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How should I finish a DFir burl?

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Forum topic by blockhead posted 813 days ago 1348 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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blockhead

1450 posts in 1904 days


813 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: douglas fir burl finish question wall table

I could really use some help here LJ’s. I recently received a large crosscut slab of Douglas Fir with some burl and a few pitch pockets. It’s essentially a huge piece of fat wood or fat lighter with the heavy aroma of turpentine and some fascinating grain. It was cut down about 25 years ago, so am I safe to assume the pitch is set?

The plan is to make a couple of wall table tops from the slab and would like a soft, warm finish. What finish(s) do you recommend? Any special techniques, processes?

I would greatly appreciate any help. Thank you!

-- Brad, Oregon- The things that come to those who wait, may be the things left by those who got there first.


10 replies so far

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1289 days


#1 posted 813 days ago

Geez, that was a great description. I kept getting closer and closer to my monitor while I was reading it. I’d LOVE to set my eyes on that wood. I’m assembling a stack of DFir for my future workbench. I’ve developed a real “like” for it. Love is reserved for walnut:) I can’t wait to see what you do with it!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View stefang's profile

stefang

12537 posts in 1930 days


#2 posted 813 days ago

Hi Brad. I doubt you will have problems with pitch except for the individual pockets you mentioned. I have found that Fir stays pretty white (at least the ones in Norway) so you might have to use a stain to get a warm tone. I’m sure you will get some more detailed advice about actual finishes that work well.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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blockhead

1450 posts in 1904 days


#3 posted 813 days ago

@Al- Lol, yeah it definitely has a smell that I find very appealing. Looking forward to seeing that workbench

@Mike- The only white in these pieces are from some of the pitch crystallizing. Other than that, there are different tones of reds and oranges. It’s already warm, just want to keep it that way without a glossy or plastic looking finish to it.

-- Brad, Oregon- The things that come to those who wait, may be the things left by those who got there first.

View fatandy2003's profile

fatandy2003

136 posts in 839 days


#4 posted 813 days ago

I like Danish oil… I know, alot of people think it isn’t worth it, but I think it has a great look when applied right. Here is a recipe that I have found to work great:

1) apply coat #1 and keep wet for 1 hour. At the end of this time wipe off excess and continue to check for any oozing for the next several hours. (best to do this on a weekend). Allow this to dry for 48 hours. (Very Important)

2) apply coat #2 and keep wet for 20 minutes. Follow same procedure above. Allow to dry 48 hours. (Very Important)

3) apply coat #3 and wet sand with 360 grit. Spend some time on the ends of the pieces (end grain) and you will be amazed at the result. Wipe down after wet sanding and follow procedure above. Allow to dry 48 hours. (Very Important)

4) apply a coat of Watco Wax and wet sand with 1500 grit. Wipe and let dry.

(Recipe found at: http://woodworking.com/forum/showthread.php?16648-Danish-Oil-vs.-Teak-Oil)

Just a thought. Good luck!

-- -- Andy, Naples Italy, “Those who expect to reap the blessings of liberty must undergo the fatigues of supporting it” - Thomas Paine

View SPalm's profile

SPalm

4739 posts in 2478 days


#5 posted 813 days ago

Hey Brad.

I don’t know much, but I made my bench out of DF about 4 years ago so I have a little experience (blog). The top is over three inches thick and it has held up well – considering how it is a pretty soft wood. I put 3/4 inch maple as the last wood in the glue-up so this saves the edge/side from full abuse. I just used a sanding sealer followed by danish oil. The leg assemblies are as strong as when I made them. It has mellowed to a nice color – as most woods do. I am doing some add-ons for it right now and they are a lot lighter in color.

Some of what I have found out:
It is soft, so treat it nicely. It will splinter easily on its sharp edges, so watch out during milling and the final design. It seems to be extremely stable and I have not noticed any cracking, warping, or separation. It likes a coat of oil every now and then. It will mellow with age. It is a pretty wood – I like it.

Love to see a pic of your piece,
Steve

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View blockhead's profile

blockhead

1450 posts in 1904 days


#6 posted 813 days ago

Thanks a lot for the info Andy and Steve. Appreciate the links too. Sounds like some great insight and one of the many reasons I like this site so much.

Steve, I’ll try and get some pics shortly. I spent yesterday getting the faces planed and true. They are both about 40” long and just over “12 wide which is the widest I could go with my planer. My jointer is only 6” so I just used my planer, some shims and a MDF skid to get it nice and flat. I was surprised how easy it was and how well it worked.

-- Brad, Oregon- The things that come to those who wait, may be the things left by those who got there first.

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blockhead

1450 posts in 1904 days


#7 posted 813 days ago

Here ya go, Steve. This is before milling…

and after.

Small section dampened with water

-- Brad, Oregon- The things that come to those who wait, may be the things left by those who got there first.

View fatandy2003's profile

fatandy2003

136 posts in 839 days


#8 posted 812 days ago

Beautiful pieces of wood! If you like how is looks with the water, that is exactly how it will look with the oil. If you want it any darker, I would not use the link I provided earlier. Best of luck!

-- -- Andy, Naples Italy, “Those who expect to reap the blessings of liberty must undergo the fatigues of supporting it” - Thomas Paine

View Roger's profile

Roger

14094 posts in 1400 days


#9 posted 811 days ago

Wow! Just cut it in slabs & hang em on the wall… What beauty

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Kentuk55@bellsouth.net

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blockhead

1450 posts in 1904 days


#10 posted 811 days ago

Yeah, that’s the look I’m shooting for, Andy. My main concern is finding a finish that will stand up to the pitch and terpene in the wood. I think the link you provided is just the ticket. Thanks again!

@ Roger- Can you believe I only paid $5 for that slab?

-- Brad, Oregon- The things that come to those who wait, may be the things left by those who got there first.

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