasty stuff. Often it goes too far with the darkening and then you have to pull it back with bleach (hydrogen peroxide) which is also nasty, nasty stuff, although less nasty than the nitric. This gives an authentic aged look.

The amonia treatment — ie a dish of amonia (again, nasty stuff!) in a sealed plastic tent with the furniture for a day or two — will give an authentic 'old' look on oak. This only works on timber with a lot of tanin in it. I believe that this is the same basic effect as the washing soda (which also reacts with the tanin) but I may be wrong about this.

Don't think about trying any of these if you don't know what you're doing with dangerous chemicals - the danger is real.... I use them in antique restoration but I wouldn't use them on the scale required for new work (except perhaps the amonia if I was doing reproduction oak furniture....). For me the washing soda and Van Dyke is a reasonable and practical compromise.

Regarding the silvered look (which you tend to get on aged exterior timber, not really on indoor furniture ) you can simulate it very well by dissolving wire wool in vinegar for a few days, then applying the liquid, perhaps bleaching afterwards.

Cheers,

Marcus
 

Lofty

Established Member
Joined
27 Feb 2007
Messages
32
Reaction score
0
Location
Northampton
Marcus,
thanks for all of that information. I will certainly give the washing soda a try. What would you use for a finish? I have used mostly shellac based products (Mark Finney's and Liberon easy French polish) applied with a mop but I don't always get the depth to the finish that I would like. It seems a bit variable too. Perhaps that is down to different wood (all European oak)?

Mike
 

marcus

Established Member
Joined
20 Nov 2006
Messages
837
Reaction score
0
Mike, it very much depends on the piece. I suppose the easy answer if you want it to look as authentic as possible is to use the finishes that would have been used on that type of piece, ie

1) French Polish (the only way to get the full depth of a real French polish finish is to do real French polishing I'm afraid). Having said that it's not as hard to learn as some French Polishers would have you believe...

2) Oil and wax. Danish oil or, perhaps better still, many coats of Liberon boiled linseed oil will give a nice finish. Liberon is the only boiled linseed I know of that is actually boiled rather than having chemical driers added.

3) Wax on its own - very hard work and not particularly hard wearing
 

Lofty

Established Member
Joined
27 Feb 2007
Messages
32
Reaction score
0
Location
Northampton
Thanks Marcus. I have tried Danish oil but not too impressed. I have been reading about boiled linseed oil recently and did think I would give it a go. I will get some Liberon on your recommendation. Real French polishing is something I have been meaning to try for some time but never got round to, perhaps I will move it up the tuit list!
Thanks again for your help.

Mike
 

mrpercysnodgrass

Established Member
Joined
29 Apr 2012
Messages
716
Reaction score
92
Location
Lingen Herefordshire
oakfield":1kb1z85u said:
I need to darken some oak for a bed I am making. I am planning on mixing up some Vandyke crystals to get the shade I need.

What finish can I put over the top? It's for an aged look so I don't think a varnish or lacquer would look right so how about a clear wax, or hardwax oil?

Also, I was thinking of using sanding sealer (for the first time) is this a good idea and at what stage should it be applied?

Thanks,
Mark.
Hi Mark,

Van dyke is a great stain to use, it is so versatile and just about the only non toxic stain on the market. Depending on your project, you can use just about anything over the top of it so using sanding sealer is fine. I have added a few pics of a pair of hall chairs I made recently for a client who wanted to make up their set of six chairs into a set of eight. Although I bashed them a bit I did all of the antiqueing with van dyke, made up to a very strong solution, brushed on then faded out and moved around a bit with a mixture of rags and brushes. You can seal in the van dyke with shellac sanding sealer and then apply more van dyke on top, mess around with that, seal and if needed add another application of stain. If you want to give the finish a more faded, washed out look you can add a little yellow ochre and titanium white to the sealer and this will give a more aged silvery appearance but you will have to take care not to get it streaky or you might have to wash it right back and start again. You can then put a rubber of button polish over the top or just wax on top of the sealer, it really depends on what you want to achieve. In the 2nd pic the chair in the middle is the original.
Hope this helps.

mrpercysnodgrass.
 

