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What finish to use for Baltic Birch?

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Forum topic by Michael J posted 05-14-2010 09:11 PM 7428 views 1 time favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Michael J

103 posts in 2673 days


05-14-2010 09:11 PM

Topic tags/keywords: baltic birch finish boiled linseed oil danish oil

Hi All,
I was just looking for advice/suggestions on what to finish baltic birch shop cabinets and tool stands in. I’m in the process of completing my Ultimate Tool Stand which is done in baltic birch and I wanted to put a nice finish on it. I’ve read many different concoctions of linseed oil/turpentine/Mineral spirits and danish wood oil, etc. I don’t really know which way to go as there are so many options and I’m not sure what the benefits of each finish are.

If anyone has any insight, advice and/or examples of baltic birch/finish combinations, I’d love to hear and see them.

Thanks,
Mike

-- Mike Minneapolis, MN


14 replies so far

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SCOTSMAN

5839 posts in 3051 days


#1 posted 05-14-2010 10:03 PM

Polyurethane varnish, not necessarily high glosss . That will last for years, whereas oils will not last anytime before needing a redo.MY£ 3cents.Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

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MyFathersSon

180 posts in 2779 days


#2 posted 05-14-2010 10:10 PM

DITTO Scotsman’s comment.
Thats what I did for my router table.
I’m sure there are fancier ways that all have their benefits—but I just put about 5 good coats of poly.
Why so many? If it gets scratched or otherwise messed up == a quick buff with steel wool or fine wetsanding paper—and it’s good as new.

-- Those who insist it can't be done - should politely refrain from interrupting those who are doing it.

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MrsN

975 posts in 2992 days


#3 posted 05-14-2010 10:19 PM

i’ll out another vote in for polyurethane. It will out last most other finishes and on shop projects that is a real plus. I would hate to have to unload my work bench to refinish it every few months.

-- ----- www.KNWoodworking.com ----- --

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

8259 posts in 2894 days


#4 posted 05-14-2010 11:04 PM

I use a varnish product from McCloskys called Man-O-War. It’s very tough!

-- 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 ND2ELK's profile

ND2ELK

13495 posts in 3240 days


#5 posted 05-14-2010 11:30 PM

I use baltic birch for all my drawers and finish them with two coats polyurethane and then wax them. I like them to be natural in color. Thanks for asking.

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

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Michael J

103 posts in 2673 days


#6 posted 05-15-2010 05:56 AM

Thanks for all the advice! How are you guys applying this finish? Would it be ok to dilute and make it a wiping varnish?

-- Mike Minneapolis, MN

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Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 3288 days


#7 posted 05-15-2010 01:03 PM

Mike, you can certainly apply the poly as a wiping varnish. I generally suggest making your own as opposed to buying a commercial product. I buy it in gallon containers and cut it roughly 50:50 with mineral spirits. While you can get commercial products basically you will be paying a premium price for mineral spirits. Bear in mind also that, as a wiping varnish, you will need to apply more coats to get a protective build since it is a diluted product. But the application and drying speed of a wiping varnish more than offset the time needed to apply additional coats.

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

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HTown

22 posts in 652 days


#8 posted 04-16-2015 02:07 AM

Not that you asked, but I was playing with stained finishes on BB. I used clear poly followed by a tinted poly. No blotchiness. It was just a test, but I would have gone back to clear poly once I had the color I was after.

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firefighterontheside

13511 posts in 1323 days


#9 posted 04-16-2015 02:21 AM

I’ve used BB one time and I was not as happy with the stain as I would have liked. If I could go back, knowing what I know now, I would use prestain conditioner first. Then stain, then poly.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

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HTown

22 posts in 652 days


#10 posted 04-18-2015 02:43 PM

Firefighter. I used the minwax preconditioner and it didn’t work for me. That led me to poly over poly. I also used shellac and then minwax oil stain over it. I gave the sample away; otherwise I’d give it the adhesion test with masking tape. The shellac method gave the best results. I mainly use lacquer, but didn’t have time to try it on the sample.

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Dark_Lightning

2635 posts in 2575 days


#11 posted 04-18-2015 03:08 PM

I’m making a tool chest using BB, and was considering oil based paint, since I want some designs on it.

Question- If polyurethane is so much better, maybe I can get it tinted? I’m looking at black…

-- Random Orbital Nailer

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firefighterontheside

13511 posts in 1323 days


#12 posted 04-18-2015 04:58 PM

Hmm, it worked great on pine. Maybe BB is different. On the big pine bed project, I used the prestain, then stain, then dewaxed shellac and then water based polycrylic. I was really happy with that finish.

Dark lightning, you can get tinted water based lacquer from target coatings. I used white and it worked well.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

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Dark_Lightning

2635 posts in 2575 days


#13 posted 04-19-2015 12:54 AM



Hmm, it worked great on pine. Maybe BB is different. On the big pine bed project, I used the prestain, then stain, then dewaxed shellac and then water based polycrylic. I was really happy with that finish.

Dark lightning, you can get tinted water based lacquer from target coatings. I used white and it worked well.

- firefighterontheside

Thanks!

-- Random Orbital Nailer

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boatz

79 posts in 1117 days


#14 posted 04-20-2015 01:04 AM

I used Arm-R-Seal on my version of the UTS. The torsion box base is regular birch ply, the rest is baltic birch:

-- You can't always get what you want. But if you try sometimes you just might find, you'll get what you need

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