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Wormholes turned white - help me recover this finish!

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Forum topic by JohnMcClure posted 07-01-2018 06:55 PM 2412 views 0 times favorited 26 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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JohnMcClure

232 posts in 757 days


07-01-2018 06:55 PM

Topic tags/keywords: help finish epoxy logs to lumber wormholes worm holes

I made this tabletop from wormy oak that I milled and kiln dried.


Finish is System 3 Clear Coat epoxy.
SWMBO likes it, but says it’s too shiny. So I took the shine off by sanding with 400, 800, 1200. This created a lot of white dust, which collected into the wormholes (which didn’t fill with epoxy).

Now I can’t get the dust out of the holes! Won’t blow out with compressed air; I’ve tried brushing out with a toothbrush, but it’s a lot of work for each hole and there are hundreds of them; plus it seems the brush was getting most, but not all, of the white powder out.

To make matters worse, I had used some BLO to lubricate the last round of sanding, and I’m starting to think it has coagulated the remaining dust into the holes – I left it for a few days, and now even brushing won’t take the white out.

What do you LJocks recommend?

Some options I can think of:
Option 1: mix some black tinted epoxy, and using a toothpick, drop a bit into each hole. Then, quickly, wipe the top aggressively with a Xylene-soaked rag to pick up any excess black epoxy. The black probably won’t fill the holes completely, but will (hopefully) cover the white; and wiping it off will prevent having to sand again and recreate the problem.

Option 2: Liberally apply shellac. Hoping that the shellac flows into the holes and suspends the powder particles, making them clear; then wipe the top off with denatured (avoiding the shine that SWMBO doesn’t like).

Option 3: Black tinted wax? I think it’s a bad idea…

Option 4: any ideas you folks have?

-- I'd rather be a hammer than a nail


26 replies so far

View RobHannon's profile

RobHannon

145 posts in 647 days


#1 posted 07-01-2018 07:14 PM

Do you have an hidden area or cutoff you can test? I think filling it with a dark resin will look the best, but kind of a gamble as to if it will stain the wood or not at this stage.

Cerusing with a dark wax also could work well, but I don’t know how it will work out with BLO as an undercoat.

All else fails you could try clearing the residue out with a brass brush. Be a lot of work and you will need to top coat it with something to get rid of the scratched, but that is a big piece not to ultimately be happy with.

Good luck and let us know what worked for you.

View diverlloyd's profile

diverlloyd

3009 posts in 1974 days


#2 posted 07-01-2018 07:29 PM

Have you tried a bush on a shop vac?

View DJHendriks's profile

DJHendriks

14 posts in 432 days


#3 posted 07-01-2018 07:39 PM

I had a similar problem, at least i think its similar, with a cupboard that was painted white.
After peeling off the paint, all the white dots were very visible. Far more than a hundred…
It took me two nights to clean them, using a needle and a vacuum cleaner.
Needless to say, it was a heck of a job, but finally it made me happy.

-- a mistake is quicker than me...

View jbay's profile

jbay

2583 posts in 1016 days


#4 posted 07-01-2018 07:43 PM


Have you tried a bush on a shop vac?

- diverlloyd

Like this?

I would see what a brush with paint thinner (mineral spirits) does. Then blow it out with air while it’s wet.
The BLO may have sealed in the sanding dust.
If that’s the case, filling with black epoxy may be the only other way to go, without stripping it out..

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

1831 posts in 2106 days


#5 posted 07-01-2018 08:21 PM

The blo most likely sealed a significant amount in the holes – wrong choice. I’ve had the same issue many times. A brush on a shop vac and microfiber towels help but usually dont get it all. I thin paste wax down till watery and add dark dye – depends on the project color – pretty much flood the surface so the wax mix gets in all the holes, then wipe The surface down to get an even wax coating. You can also wipe the surface with a damp ms rag to strip the wax but leave it in the holes.

Typical ob stains have pigment and dye. In a can that has sat for a few days the pigment settles out. The liquid on top has dye in it and can be mixed with the wax. Just have to find the right color.

View diverlloyd's profile

diverlloyd

3009 posts in 1974 days


#6 posted 07-01-2018 09:57 PM


Have you tried a bush on a shop vac?

- diverlloyd

Like this?

I would see what a brush with paint thinner (mineral spirits) does. Then blow it out with air while it s wet.
The BLO may have sealed in the sanding dust.
If that s the case, filling with black epoxy may be the only other way to go, without stripping it out..

- jbay

It would be better if the bush had white petals. Sorry for the misspelling it’s a bad migraine day. What I had invisioned was the shop vac with a small stiff detail brush attached. If I feel up to going out to the shop I will take a picture of the one I have well if I can find it. It’s a mess out there right now.