Attachments

MIGNAL

Established Member
Joined
6 Nov 2005
Messages
2,699
Reaction score
20
Location
W.York's
Lofty":1r0a8oxi said:
Marcus,
thanks for all of that information. I will certainly give the washing soda a try. What would you use for a finish? I have used mostly shellac based products (Mark Finney's and Liberon easy French polish) applied with a mop but I don't always get the depth to the finish that I would like. It seems a bit variable too. Perhaps that is down to different wood (all European oak)?

Mike
The liberon 'easy French Polish' is just Shellac and an added resin. I think the solvent may well be different and they certainly add a few drops of Turpentine to extend brushing time. There is no reason why you shouldn't be able to obtain a very deep gloss using this product. It just takes many very thin coats. Finally all rubbed down to around 1500 Grit (or finer) and then buffed with a polishing compound.
I don't use the Liberon but simply Shellac with a few drops of Lavender Oil to help extend the brushing time. On a Guitar I may do as many as 15 coats before letting it all harden for a few weeks. Then I go through the Grits. Even though 15 coats sounds like a huge amount it is still much quicker than French Polishing. If you want a flat, highly glossy surface you really do need to let the stuff dry and harden. If you go through the Grits too early all that happens is that your flat, glossy film shrinks and takes on the texture of the wood - even if that is very slight.
At the moment I am doing a side by side test between brushed on Shellac and Shellac applied in the French Polishing manner. Before turning to brushed on Shellac/Spirit Varnish I was french Polishing for some 30 years. I'm fairly certain the vast majority of woodworkers would be hard pressed to tell them apart. There is certainly a technique to using the brush though. I don't think it's much less skilled than French Polishing.
 

marcus

Established Member
Joined
20 Nov 2006
Messages
837
Reaction score
0
My comment about real french polish was more about the process than the product. It was based on the premise that the most beautiful shellac finishes work on the principle that shellac will take a very high gloss even when applied in an incredibly thin layer, and that it is the (potential) thinness of the layer combined with the shine that makes french polishing such a (potentially) beautiful finish.

My experience has been that a shellac finish that relies on abrasive papers to create the shine has to be applied relatively thickly (hence 15 coats etc) because otherwise the risk of abrading through to the wood is too high. Personally I like to apply pummice and shellac as a grain filler if necessary (or commercial products if cheating!), then 2 or 3 very thin coats of shallac (more if in a hard wearing area) then wait a few hours, then pull over with finishing spirit, then overnight and finish off with burnishing cream.. The whole process can be done in a day at a pinch, and most of this is waiting so one is free to do other things....

I suppose that some might quibble with my terminology - ie is this 'real' French polishing (no oil on the rubber etc. etc.)? As far as I'm concerned it can be called Gerald, but it does have the potential to produce a flawless high gloss finish on the thinnest possible layer of shellac. Ideally it looks like the wood itself is shining rather than a surface layer of polish. Lovely :)

Re. the Van Dyke, if the finish colour you are trying to achieve is the pure Van dyke colour then by all means use Van Dyke on its own! I prefer a less obviously 'van dyked' look where possible, hence the recommendation re soda/Van Dyke mix. Very nice chairs by the way :)

Cheers

Marcus.
 

MIGNAL

Established Member
Joined
6 Nov 2005
Messages
2,699
Reaction score
20
Location
W.York's
Well Marcus that's a much quicker way of French Polishing than I was taught!
BTW there is a DVD available on French Polishing a Guitar. It gives the whole process (probably includes pore filling) as taking some 40 hours actual working time. I repeat: that's NOT the time taken from starting to completion! That is some 4 weeks.
I queried this so called 40 hours on a Guitar making forum, calling it a form of madness. There were a few who stated that it took them as long as 40 hours and a few more who were only marginally quicker. I thought I was slow at under 20 hours!
You are correct regarding the film thickness of brushed on Shellac. It does have to be thicker. Not a huge amount though. The stuff that I brush on is VERY thin. There are many who believe that the act of rubbing with the fad somehow compresses the finish or the friction produces heat that changes the nature of the film i.e. making it more durable. I'm not convinced. I think the real difference is in the film thickness, that's it. . . but that is what my test is for.
 

marcus

Established Member
Joined
20 Nov 2006
Messages
837
Reaction score
0
Yes, it's quite speedy! I was taught that way and was a bit suspicious at first because it seemed so straightforward and quick compared to other approaches I'd read about. I've never detected any problem with it though, so I'm happy with it. It feels like a bit of magic every time I do it :)

Obviously finishing in a day assumes that it is a fairly small and straightforward piece....
 
Top