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How do I get the grain back?

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Forum topic by Wingstress posted 882 days ago 2035 views 1 time favorited 31 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Wingstress

327 posts in 2018 days


882 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: question finishing veneering

I build high end longboards which use exotic veneer. I often run into a problem when using wild grain burls. The book match looks awesome when I vacuum press it onto the board, but then after I sand it the grain totally lightens up and I can’t get it back. I’ve tried tung oil, shellac, high end polies, but it just doesn’t do it justice… This last board I did, I told myself I just wasn’t going to sand it, but there were so many mirco holes that the glue came through in the press so I had to sand it down. Completing this board was so anticlimactic because it looked better half way through than it did finished… Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated…

Here is the veneer during the bookmatch.
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Now after gluing it down and sanding and using tung oil and 3 coats of General finishes Enduro Var the grain is so faint its hard to make out any of the patterns. I resorted to using a paint marker to get the faces back, but it doesn’t do it justice. I’m so ticked right now. I’m just glad I made this for myself and didn’t try to sell this one, because it would be false advertising.

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Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
If you like my boards. Check out www.trlongboards.com
Thanks
Tom

-- Tom, Simsbury, CT


31 replies so far

View EPJartisan's profile

EPJartisan

933 posts in 1628 days


#1 posted 882 days ago

What grit are you sanding down to? Most exotics look best at 600+, and what wood is that, a lot of wood changes color or loose contrast when finished… hmmm.. and if you use Tung oil, some brands can give an unhealthy yellow tint making creams into other colors, but then I am partially color blind, but I notice tung oil tend to darken more than a natural finish danish oil. Both oil, in my opinion, don’t always enhance the grain because they fill cell areas to catch light… and unusual grains can be dark.. or blotchy areas. But then I also feel that using a blotch control makes the wood look like plastic. Maybe you should forgo sand paper and use scraper cards. that will limit how much dust gets stuck in the oil as well.

-- the sacrifice of one's ego is the greatest gift to someone you respect

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EPJartisan

933 posts in 1628 days


#2 posted 881 days ago

Vonhagen … Dude why are you still going after me. I did not contradict you in any way.. and if you look closer at my postings you will find there are projects with veneer, i do not post all the projects I have made. Try to be more professional and socially decent then trying to point out your inaccurate perception of my level of experience. Wingstress said exotic veneer.. walnut burl veneer is not really exotic, so I assumed it might have been something imported. Stop being a jerk and leave the drama in the non-shop forum where it belongs.

-- the sacrifice of one's ego is the greatest gift to someone you respect

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EPJartisan

933 posts in 1628 days


#3 posted 881 days ago

Wingstress… yes Vonhagen has different experience than me, and His work is amazing… but there is a culture war going on here, and between us two in particular … and I apologize to you. Take my thoughts or not.. I work in all kinds of woods, not as many veneers, but I do finish most splotchy wood down to 600 when using danish oil.

-- the sacrifice of one's ego is the greatest gift to someone you respect

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DrDirt

2271 posts in 2245 days


#4 posted 881 days ago

Wingstress – what glue are you using to vacuum press your veneers?

Often the lightening, especially burls which have so much end-grain will wick the glue as you are experiencing.
One way to avoid is to use 2 ply veneer since it will have less glue coming to the surface.

Some use epoxy, others a thickened PVA that has fibres in it as a thickener – so less weep
http://www.veneersystems.com/index.php/action/item/id/31/prevaction/category/previd/3/prevstart/0/

Good luck – the burl veneering I have done to make a radial match end-table I just used titebond white glue on walnut burl, and I didn’t have a problem losing the grain (or at least not as dramatic as your longboard) and I finished with Waterlox original (tung oil wiping varnish).

Cheers
Dave

-- "If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astonish ourselves." Edison

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EPJartisan

933 posts in 1628 days


#5 posted 881 days ago

I was going to post this after I got the poly finish, which will make the colors really POP.. but this is for you Vonhagen. Please let’s try to get along on this site through some manner of respect and hate each other in private?

It is bloodwood veneer in laid with madagascar ebony, a reconstituted ebony veneer, on laminate italian poplar veneers, with a 1/8” steam bent walnut core.. the center is bloodwood stock, on poplar veneers with fiddle back Maple filaments and solid madagascar ebony anthers and stigma. I will have much better pictures showing details in a few days.

Dr Dirt.. :) I’ve been using a two part epoxy from WestSystem, one of the combinations fills open pores very well … and almost disappears under a varnish coat. If I get another order for a table like this I am most definitely switching to double ply veneers.

