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Do you rub your wood?

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Forum topic by Tim Kindrick posted 08-10-2011 04:13 AM 3309 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Tim Kindrick

369 posts in 1213 days


08-10-2011 04:13 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question trick tip resource spray gun finishing refurbishing sanding

Now that I have your attention… What is the best technique or method to “Rubbing Out” a finish? I’m not that interested in french polishing per se’....... just want to get the best out of each project. Also what is the best method of getting into the inside corners when rubbing out the finish?

Btw, this is a serious question!!! Thanks!!! LOL

-- I have metal in my neck but wood in my blood!!


20 replies so far

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15699 posts in 2877 days


#1 posted 08-10-2011 04:22 AM

I’ve used pumice and rottenstone, with paraffin oil as a lubricant. You do the pumice first because it’s coarser, then the rottenstone, using a soft cloth or a felt eraser in small, circular motions. Very labor intensive, very messy, but great results.

I’ve also done the same routing with automotive polish followed by carnuba wax. The results are pretty much the same, not as messy, and, as a bonus, it smells good. :-)

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Tim Kindrick's profile

Tim Kindrick

369 posts in 1213 days


#2 posted 08-10-2011 04:31 AM

Thanks Charlie!!! As I’ve mentioned in other forum posts, I’ve used Turtle Wax Car Polish but it gets into cracks and wood grain and leaves little white specks everywhere!!!! I usually apply furniture wax and mineral spirits (50/50) with 0000 steel wool but sometimes I need/want a more “high gloss” finish….... I have heard of pumice and rottenstone before but I have no idea where to get these… any suggestions?

-- I have metal in my neck but wood in my blood!!

View peteg's profile

peteg

2897 posts in 1482 days


#3 posted 08-10-2011 05:27 AM

An old electric tooth brush is very good for tight corners

-- Pete G: If you always do what you always did you'll always get what you always got

View Clarence's profile

Clarence

125 posts in 1765 days


#4 posted 08-10-2011 06:29 AM

I used to.

-- Getting old is a good thing, but being old kinda stinks.

View hjt's profile

hjt

776 posts in 1797 days


#5 posted 08-10-2011 11:52 AM

Now Tim, that’s just a little TOO personal.

-- Harold

View tenontim's profile

tenontim

2131 posts in 2403 days


#6 posted 08-10-2011 01:18 PM

Both of these places carry pumice and rottenstone.
http://www.oldemill.com/
http://www.highlandwoodworking.com
Be careful using auto waxes on furniture. Most contain silicon, which will prevent just about any finish from sticking to it, so you ever need to refinish anything that it’s on, you’re in for a world of grief.

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15699 posts in 2877 days


#7 posted 08-10-2011 05:38 PM

And here I was trying to take the high road for once. :-)

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Tim Kindrick's profile

Tim Kindrick

369 posts in 1213 days


#8 posted 08-10-2011 06:23 PM

Damn, my bad!!!!! I just thought I would add a little humor to the question just for fun…... Should have known better. Thanks for trying Charlie and thanks for the links Tim and the tip Pete.

If anyone has any real tips, tricks or suggestions about rubbing out finishes…. please post them. I have read several other threads where people had questions like “What is rubbing out finishes all about” so I was actually hoping to collect different opinions on this subject here.

-- I have metal in my neck but wood in my blood!!

View scrabby's profile

scrabby

42 posts in 1845 days


#9 posted 08-10-2011 07:49 PM

Great post topic – love this new forum! On that note…

Can someone clarify if these techniques are suitable for water-based poly-crylic finishes or just poly-urethane and laquer.

Second clarification – how long do you let the clear finish cure before rubbing?

-- Jim, North Vancouver, BC

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15699 posts in 2877 days


#10 posted 08-10-2011 08:18 PM

scrabby: Yes, you can rub out a water-based finish. In my experience, 48 hours drying time is plenty, although I’ve heard recommendations of a week or more.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

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scrabby

42 posts in 1845 days


#11 posted 08-10-2011 08:46 PM

Thanks Charlie – I’m going to give it a shot on a desk top I’m currrently finishing. Even when I apply water-base poly in thin layers with shop towels (which I also learned folllowing this forum), I’m not totally satisfied with the final smoothness, so I look forward to this next stage of my finishing learning curve.

Cheers.

