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Maple pre-conditioner and finish

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Forum topic by Yavanna posted 04-20-2018 01:06 AM 483 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Yavanna

8 posts in 720 days


04-20-2018 01:06 AM

I have a small maple box to stain and finish . I personally like to leave maple unstained, but the other party involved wants it stained.

The stain will be alcohol dye.
The topcoat finish will be NON-poly spar varnish (McCloskey’s man o’ war).

Questions are about pre-treatment of the maple to prevent the stain from splotching:
Can I use GF Seal-a-Cell ( I have about a half a can, still good) or, because that is a polyurethane product, will that cause adhesion problems with the non-poly spar varnish?
If it’s not good idea to use the Seal-a cell, can I use a rattle can spray on shellac like Zinnser?
It is labeled 100% wax free.
Could I just thin the Spar varnish (2 pt mineral spirits : 1 part varnish) and use that as preconditioner?

And speaking of thinning the spar varnish, can it be thinned somewhat to make it wipe-on for the topcoat?
If so, what would would be a good ratio?

Thanks


9 replies so far

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

1308 posts in 279 days


#1 posted 04-20-2018 12:22 PM

I can’t remember if it was Old Masters or Man o’ War, but on the instructions,
it specifically says “do not thin”. so you need to insure the products you use
are compatible with thinning agents and which kind.
in the boating world, when using 100% SPAR varnish (not a poly blend) I like to start off
with a 50/50 pure mineral spirits mix as the sealer, then move up the ladder with 25% mineral spirits,
then 10%, then 5% and if you think it needs more, a coat or two of full strength for a very hard finish
and good UV protection (if you need it). (this technique is for bare wood only, not over a sealer).
Disclaimer: I have zero experience with shellac sealers and pre-conditioners under Spar Varnish.

~ jus my way of doing things ~

Edit: the Wooden Boat magazine just published an in depth article on how to varnish and maintain it.
a good read for the beginner: https://www.woodenboat.com/varnishing-basics

.

.

-- some people are like a Slinky - - - pretty much good for nothing. But still make you smile when you push them down a flight of stairs.

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OSU55

1831 posts in 2106 days


#2 posted 04-20-2018 03:45 PM

Read here for blotch control and using dye in varnish. Unless the box will be left outside there is no reason to use spar varnish. Interior varnishes are better for indoors – simple. OB dyes can be mixed directly in the varnish. Whats wrong with a poly varnish? Most complaints are “it looks plasticky” thats controlled by application, film thickness, and gloss level more than the product.

The advantage of dye mixed in is there are no worries of sanding through into the color layer, it just adds there color back. Once smoothed, clear coats can be added. I usually use a less tinted thicker mix for a few topcoats.

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Yavanna

8 posts in 720 days


#3 posted 04-20-2018 07:39 PM

John I think I’ll use your “ladder” method. And that was a good article on varnishing.

OSU, thanks for the link on tinting varnish.
I don’t want to use poly varnish because when it starts to wear you can see the thin plastic-like top layer edges between the wear and non-wear areas, and it can chip (seen that, too)

Thank you both for taking the time to reply.

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John Smith

1308 posts in 279 days


#4 posted 04-20-2018 09:57 PM

another “tip” that is also controversial is mixing your product (varnish, paint, stain, sealer, etc.)
in a separate container, add your thinner/hardener, then strain and do the job.
do not return any “modified” material back to the original container as it “could” spoil the whole can.
try to mix only enough to do the job at hand. [jus my Dos Centavos].

Norm says: “Read, Understand and Follow the instructions on the label of all products you use.
Pay particular attention to the safety notes and heed the warnings accordingly.
any rags used in the prepping/painting process that have solvents, oils or paint on them,
should be laid out in the open to completely air dry prior to discarding them”.

.

.

-- some people are like a Slinky - - - pretty much good for nothing. But still make you smile when you push them down a flight of stairs.

View Rich's profile

Rich

3525 posts in 706 days


#5 posted 04-20-2018 11:05 PM


another “tip” that is also controversial is mixing your product (varnish, paint, stain, sealer, etc.)
in a separate container, add your thinner/hardener, then strain and do the job.

- John Smith

I use mason jars. I like the wide mouth pint size for stuff like this because you can fit a 2” brush straight in there. With most topcoats, unless you’re religious about wiping the top of the jar clean, eventually the ring will glue itself to the jar. Sometimes a couple of whacks with the back of a knife will do it, sometimes not. A heat gun can help too. Worst case, you just toss the jar since they’re cheap. If there’s a salvageable amount of finish in there, open the lid with a can opener and pour into a fresh jar.

It makes it easier too, if you’re trying for something like a 10 or 15% addition of thinner, or whatever since you can eyeball it.

Be sure to label it too.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View Yavanna's profile

Yavanna

8 posts in 720 days


#6 posted 04-21-2018 12:27 AM

Thanks all for the advice about mixing.

Right now I’m using baby food jars to make samples.
The larger ones hold about 4 oz.
For pretreatment I mixed a 2:1 and 1.5:1 (MS to varnish) and it’s drying on the sample wood this moment, even as we speak (or write).
Jeez that stuff is potent. I did this outside wearing a half mask with the VOC (Black band) cartridge filters…couldn’t smell anything but after I was thru and laid the wiping cloth out on the wood pile to dry out, I can smell the stuff (faintly) 20 feet away. Wood is drying on the sheltered porch but there is no more odor to speak of.

View Gerald Thompson's profile

Gerald Thompson

1069 posts in 2351 days


#7 posted 04-21-2018 08:47 PM

I have been using Charles Neil’s conditioner for some time and love it. I have no used it on maple yet. I get great results on poplar and pine. I use water based dye on poplar and have worked up a mix that looks like cherry and it is even and no blotching.
The conditioner cannot be used with alcohol based finishes or lacquer.

-- Jerry

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CharlesNeil

2434 posts in 3987 days


#8 posted 04-24-2018 01:15 PM

Gerald,
It can be used under lacquer or alcohol based finishes provided its sprayed,

lacquer base or alcohol based dyes and stains cannot be wiped, over it , sprayed is fine

View Yavanna's profile

Yavanna

8 posts in 720 days


#9 posted 04-24-2018 01:46 PM

The thinned Man ‘o War varnish worked fine as a pre-conditioner…I used a 2:1 ratio (MS to varnish).
Then applied alcohol based stain , and it looked great.
Moving up to topcoat (first one), will be 50/50 varnish to MS, 2nd one will be 60/40, third will be 70/30…and I haven’t decide yet if I will put a 4th coat on it. We will see how it looks with three.

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