-- the sacrifice of one's ego is the greatest gift to someone you respect

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SPHinTampa

548 posts in 2188 days


#6 posted 881 days ago

I am having the same kind of problem with rotary cut bubinga. Unfortunately I do not have an answer for you but based on some research this weekend, I will offer a couple of theories:

1. burls are a lot of end grain, which will soak up more finish and tend to darken, reducing the contrast in your wood. The advice to finish to a very fine surface (essentially burnishing it) would seem to make sense as it would help keep the absorption rate of the finish more even.
2. the use of oil with a yellowish cast would tend to make brown appearing woods “browner” for lack of better term, again darkening your wood and reducing contrast
3. sanding (as well possibly pressure from the veneer press) tends to compress the wood fibers, which dulls down the chattoyance (sp?), so the use of the card scraper would shear away the compressed fiber, providing a more distinctive grain.

I plan to scrape the test pieces I have and try sanding with 400/600 on one half later this week to see if that helps. I am also going to test water based vs oil based finish to see if that makes a difference. I know that oil based finishes tend to make “figures” pop but I think this may be a case of too much of a good thing.

Again, I am not an expert, I am just reading what the experts say and trying to figure what to do. I will post my results.

-- Shawn, I ask in order to learn

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a1Jim

109409 posts in 2080 days


#7 posted 881 days ago

Hey Tom & Shawn

I would get a copy of finishing from A-Z beyond the books DVD from Charles Neil or just e mail him .
Here is a table he just finished.

http://intheworkshop.wordpress.com/

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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SPHinTampa

548 posts in 2188 days


#8 posted 881 days ago

Great advice. After watching him on youtube this weekend, I ordered the DVD set.

-- Shawn, I ask in order to learn

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a1Jim

109409 posts in 2080 days


#9 posted 881 days ago

Enjoy Shawn
There’s ton’s of good information that can help you finish like a pro.

Here’s a link for Charles Videos for anyone else that might be interested.

https://charlesneilwoodworking.3dcartstores.com/DVDs_c_7.html

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View CharlesNeil's profile

CharlesNeil

1098 posts in 2373 days


#10 posted 881 days ago

Ok folks, I dont do a ton of veneer, but i have finished alot of it, but I have some really good friends who are experts in it, in MHO, Sal Marino from http://www.monsterwoodshop.com/ as well as Randy Child, http://www.racfurniture.com/ , both are members here, so I am going to try to get them as well as myself to chime in here tomorrow, and see if we can answer all the questions, deal,,

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CharlesNeil

1098 posts in 2373 days


#11 posted 881 days ago

Ok, got “the boys” together, we will discuss this right here about 11ish EST tomorrow,,, stay tuned, :)

View SPHinTampa's profile

SPHinTampa

548 posts in 2188 days


#12 posted 881 days ago

Here is post that I did to show the results that I have had so far – “Veneered Sofa Table” :http://http://lumberjocks.com/SPHinTampa/blog/26604

Thank you for your consideration. Wingstress – hope you dont feel that I have hijacked your thread … not my intent – but I think we are experiencing potentially a similar problem.

-- Shawn, I ask in order to learn

View Wingstress's profile

Wingstress

327 posts in 2018 days


#13 posted 881 days ago

Thanks everyone. So far, I’ve heard sand more, scrape, use different glue, and one interesting comment was the vacuum press pressing down the grain to mute it.

Because all my longboards are curved, I’ve never tried to use a scraper. Sanding more isn’t a good option either, because my boards are expensive as it is. I really like the idea of end grain taking too much finish and “browning” out. I don’t want to use different glue because I know the glue I use works in longboards. Many of my clients take my boards to 60MPH so I don’t feel like experimenting with the construction.

Still feel stuck. :-)

-- Tom, Simsbury, CT

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SPHinTampa

548 posts in 2188 days


#14 posted 881 days ago

I could easily be smoking dope with regards to the use of a veneer press affecting the appearance of the wood. My thinking started when I noticed a difference in the appearance of the veneered surface after pressing it, which I do not recall seeing when I used the hot iron method for another project.

My reasoning is based on the fact that chatoyance is impacted by how light hits the fiber bundles on the wood surface. It stands to reason significant compression could change the configuration of large groups and disrupt the effect. A card scraper, or a gooseneck scraper for curved surfaces, should produce a better appearance if my thinking is correct.

I agree that it is more likely that something in the top coat is darkening the surface and eliminating the contrast.

Looking forward to hearing from Mr. Neil tomorrow.

-- Shawn, I ask in order to learn

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pierce85

508 posts in 1065 days


#15 posted 880 days ago

did it ever occur to you that there are some rednecks here on this website? ...you should think twice about what you talk about here. need i say more?

Noooo, really? On this site? I never would have guessed… But at least we know that homophobia is alive and well around here. And I didn’t even think twice about that statement. Should I be worried, vonhagen?

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