All Replies on Teach me your finishing tricks: bandsaw boxes

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Teach me your finishing tricks: bandsaw boxes

by Elizabeth
posted 04-15-2013 08:27 PM

17 replies so far

View LookingGlass's profile


77 posts in 2344 days

#1 posted 04-15-2013 08:47 PM


I too have this problem with using cedar. Perhaps we will get some pointers.

-- Take care.....Ed

View Nicky's profile


695 posts in 4327 days

#2 posted 04-15-2013 09:05 PM

The glue lines could be due to uneven surfaces. If your using a mechanical sanding method, like your spindle sander, the glue will heat and possible leech around the glue lines. I don’t think this is a glue problem. I’m just thinking out loud.

End grain will absorb a lot of finish. Hard to say how many coats, but keep applying, you’ll get to a point where it evens out. Cedar is a softwood, and I would sand up to 320 or 400. I’d use wax as the final polish (after the oil has cured). The drawback with wax is that you could not put another coat of oil, and that may be just fine for a bandsaw box.

-- Nicky

View Blackie_'s profile


4883 posts in 2748 days

#3 posted 04-15-2013 10:38 PM

interlocks fingers while bending fingers back popping knuckles getting ready to type :) Ah Elizabeth Bandsaw boxes are my specialty but only if it hadn’t been for other fellow LJ’s that got me started, I kind of just took the bull by the horns and went my own direction with it, I’ll be glad to pass down to you what was taught to me in the bandsaw box world.

Here are some items

1. Spindle Sander (a must have) 1/4” up to 2” sanding sleeves with #80 #150 and #240 grits
2. 4” to 6”Belt sander ( a must have) # 80 grit
3. a couple 4” sanding blocks one with 80 grit and the other with 150 grit
4. Sanding paper I use #80 #150 #220 or #240 either or, #400 and lastly #600 in this order.
5. For all of my finishing I use a single quick coat of tung oil then a wipe to bring out the grain then 2 to 3 coats of wipe on poly using a foam brush dipping only the corner of the brush it doesn’t take much, then after drying time I final coat of paste wax.

As for as the glue goes you have to sand it real good in order to remove the glue and upon gluing you have to be careful on the squeeze out, I try to wipe as much off as possible and sand the rest as glue will not take finish at all, it has to be completely removed.

End grain soaks up the finish so sometimes it takes a lot of applications, I think the oil fills the pours better then the wipe on poly but I normally just keep applying the poly upon dry times until it’s had enough.

Hope this helped if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to send my a PM and ask, I’ll be more then happy to help.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

View designeratheart's profile


8 posts in 2102 days

#4 posted 04-15-2013 11:55 PM

I don’t know about Elizabeth, but it sure helped me! I am not doing boxes, but I am going to be doing a whole lot of finishing and this is wonderful information to have.

Thank You!


-- Smile! It makes the day so much better!

View LookingGlass's profile


77 posts in 2344 days

#5 posted 04-16-2013 09:40 AM

Great info for me too. The one coat of tung followed by the wipe on poly is interesting…..I have only used one or the other alone and not together. I use the sponge corner dipped in the finish; apply; wipe with cotton cloth.

Thanks for taking the time to give the pointers. I have some boxes in work and will post how this technique worked.

-- Take care.....Ed

View Blackie_'s profile


4883 posts in 2748 days

#6 posted 04-16-2013 10:02 AM

I’d like to add that finishing is a whole different world so many avenues to take, What I posted above is what I found to be my niche or groove and am finding it’s working great for me, Another thing about finish is what type of sheen you are looking for be it flat, satin or gloss and this topic has been brought up here on LJ’s a time or two, (is it a guy or girl thing? Which room is it going into? etc….) myself I like a gloss sheen and have never tried a satin and am myself still learning these avenues, for example a kitchen recipe box, I would think it would take on better a satin or even a flat appeal as most kitchen related items aren’t very shiny, as I’ve witnessed when doing shopping in these areas.

As for as oils go they need longer drying times as well before applying any other finishes such as poly and such.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

View coachmancuso's profile


259 posts in 2167 days

#7 posted 04-16-2013 11:11 AM

I just did a red cedar band saw box. I sanded the box with 80, 120, then 220. I started the finishing with 2 heavy coats of Danish oil, let it dry for 1 week then start with wipe on poly. I will put 4 – 6 coats with sanding in between coats with 400. To end it all 1 coat of Johnsons paste wax. Hope this helps

-- Coach Mancuso

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

11138 posts in 3664 days

#8 posted 04-16-2013 01:27 PM

As to gluing: It helps to apply a very thin coat to both pieces, rubbed in with a finger and allowed to dry, before applying the final glue to seal the joint. This insures that the final glue will not soak in to the end grain and starve the joint. With the knowledge that soaking in has been eliminated, you can then afford to apply less glue and also fairly well eliminate squeeze out. If possible, you could tape both sides of the joint to catch any errant glue.

