Woodturning Finishes (on the lathe vs off the lathe)


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13 Jul 2015
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I've recently been making some kitchen utensils (kitchen roll holder, pepper mills, handles for things etc) that I wanted to have a really hard wearing finish, so I went with :

- Sanding 120, 180, 240, 320
- Cellulose sealer
- Melamine Lacquer

and whilst I am generally happy with the finish, it's really easy to screw up and produce streaking due to the Lacquer drying so fast, resulting in having to sand it back and start again.

Then it occurred to me that there is no real need to do this on the lathe at all, I could just as easily take it off, and apply a much slower drying finish like Osmo or Liberon Finishing Oi, both of which should be hard enough wearing.

So assumming I am in no rush, is there any real advantage to "woodturning finishes" as opposed to normal "furniture finishes" when applied to typical lathe type items?

I suppose it's more difficult to get a high gloss finish, but I am not really interested in that either, just a satin finish really.
For most turning (nearly all) I use Danish oil. I find that if I get a mirror finish on a bowl before any finish there is very little work with the finish left to do. Its just about time rather than anything intrinsically better though I would say.
For 'working' items you are describing I would use Hard Wax Oil, applied off the lathe.

Like all oils it needs applying to bare wood and after a few minutes wiping of any surplus or runs, recoat as needed after 24 hrs to the gloss level required.

If you want High Gloss, Buff with 3 wheel buffing system after oil has fully polymerised.

Mortar:- Hard wax oil.