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Forum topic by NoSpace posted 11-26-2017 04:57 AM 492 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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NoSpace

104 posts in 1074 days


11-26-2017 04:57 AM

i’ve always just used poly or danish oil and happy with the results, but I have a chess board that I think I’d like to try a mirror finish with—never done it before. where I’m unsure:

- I believe I need to “fill the grain”. It’s maple and Sapele. What would be the correct filler?

- does it need to be sealed after that? spray a coat of shellac? or seal before?

- then it’s a few coats of varnish with increasing the grit and rottenstone stone at the end. Does a sprayer make a big difference?


13 replies so far

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

1499 posts in 1221 days


#1 posted 11-26-2017 06:09 AM

A French polish is one way to get that super glossy finish. Search for tutorials to see if that’s what you are looking for. Lacquer might also work and be simpler.

Not sure about the the filler. With 2 different color woods, one that doesn’t need a filler, it migh be hard to keep the filler from discoloring the maple but that is just a guess since I’ve only recently tried to use filler with limited success.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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Gilley23

375 posts in 216 days


#2 posted 11-26-2017 09:18 AM

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OSU55

1422 posts in 1823 days


#3 posted 11-26-2017 03:51 PM

There are clear grain fillers available, never tried them. French polish with shellac. You can “mix” techniques with shellac – spray several coats then french polish the film – easier than french polish the whole finish. Lacquer works great but should be sprayed. Target Coatings has a wb lacquer that works very well EM6000. Whatever you use, the longer you let the finish cure, as in weeks and weeks, before final rubout, the less telegraphing you will have – the finish is super smooth but over the next months little flaws show through from the finish continuing to shrink. Its very difficult to prevent. A bar top finish or epoxy are other possibilities.

View Rich's profile

Rich

1975 posts in 423 days


#4 posted 11-26-2017 04:02 PM

Two water based products are Aqua Coat and General Finishes sanding sealer. Aqua Coat is spread over the surface, then squeegeed off. A bondo-type spreader works best. The GF product is brushed on and left to dry, then sanded. Both of these generally require two or more applications to get the pores completely filled.

Mohawk makes a solvent based sanding sealer in an aerosol can. Again, sanding between coats is needed along with multiple coats.

-- No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

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NoSpace

104 posts in 1074 days


#5 posted 11-27-2017 01:50 AM

I ordered the aqua coat, saw a good review of it for African mahogany. Not sure how i want to proceed from there now.

View Rich's profile

Rich

1975 posts in 423 days


#6 posted 11-27-2017 02:31 AM


I ordered the aqua coat, saw a good review of it for African mahogany. Not sure how i want to proceed from there now.

- NoSpace

African mahogany is what I use it on. I got a great deal on a couple hundred bd-ft years ago and love it, except for the open grain.

First off with the Aqua Coat, be sure to stir it when you first open it. The first time I used it, mine had a pretty thick surface, and not knowing any better, I assumed that was what the stuff was like. After getting frustrated trying to spread it, I went to add a little water to thin it only to discover that it was quite jellylike under the top layer. Lesson learned.

Like I said, a bondo spreader, or something similar works well. I’ve seen videos where they used old credit cards, so that works too. The idea is to spread it over the surface, rubbing it into the pores, and then scrape the excess. You can put it right back in the jar. Once it dries, sand it with some 320 or 400 and assess the fill. You’ll almost surely need a second application, and maybe a third. Just keep going until you have the surface you want.

You’ll note that after scraping it off, there is virtually none left on the surface — only in the pores. When you sand, you’ll be sanding down to bare wood, and if you get it in the light just right, you’ll be able to see that the pores are filled. I’ve found I can treat it just like bare wood at that point and dye it, oil it, or just go to the top coat.

-- No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

View BurlyBob's profile

BurlyBob

5046 posts in 2099 days


#7 posted 11-27-2017 04:14 AM

I’m pretty limited as far as to really great products I my area. I’ve found that for my simple needs, thin the varnish to basically water and using polyester cloth folds I can achieve a really darn good mirror finish. In my limited experience the use of polyester and nylon panty hose can produce a seriously smooth and beautiful finish.

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NoSpace

104 posts in 1074 days


#8 posted 12-01-2017 12:07 AM

Trying to make this not too complicated:

Sand wood 220, apply tung oil to seal. Sand 220.

Aqua coat, applied as rich described above.

Spray on laqer 3 coats, sand up to 2000 and then rottenston.

Good enough?

View Rich's profile

Rich

1975 posts in 423 days


#9 posted 12-01-2017 01:31 AM


Good enough?

