Finish problem with Bubinga

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Forum topic by hotspur66 posted 11-17-2009 01:36 AM 9627 views 2 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3 posts in 2536 days

11-17-2009 01:36 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question finishing bubinga

Finishing problem.

I have a piece of figured bubinga that I am using as a display stand table top. I tried using a finishing formula I got from an article in Fine Woodworking, consisting of several applications of boiled linseed oil cut 50% with mineral spirits, followed by a wash coat of oil-based polyurethane cut 1 pt. poly to 3 pts. mineral spirits, topped with finish coats of poly cut 50% with mineral spirits. The finish had worked great on figured maple, but on the bubinga, the final finish never completely cured to an even and dry surface. I have sanded off the poly coats, and discovered that the linseed oil had not cured completely (although it had appeared and felt dry to the touch earlier).

Question 1: What should I do now to get the oil out or to cure so I can refinish the piece?

Question 2: What finish should I use now? I was thinking of using a tung oil/poly/mineral spirits finish that I have used many times before with success.

—Milpitas Mike

-- Milpitas Mike

10 replies so far

View papadan's profile


1166 posts in 2791 days

#1 posted 11-17-2009 01:44 AM

I can’t begin to say, I buy my finishes and aply them as directed. All your chemistry lessons have led to a mess. LOL I would use a heat gun and try to dry the oil in the wood then sand and try again.

-- Carpenter assembles with hands, Designer builds with brains, Artist creates with heart!

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 3245 days

#2 posted 11-17-2009 02:01 AM


I posted an answer on your profile page.

Your tung oil,poly and mineral spirits finish will work well. You could also use BLO in place of the tung oil as well.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View bfd's profile


502 posts in 3230 days

#3 posted 11-17-2009 03:32 AM

Click for details

Hi Mike,

For this figured bubinga piece I used 2 coats tung oil followed by 3-4 coats of wiping poly and then final coat of wax. I keep it simple and don’t mix my own finishes rather apply them in separate steps. It may take longer but I have never had an issue. good luck.

View CharlesNeil's profile


1602 posts in 3294 days

#4 posted 11-20-2009 03:26 AM

Mike i have to second the opinion, unless you are a chemist, dont do chemistry , now lets fix your table, sand as much off as possible , and let the blo dry, then take the remaining BLO you have and throw it away..its garbage….to day BLO isnt usually blo, it usually just LO ..aith a slug of japan drier and it doesnt dry, it just soaks in feels dry , i have donealot of Bubinga, get you a can of either water lox , or general finish ARm r seal, both have all the properties of a poly , and are tough as nails , i have floors with both finishes on and they have and remain beautiful..after you have sanded ..wash it down with some lacquer thinner ..( wear a mask and watch the fumes), it will clean the table well and pull out any of the oil thatis nt dry and help dry it down, then give it a good scuff sanding with some 320, and apply which ever finish you choose, it will take about 3 to 5 coats to get a nice well built finish , if you have questions or any problems hereis my email

View Dark_Lightning's profile


2620 posts in 2532 days

#5 posted 11-21-2009 05:14 AM

If you don’t mind the small pores (like you see in oak) telegraphing through, you could use lacquer. I use it (Deft), with a little thinner in my air brush on small boxes, and it comes out great. Also, it is really easy to refinish when it gets scratched.

BTW, the boiled linseed oil can take too loong to get as hard as I would like before a topcoat. I only use BLO when that’s all there is for “finish”, like a workbench.

-- Random Orbital Nailer

View a1Jim's profile


115177 posts in 3000 days

#6 posted 11-21-2009 05:29 AM

Charles Neil (two post up)is a finishing expert(and woodworking expert) and has a DVD called finishing a-z It covers a whole lot about finishing an is well worth the investment.He also has woodworking DVDs and many postings on youtube.

-- Custom furniture

View Jeff_F's profile


36 posts in 2575 days

#7 posted 11-21-2009 06:14 AM

I am friends with Charles Neil who posted a note earlier. Here is a picture of a bubinga vanity top that I finished using the General Finishes products. It has one coat of ‘Seal-a-Cell’ followed by 4 coats of ‘Arm-R-Seal’. It is hard as nails…our cats don’t scratch it, and water just beads up. They are great products.

-- Jeff,

View a1Jim's profile


115177 posts in 3000 days

#8 posted 11-21-2009 06:29 AM

Wow Jeff looks great.

-- Custom furniture

View hotspur66's profile


3 posts in 2536 days

#9 posted 11-21-2009 07:29 AM


Thank you all very much for the feedback and advice.

Neil, thanks for the specific finishing advice. I am now following the advice to clear away the old finish and, hopefully, will get the new finish on after Thanksgiving.

Jeff, that vanity counter is indeed wonderful!


-- Milpitas Mike

View CharlesNeil's profile


1602 posts in 3294 days

#10 posted 11-21-2009 07:39 PM

atom is a trick for the small pores, apply a good coat of deft, let it tack up a little, ( so not so thin) then using some lacquer thinner wipe it off as well as possible , it will work the finish into the pores ,like a grain filler, then after dry ( may look a little messy), scuff it down well with some 220 or 320, and finish as normal, it helps to fill those pores…another is is to give ot a couple coats of ARm r seal wiping it back well, again to fill the pores , then scuff it good and finish with the deft, this will also help to really pop the figure , deft is a softer lacquer, nitrocellouse, but sure make for beautiful finishes

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