Finishing is really wood specific. Softer woods will require more applications unless you use a sealer. My favorite finish for small band saw boxes is BLO or Watco first. Flood it and let is sit for a while. Do not let it get tacky. Then wipe it off and let it completely dry. (At least 24 hrs.) Re-apply if necessary.
When you are satisfied that the wood will accept no more, apply the final finish of your choice.
With harder woods, I use a 50/50 blend of either Watco. or BLO, and Marine varnish from start to finish.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View Elizabeth's profile


817 posts in 3379 days

#9 posted 04-16-2013 04:01 PM

Thanks for your input – this is all really helpful and I’m glad to see others have the same questions!

Randy and Coach Mancuso, when you say “wipe on poly” do you mean polyurethane?

View bbasiaga's profile


1242 posts in 2230 days

#10 posted 04-16-2013 04:59 PM

Wipe on poly is a thinned poly urethane that you can apply with a cloth or foam brush. I just tried it after hearing about it here. I LOVE IT. It goes on very even and doesn’t run, drip or pool the way traditional poly can. Mainly because you can apply a very light coat. After 3-4 coats it still looks very natural (not ‘plasticy’), but imparts a nice amber tone to the wood.

I used the Minwax because it was available locally. You can also make your own by diluting regular poly with mineral spirits…or so I’ve been told.


-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View Elizabeth's profile


817 posts in 3379 days

#11 posted 04-16-2013 05:05 PM

OK, thanks. I picked up a small can of polyurethane after work yesterday (Walmart was my only option, so the choices were limited) but I don’t know if it’s specifically “wipe on” or not. I’ll have to check when I get home.

View wncguy's profile


420 posts in 2548 days

#12 posted 04-16-2013 05:39 PM

I have had issues getting darker color on end grain (walnut & maple boxes). I was using Watco Natural Danish oil. I asked Charles Neil for suggestions (he is VERY helpful) & he suggested first wiping the end grain with a damp cloth the immediately apply the oil. According to him it sounds nuts but helps a lot & doesn’t affect the adhesion.

He noted other options too, but this sounded really interesting. I’m going to try it on some scrap pieces this week.

-- Any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a Dad

View Blackie_'s profile


4883 posts in 2748 days

#13 posted 04-16-2013 05:45 PM

“Randy and Coach Mancuso, when you say “wipe on poly” do you mean polyurethane?”

Elizabeth yes to your question to polyurethane and what Brian said, As a matter of fact I mix my on poly blend, I use a 60% poly to 40% mix of mineral spirits it’s much cheaper doing it that way. Doesn’t sound like what you bought Elizabeth is a wipe on, the “wipe on” comes in a tall thin can with a twist off top which is sold at lowes.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

View CharlieM1958's profile


16281 posts in 4454 days

#14 posted 04-16-2013 05:59 PM

Elizabeth, one trick is to wipe your box down with lacquer thinner before applying any finish. Any remaining glue will show up pretty clearly, and you can address the problem before you go any further.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2688 posts in 3157 days

#15 posted 04-17-2013 12:02 AM

Applying lacquer thinner as Charlie suggests is what I do. Mineral spirits will also work. In places where it is very difficult to wipe up any squeeze-out of glue I use titebond hide glue instead. When finish is applied over it , it virtually disappears, unlike other glues.

-- No PHD just a DD214 Website>

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2925 days

#16 posted 04-17-2013 01:12 AM

I have started applying a wiped on coat of shellac before glue up (not on the surface to be glued). Any squeeze out won’t soak into the shellaced wood and it scrapes off easily. This works especially well on the inside of boxes where it’s hard to tape and even harder to sand off squeeze out after the fact.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Lector's profile


7 posts in 2181 days

#17 posted 07-25-2013 01:43 AM

I work with allot of Eastern Red Cedar. I find if I sand the ends one step finer it matches pretty well. I might stop @ 180 on the face but go to 220 on the ends. Hope this helps.

-- Mistakes are good,learning how to fix them is better.

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