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Reply by Jim Jakosh

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Posted on General finishing advice

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Jim Jakosh

11477 posts in 1761 days


#1 posted 08-02-2012 09:43 PM

Kay, I hear what you are asking- there are a myriad of finishes out there. I think your preference will come from trying them out on projects or prepared samples if you have the time to do that. From my experience, when I am making furniture, I like to spray clear lacquer or coat with Polyurethane. I especially use poly on doors and window frames. I either wipe it on or use a foam brush. One trick I learned when doing a bunch of doors it to add a cap full of naphtha to a cup of poly. It helps it flow better and sets up quicker so dust has less time to settle. I wet sand with 400 between coats.
When I spray lacquer, I rarely sand between coats because the new coat bites into the previous coat .

I have not tried Boiled Linseed Oil (BLO) on a real project but it seamed to take a long time to dry when I tried it on samples.

I tried tung oil but did not like the finish- too flat for me. You might like the natural look for you products

I use teak oil on outdoor projects like wind chimes and cedar projects.
On turnings I use EEE polish and Shellawax. Often I lacquer after the Shellawax and it works fine.

For food contact products like cutting boards or forks and spoons, I use salad bowl finish or food grade mineral oil.

Mineral spirits is just a solvent like lacquer thinner. I would never be without lacquer thinner for cleaning things up! Great stuff!! ( I hope the GREEN people don’t ever take it off the market).

Shellac is a good sealer under most any finish. You can thin it with denatured alcohol and that also works on Shellawax. I would not use Shellac as a finish on a table because alcohol- like Jack-can dissolve it!!

I don’t know if there is a hard and fast rule. The advertizers would have you think you need specific products for every different thing, but you will get comfortable with some and use them with great success. The thing is to determine if the product is just for show or will have to withstand some certain use or environment.

I use lacquer a lot because it hold up pretty good!

There, you picked my brain for all it’s worth and it is now empty!!........................Have a great day,Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!


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