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Reply by Lee Barker

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Posted on Scared of finishing..

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Lee Barker

2169 posts in 1595 days


#1 posted 04-06-2013 01:53 PM

This is a terrific opportunity to start with the basics.

My counsel is to buy a quart of good varnish. (I prefer Sherwin Williams, no connection.) The sheen of your choice: gloss, semi gloss or satin. Just avoid the cheap brands. While you’re at the paint store, buy a good brush (2 1/2 inches, say). Spend as much as you can. A good brush is long term investment. Buy some filters. Use one (and throw it away) every time you apply a coat of finish

Brush on the varnish following the instructions on the can. 3 coats.

What you will learn: How the material flows on. The value of horizontal light. How long it takes to dry in your particular environment. How to properly clean a brush. What a good varnish finish looks like.

While it is true that a specific piece of wood may benefit from a Betty Crocker approach, it is my belief that the most important thing to learn about finishing, at the outset, is not about the wood, it’s about how the finish material behaves.

Use up that can of varnish on everything that you can get your hands on. When you become comfortable with it, then proceed to introducing other variables, one at a time if you can. Your confidence will grow steadily and your knowledge will increase exponentially with very little time spent wondering (what flake of shellac, what aperture on the gun, was that pre catalyzed or post catalyzed, what pressure, contaminant in the air line, too much thinner, water based or solvent, and on and on) what went wrong.

Cleaning for varnish brush:

rinse and work it with paint thinner (mineral spirits) twice.

rinse and work it with lacquer thinner.

rinse and work it with ammonia.

rinse and work it with detergent.

Kindly,

Lee

-- "...in his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"


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