View jbay's profile

jbay

2583 posts in 1016 days


#7 posted 07-01-2018 10:01 PM

It would be better if the bush had white petals. Sorry for the misspelling it s a bad migraine day. What I had invisioned was the shop vac with a small stiff detail brush attached. If I feel up to going out to the shop I will take a picture of the one I have well if I can find it. It s a mess out there right now.

- diverlloyd

I was just funnin with ya. I misspell words all the time….
(hope the migraine goes away)

View Rich's profile

Rich

3526 posts in 706 days


#8 posted 07-01-2018 11:06 PM


I would see what a brush with paint thinner (mineral spirits) does. Then blow it out with air while it s wet.
The BLO may have sealed in the sanding dust.
If that s the case, filling with black epoxy may be the only other way to go, without stripping it out..

- jbay

If the mineral spirits doesn’t work, try acetone using something like a Q-tip. Acetone is a solvent for epoxy and may dissolve the dust.

Then again, it may not :) Best of luck.

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

View JohnMcClure's profile

JohnMcClure

232 posts in 757 days


#9 posted 07-01-2018 11:42 PM

Thanks everyone. Looking hard at these suggestions, I’m trying to lay out an order in which to try things, starting with the most reversible.
First would be shopvac, with stiff brush (I have tried, but perhaps need to try more), with needle (I’ve been using a sharpened piece of wire but a needle is a good idea).

Next would be brushing with MS.

If that fails, next would be dabbing acetone into the pores.

So far, all the above are aimed at REMOVING the dust.

Oh, and if any of that leaves scratches, sanding to remove them is out of the question – so that’s a problem!

So I think if this fails, I’ll next try the shellac method (which nobody seconded!) since it’s reversible. If it can suspend the particles, making them clear, my problem would be solved.

Then it’s either wax or black epoxy. Epoxy being irreversible, and wax being difficult to reverse. I’m concerned that wax would be pretty dull… but if there are unintended consequences with the epoxy I’d be in trouble.

I hate the idea of letting this gorgeous peice get ruined. And I hate the idea of having to put much more labor into this – I’ve already put a LOT into it.

Anyway thanks for the advice all, I’ll try to let you know how it goes! and keep it coming if anyone has more suggestions!

-- I'd rather be a hammer than a nail

View ColonelTravis's profile

ColonelTravis

1876 posts in 2011 days


#10 posted 07-02-2018 12:56 AM

Technically, this is your wife’s fault. I’d make her do the work.

View Fresch's profile

Fresch

302 posts in 2037 days


#11 posted 07-02-2018 01:14 AM

Try car clay

View JohnMcClure's profile

JohnMcClure

232 posts in 757 days


#12 posted 07-05-2018 12:21 AM

I have updates on this:
I tried brushing aggressively with a toothbrush and MS (no shopvac, I truly don’t believe it would have helped). Once the MS evaporated, the situation was a bit better, but the problem persisted. Those holes are so deep and narrow that the contaminants do not want to evacuate.
A high-pressure spray of MS through a narrow nozzle would work, maybe, but I don’t have such equipment. Compressed air does not get it.

I also tried dissolving the particulate with Xylene – sounds like a great idea, but no, once the Xylene evaporates, the deposits remain.

Two options, I guess: a) brush with MS for one more round, then be satisfied with the result and accept the imperfection; b) try dripping black epoxy into the whitest holes.
I think I’ll try b on a few tonight. Will update if anything works.

Oh – and I looked at car clay, but I don’t think it works in this application because the holes are so deep and narrow, the clay would not reach the contaminates.

-- I'd rather be a hammer than a nail

View tomd's profile

tomd

2165 posts in 3887 days


#13 posted 07-05-2018 12:32 AM

I would try the shellac on a small area and see if it works, I know it works on lacquer and poly.

-- Tom D

View JohnMcClure's profile

JohnMcClure

232 posts in 757 days


#14 posted 07-05-2018 02:43 PM



I would try the shellac on a small area and see if it works, I know it works on lacquer and poly.

- tomd


Forgot to mention – I tried that too. No use! I think the epoxy powder, combined with my foolish attempted solution using BLO, is congealed well enough that the shellac couldn’t flow into it and suspend the particulates.

-- I'd rather be a hammer than a nail

View Rich's profile

Rich

3526 posts in 706 days


#15 posted 07-05-2018 03:15 PM

One more shot in the dark:

https://www.amazon.com/Dremel-405-02-Nylon-Bristle-Brushes/dp/B015PK3B8C

Edit: Assuming it isn’t fully hardened, that is. Another possibility would be to hire a dental hygienist to bring their tools over and scrape out the “plaque.” I doubt if your dental insurance will cover that. (just kidding about the last part)

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

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