Rocking chair finish

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Forum topic by Betsy posted 09-12-2010 10:04 PM 3074 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3391 posts in 3894 days

09-12-2010 10:04 PM

Topic tags/keywords: finish sam maloof

Well my rocking chair has been sitting for quite a while without a finish on it. I’ve been letting it get as much sun as possible to darken the cherry a bit before putting on a finish. I’m trying to remember what I planned to use as a finish (I usually have that figured out before I start building – but this project has been sitting longer than my memory and I’m bad about writing stuff down). I’ve had a couple of people tell me that Sam Maloof’s finish is the best for a chair.

I believe Sam’s formula was 1/3 boiling linseed oil, 1/3 tung oil and 1/3 urethane.

I’d like to know how many of you use this formula and what your steps are for finishing using this formula (i.e. how many coats, sanded to what grit, cleaning between coats, dry time, application method etc.)

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

4 replies so far

View ChefHDAN's profile


1062 posts in 2848 days

#1 posted 09-12-2010 10:44 PM

Betsy, Just finished a table with three coats of straight BLO & then finished it with waterbased poly applied in three coats via $20 HVLP gun I got on EBAY. Check my projects; just posted the pics & I think it’s the best finish I’ve ever gotten on cherry, plus the poly will help it last in a house with three kids. BTW, I did have it out in the driveway for several hours to get the UVs too!

final sand to 220
brush on BLO sit for 15 min & wipe off
repeat BLO 2 more times
wiped down with mineral spirits to remove any tacky”ness” from BLO
sand 320
Shoot coat of poly let dry 12 hours then sand 600
repeat poly 2 more times
After 3rd shot light wipe down with 000 wool and then 2 coats of pastewax

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3821 days

#2 posted 09-13-2010 01:44 AM

Betsy, actually the formula is 1/3 blo, 1/3 varnish and 1/3 turpentine not tung oil although you could substitute mineral spirts without any problem. This should work fine on your chair. Like Dan I generally put blo directly on the wood and wipe off the excess. I give it about 72 hours to cure and then start applying poly. But I generally apply it as a wipe on product since I just do not have the confidence in my spraying ability.

I will sand the wood, prior to applying the finish, to 150, if I am going to stain, and 180 if I am going to put on a clear finish. After applying the poly I will generally lightly sand between coats with 600 grit and keep on applying successsive coats until I get the build I want (I have put on as many as 10 on).

The only concern I have with the Maloof formula is that the blo, in my opinion, will have problems penetrating the wood after the poly forms a protective layer. After the first couple of coats the wood will be sealed and the blo will not be absorbed by the wood. So, in effect, you would just be better off to apply only a wipe on poly. Since it would be at least 50% in concentration it would build a surface finish faster than the Maloof formula.

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

View Betsy's profile


3391 posts in 3894 days

#3 posted 09-13-2010 04:17 AM

Thanks guys. I’m looking forward to getting a finish on this chair – I think it’s going to look great. I’ll post pictures soon.

I don’t have a spray system so it will all be a wipe on issue for me.

Thanks again for the advise.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View Russ's profile


142 posts in 3197 days

#4 posted 09-13-2010 06:19 AM

Hi Betsy! I use Sam’s Stuff all the time but Sam used pure tung oil and applied a coat a day, wiping of the excess after about 5 minutes. I have found that when you wipe of the excess wipe it real good.The stool on the left has 5 coats of Sams stuff and the one on the left has

-- Happiness is being covered in sawdust

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