-- Jim, North Vancouver, BC

View mcoyfrog's profile

mcoyfrog

3212 posts in 2253 days


#12 posted 08-10-2011 09:03 PM

When I first got back into woodworking I dreaded the finish work I’m kinda lazy so I could never get a good finish without a lot of effort. So I started reading about finishes and of course read about french polish and thought well thats way too much work for a lazy guy like myself, but maybe I can adapt it. I did and I’ve been doing this finish for years now with great results and minimal work. (You know me being lazy hee hee)

So the basics are 2-3 coats 1lb cut white shelac, then 2-3 coats rub on poly

The 1lb cut shelac
buy regular white shelac at any home improvement store along with denatured alcohol The shelac is 3lb cut, so you mix it with the denatured alcohol to get 1lb cut. Basically fill a mason jar about 1/3 full then the other 2/3 with denatured alcohol, you can go thinner if you want (this will make a better penetration when thinner).

I just use a brusht to apply the shelac. Since its so thin dry time between these first couple coats is very fast. I just use regular old 220 sanding blocks between coats, don’t even need to wipe the dust off. As in a french polish the dust from each sanding works its way into the groves and since its just hardened finish, it helps build up the layers.

Then I use a chunk of old t-shirt to apply the wipe on poly, also sanding in between coats. In a french polish i’ve read about the making and using of the rubbing pad and I’m sure if one wasn’t as lazy as me that would make the finish that much more awesome but well you know the t-shirt works and when I’m done I toss it in my dirty rags container and take it the the waste site at our local dump.

When I first started doing this, the wipe-on poly didn’t exist, I just used a cut version of the brush on poly so if you can’t find the wipe on stuff in your town this works also.

Anyway thats my 2cents worth hope it helps in some way.

-- Wood and Glass they kick (well you know) Have a great day - Dug

View Brit's profile

Brit

5153 posts in 1501 days


#13 posted 08-10-2011 09:53 PM

Scrabby – Last year I built a breakfast bar out of hard maple. I wanted to keep the natural colour of the maple, so I used Ronseal Diamond hard acrylic water-based varnish which looks white in the can. I applied two coats straight from the can without any sanding. It was touch dry in 15 minutes and you could recoat after 2 hours. You have to work quite quickly and it doesn’t flow out like an oil-based varnish so you can’t keep going over it with your brush or you just get more brush marks. After the third coat had been on for 2 hours, I rubbed out the brush marks slowly using light pressure by hand, with P800 wet & dry paper used dry. This got rid of all the brush marks, leaving a really smooth surface. Then I wiped all the dust off with a slightly damp cloth, let it dry and applied a fourth coat. I rubbed that coat out again with P800 followed by P1200 if I remember correctly (again used dry). The resulting finish was silky smooth and very tactile.

I have also used pumice and rottenstone as Charlie described on an oil-based finish which if done correctly gives you a finish like you find on a Steinway piano. As Charlie said, it is a lot of work and quite messy.

I have also rubbed out Liberon Finishing Oil with a felt block and Behlen’s wool lube (which is basically expensive washing up liquid) and that removes all of the dust nibs leaving the finish smooth to the touch.

Some people in the US use the brown paper bags that their groceries come in to rub out the finish and remove the dust nibs.

The important thing in my opinion is that when you intend to use a new finishing regime, always take the time to work through the entire process on a test piece, before trying it on your actual project. If you mess up the test piece, figure out what you did wrong and try it on another test piece. It is worth getting it right. There are as many finishing techniques as there are woodworkers in my experience and you have to find what product/process works best for you. One thing that is universally true though, is that you can’t rush a good finish. It takes as long as it takes so don’t rush it.

-- Andy -- Old Chinese proverb say: If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it.

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scrabby

42 posts in 1845 days


#14 posted 08-10-2011 10:17 PM

Great advice and feedback….thanks Brit!

I’m committed to water-based products, as I work in the basement, and don’t want to expose my family to evaporating solvent in the house, so I’m going to experiment, like you suggest, to develop a regime and results I’m proud of.

It would also probably help me to move away from Minwax poly to professional-grade water-base finishes like General Finishes and such.

-- Jim, North Vancouver, BC

View Tim Kindrick's profile

Tim Kindrick

369 posts in 1213 days


#15 posted 08-10-2011 10:20 PM

Thanks Guys! That’s what I was expecting from this great LJ community!!!!!

Mcoyfrog, I am also too lazy for french polishing!! Even your version seems too complicated for me but thanks for the input, I’m sure someone will try it!!!!!!!!

Brit Andy, I’ve read about the use of brown paper bags an d tried it a couple of times…. it didn’t work for me. I rubbbed until my arms ached but couldn’t tell much difference(except sore arms)!

Btw, I just recieved the latest Grizzly catalog today and noticed they carry Behlen: Pumice and Rottenstone plus an additional Rubbing Compound…. ALL NEW PRODUCTS!!!!

-- I have metal in my neck but wood in my blood!!

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