Finishing help for softwood

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Forum topic by brownmd posted 05-01-2010 08:50 PM 1209 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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17 posts in 3022 days

05-01-2010 08:50 PM

Topic tags/keywords: finishing question hemlock softwood

I’m building a bed from hemlock, and it’s getting time to start finishing… scary! I got some of Charles Niel’s new Blotch control, and covered that with some General finishes water based dye stain. I’m really impressed with how well that blotch control worked. (hopefully it will look as good on the whole project) But now I’m trying to figure out what to do with the top coat.

I’d originally planned on puting some oil based poly on it. A couple months ago on here, I got some recomendations to use tung oil since it’s a soft wood. I’d never used anything water based before this dye, and I’m loving it… My “workshop” is a corner of our bedroom with a tarp on the floor, so the low fumes was awesome, and I’ve started wondering about finding a finish that’s water based, maybe a water based poly? How are the fumes with shellac, and would that provide protection?

Do I need to put shellac or something on top of the dye before I do a clear coat to keep it from moving?

Sorry, just seems like the more I learn, the more I figure out how much I don’t know. Six months ago when the plan for this thing started, it was going to be painted, then it was going to be a can of minwax stain and some poly… now….? You tell me…


PS – In case it wasn’t obvious from the above, it’s going to need to be something I can wipe or brush on…

3 replies so far

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2389 posts in 3839 days

#1 posted 05-01-2010 10:42 PM

brownmd, I have hand hewn hemlock beams in my house, ( looks like a log cabin), I did the blotch stuff, a GF dye just like you , I used Arm r seal urethane oil from gf for the top coat , it has some fumes but not bad, an open window with a box fan should do it, it dries fast , the issue with a wipe or brush on water base finish is it can redissolve the water base color under it, unless you are spraying, a oil base finish will not have this issue , the solution is a shellac barrier between the color and the top coat, which again has to be sprayed to avoid color pull off, I really think the Arm r seal, with some ventilation would do well, I will be more than happy to walk you thru this, i t would be nice to do it here , so all can see , photos would help alot as well, also here is my email…… Ed and I just opened a can and we were “sniffin”, and saying .. this isn’t too bad… any finish , including water base will have some fumes… and odor… any worth having that is,

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17 posts in 3022 days

#2 posted 05-02-2010 12:44 AM

Thanks Charles! I guess I’ll try and pick up some Arm r seal while i’m out today… Hopefully the fumes won’t get me kicked out of the house. I’d be happy to document the process with some pictures… hopefully that’ll help some people.

View Dark_Lightning's profile


3146 posts in 3077 days

#3 posted 05-02-2010 01:30 AM

I’m a little late for input, but while shellac has some odor, it evaporates really quickly, as does lacquer. When I was a Cub Scout leader many moons ago, when we did wood projects I brought in shellac. It’s dry by the end of the meeting. We just had to do it with the doors open. I also used foam brushes and tossed them at the end. Quick and easy!

-- Random Orbital Nailer

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