- NoSpace

I’d finish it with some wax. My two favorites are Crystal Wax by Staples (not the office supply folks) and Renaissance. Crystal contains carnauba, which is very hard, and Renaissance is considered by many to be the finest available.

I’ve used them both on different pieces and they leave a surface that begs to be touched.

-- No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

View Dustin's profile

Dustin

404 posts in 574 days


#10 posted 12-01-2017 02:07 PM

Not to rain on your parade, as this project sounds like it’ll be a real beauty, but will this be a gift for someone and/or played on often? The reason I ask: as a chess player, I know that personally (and many of the folks I play with) might find a highly reflective surface distracting during play. Though I’m more neurotic than most :p

Oh, and please be sure to upload pics when you’re finished!

-- "Ladies, if your husband says he'll get to it, he'll get to it. No need to remind him about it every 6 months."

View Planeman40's profile

Planeman40

1034 posts in 2595 days


#11 posted 12-01-2017 02:15 PM

I do mirror finishes often using this process.

Apply three coats of shellac. I mix my own from “seed” shellac. It is cheaper this way. When dry (overnight), use a new single edge razor blade to scrape the surface. The object of this scraping is to scrape away the high spots and apply shellac to fill in the low spots. after scraping, low spots will appear as shiny areas, high spots will appear dull from scraping. Apply more coats of shellac and scrape again until there are NO shiny spots. The surface will now be level. Sand with very fine sandpaper, then use very fine (0000 grade) steel wool to rub down the surface. Finish with burnishing the finish (rubbing) with a piece of clean paper towel. At this point the finish will have a mild gloss. Shellac dries very fast and does not allow enough time for the applied finish to level out before drying. For this reason, I apply one last coat of a slow drying finish (I use high gloss clear polyurethane) and let it dry for 24 hours. If you want to stay with shellac as the finish, hand buff the shellac surface with automotive buffing compound to get a mirror finish and finish by applying and buffing out a good wax.

And one more thing. As shellac is cut with alcohol, placing any liquid on it containing alcohol will ruin the finish. This is why these days shellac is not the favorite finish for furniture as people drinking alcohol containing drinks keep sitting them on the furniture.

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

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NoSpace

104 posts in 1074 days


#12 posted 12-02-2017 04:25 AM

It is a gift, but I doubt it will be used much. The guy needs 2.5” squares for some special chess pieces he has; decorative. But interesting point.

The shellac recommendations are interesting, I tried it once and it didn’t turn out very good. Seems a little technical, and I have a hard time understanding what’s going on. If I can use spray shellac (time is money too for me) I’ll try this on one of my upcoming jewelry boxes. though you didn’t say how to apply the shellac or sand between the 3 coats etc.

looks like wax is important, so I’ll check out Rich’s recommendations. I do have a Ryobi buffer I bought to wax a project that was a few spray coats of shellac (walnut). Okay, maybe turtle wax wasn’t the right choice, lol. But, all it did was make it look murky. maybe i was supposed to fill the grain on that one.

oh, anyone have last minute reservations on tung oil seal then filling with the aqua stuff?

Part of the finishing confusion for me is reading product directions doesn’t give me a clear path on what can be put over what. I did a test piece with tung oil, filler, lacquer and the color looks good and seems like should be ok.

View Planeman40's profile

Planeman40

1034 posts in 2595 days


#13 posted 12-02-2017 04:33 PM

Brush on the shellac using an artist’s type brush. Thin and clean the brush using alcohol. Shellac dries quickly and it “chalks” when sanding, meaning it does not tend to clog the sand paper. It leaves a fine white powder. Hand sand using very fine sand paper. Be careful about power buffing. That can create enough heat to begin to melt the shellac finish. Automotive wax should be fine. Also furniture polish wax.

Shellac is compatible with almost any finish over it like polyurethane, lacquer, enamel, etc. I don’t know about water based paints. Do a test before applying. Shellac makes a great base coating beneath other finishes. It dries quickly and “builds” well, meaning it fills in wood pores and build up a reasonable thick coating in preparation for other finishes. It is one of my favorite finishes. Read more about it here: https://www.shellac.net/

Tung oil will NOT give you a mirror finish. It will give you a mild sheen to the wood like most oil finishes. Tung oil comes from the tung nut. It is a liquid that, when exposed to air, slowly polymerizes into a waxy solid. This allows it to penetrate the wood surface as a liquid and then buff out as a wax. When storing, you must eliminate as much air as possible in the container or it will harden into a wax in the can.

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

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