Time saving finish for jewelry boxes

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Forum topic by bhacksaw posted 02-04-2016 04:56 PM 750 views 1 time favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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160 posts in 1243 days

02-04-2016 04:56 PM

I’ve been working on 4 jewelry boxes at once (which I will never do again!) and am almost done with construction. I love Waterlox when i used it on my last box, but i have many pieces to finish (the box a few has interior compartments) and, seeing as how i work 1 day every other weekend, I’d rather not have to wait 2 weeks between coats (24 hrs dry time between coats means 1 coat per workday). I have a can of Bush oil which looks like it only needs 15-30 minutes between coats. I like the way the oil makes the boxes look (made from zebrawood, oak, and curly walnut). I’m just wondering if it will be enough protection for the long haul. I don’t expect them to get a lot of use, jewelry boxes are more keepsakes than utility these days. If it’s not enough, what can I use that will allow me to get the coats on quicker? Or, is there a coat I can put in top of the oil that will ensure better protection?

17 replies so far

View jmartel's profile


6464 posts in 1568 days

#1 posted 02-04-2016 04:58 PM

If you want quick drying, I’d spray lacquer or use shellac. Both can be fully finished in one day.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View jumbojack's profile


1663 posts in 2042 days

#2 posted 02-04-2016 05:12 PM

It is no secret that I love lacquer. The feel of rubbed out lacquer is undeniably luxurious. Although I use the FULL VOC stuff and spray with a respirator I love the smell. In fair weather I can get 4 or 5 coats on in a day and that is with a rub down in between two of the coats. A final light rub with 600 grit the next day followed with a paste wax final creates a beautiful finish.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View mahdee's profile


3456 posts in 1186 days

#3 posted 02-04-2016 05:16 PM

+2 lacquer.


View ThomasChippendale's profile


244 posts in 350 days

#4 posted 02-04-2016 05:26 PM

I would seal/prime the wood with schellac , either clear or amber depending on your taste for natural color or amber tones , and rub a good quality beeswax until I get the wanted sheen, this can be done in a day. Inside I would only put schellac without waxing.

Oil has never given me a lasting finish and takes some time to dry which defeats the purpose you are seeking.

If you have spraying Equipment, then Laquer or water based finishes could also be donne in a day.

-- PJ

View WoodNSawdust's profile


1417 posts in 595 days

#5 posted 02-04-2016 06:26 PM

+3 for lacquer and I would spray it. An Earlex spray system is not that expensive. If you want something cheaper Harbor Freight has a bottle where you put your finish in and then use a compressor to add compressed air.

-- "I love it when a plan comes together" John "Hannibal" Smith

View Kazooman's profile


614 posts in 1370 days

#6 posted 02-04-2016 11:28 PM

I can relate to the “intermittent days between getting in the shop” time of life. I was there for a long, long time before I finally retired.

However, I can look at your pictures and see that you take great care in constructing your jewelry boxes. The splined miter joints and the interior rails for the sliding trays all take a lot of TLC to fine tune to get them “just right” .

The comments on lacquer are all spot on, but you might not have the equipment or room to spray or can’t make the investment right now. My advice is to go with the finishing techniques you have used in the past and are comfortable with. Yes, it will take a bit longer, but you are guaranteed to get the results you want. Not a time to experiment, in my book. Your boxes look like they are going to be beautiful. Resist the temptation to hurry the final step and give them the best finish you know how to do.

Save up and buy an Earlex sprayer and practice on a few pieces. There is always a good reason to buy some new gear!

View AandCstyle's profile


2535 posts in 1675 days

#7 posted 02-04-2016 11:58 PM

bhacksaw, another vote for spray lacquer. I have used this one and have liked the results. After the lacquer has dried, apply a coat of paste wax for a great feeling finish.

-- Art

View bold1's profile


259 posts in 1265 days

#8 posted 02-05-2016 02:07 AM

Zar now has an exterior oil poly that can usually be worked the same day if you want to go that route.

View OSU55's profile


1039 posts in 1408 days

#9 posted 02-05-2016 01:10 PM

If you don’t have spray equipment, rattle can lacquer. Don’t let the vapors build up even with a rattle can. If you mainly do small stuff like these boxes, a large airbrush, vs a spray gun, might work well for you.

View Tennessee's profile


2410 posts in 1933 days

#10 posted 02-05-2016 01:22 PM

I use a LOT of rattle can lacquer, especially on many of the items I sell in my gallery.
I have been using and favoring Deft for a long time, and also keep it in bulk for use in my spray gun equipment.

Recently, I tried a fairly new Rustoleum lacquer in a green and white rattle can, which retails for less than half of the Deft. So far, I like it. It dries a bit shiner, but after rubbing it out and putting on the paste wax, I did two golf club hat racks in less than three hours, start to finished. They looked very good. The temps were in the mid 60’s, and I sprayed it outdoors.

If you want to finish in one day, rattle can lacquer and paste wax.

-- Paul, Tennessee,

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

3841 posts in 1911 days

#11 posted 02-05-2016 01:31 PM

Jeff Jewitt does what he called “a quick and dirty French Polish” on small pieces like that. It’s very simple, and fast. Wipe on a thin coat of BLO, let st 15 minutes or so, then wipe it off. Within an hour or so you can apply shellac. Since it dries so fast you should be able to get 2 coats (or more) on the same day, though I usually stop at 2. If you belong to the FWW online stuff that article is available there. I caught it in the magazine some years ago and use it on smaller stuff that doesn’t need a more durable top coat.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View bhacksaw's profile


160 posts in 1243 days

#12 posted 02-05-2016 08:16 PM

Thanks for all the feedback, everybody! I will definitely look into a good spray system for the future. I have a HomeRight electric sprayer, but it absolutely drenched the work last time i used it, no matter how i adjusted it. That was fine because i was staining an arbor, but i don’t trust it for delicate work. For now, I’ll go with the ole rattle can. Should I do 1 coat of sealing shellac first before the lacquer?

View ThomasChippendale's profile


244 posts in 350 days

#13 posted 02-05-2016 10:34 PM

I do not use laquer but I always use a coat of Shellac as a primer, it reduces the number of subsequent coats needed in order to fill the grain considerably.

-- PJ

View jumbojack's profile


1663 posts in 2042 days

#14 posted 02-06-2016 02:39 PM

No pre finish is required with lacquer. Simply spray a light coat, depending on the temp of your piece and the lacquer wait 20-30 mins spray another light coat. I usually spray 4 coats on the outside three on the inside and bottom. After the third coat wait a couple of hours and sand, very lightly with 400 grit. Wipe down and shoot a final. Let this sit a couple of hours and again rub it down lightly with 600. You should see white dust. If your sand paper is loading up STOP! Let the finish cure some more. You need to see the white powder. After the LIGHT rub with 600 wipe down and apply a paste wax. Give that 10 minutes to flash off and buff. Enjoy the luxurious feel.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View Bobsboxes's profile


1091 posts in 2082 days

#15 posted 02-06-2016 03:11 PM

I use lacquer sand and seal as my first coat, then follow with a couple of coats of lacquer. I rub each coat quick with a green scotch brite pad, then paste wax.

-- Bob in Montana. Kindness is the Language the blind can see and deaf can hear. - Mark Twain

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