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my adventures with silky oak

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Forum topic by cathyb posted 08-04-2012 06:25 AM 2547 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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cathyb

757 posts in 1882 days


08-04-2012 06:25 AM

I’ve heard so many woeful tales about the toxicity of silky oak that I was initially reluctant to ever buy a single board. Yet, over the years I’ve bought at least 200 board feet and never had a problem. Last month when I was finishing up the renovation of the master bath, I framed the doorway and windows with that wood and finished it with polyurethane. Every time I look at the window frames, I smile at that beautiful grain. Even the electrician and plumber remarked at how stunning it looked. So it would naturally follow then that I should consider using my leftovers for my upcoming fair. I had enough for a pair of lamps. The lamps were made of multiple layers of wood and then turned on the lathe. Of course the silky oak was layer one, followed by Cuban mahogany and then Honduran mahogany with a mahogany base and cap. They looked great, but just about the time I decided to give myself a pat on the back, my luck suddenly changed.

I always apply Myland’s sanding sealer and friction polish to my lamps. I’ve made well over 100 lamps and never had a problem. It dries with minutes, but it didn’t dry on the silky oak. Not in a few minutes or 24 hours or 48 hours, yikes! (You know how it goes, these hurdles only happen when you have a deadline-right?) I wasn’t willing to abandon those lamps.

Here is the series of miscues that followed, until I figured out the problem. I wiped my tacky lamps with naphtha and decided, that maybe a more oil based finish would help. WRONG??? The mix was linseed oil, turpentine and polyurethane. After 48 hours, I removed most of that sticky mess with naphtha again. Then I put them back on the lathe and sanded them down to bare wood as much as possible. Next I tried Olympic sanding sealer, which actually dried. At this point, I thought I was in the clear. Just three weeks earlier, I had trimmed out the bathroom with this wood and the polyurethane worked great. So of course, I tried polyurethane over the sanding sealer. It didn’t dry agin. Today I decided to treat the silky oak like milo ( a wood so oily that the best finish is just wax). Back to the naphtha and the lathe and once the wood was bare again, I applied a coat of Liberon Black Bison paste wax and it worked! The lamps look fabulous and will go the fair after all that.

There is no moral to this story. I have no explanation to account for what happened. In fact, it will be some time until I tackle silky oak again. Has anyone had a similar finishing nightmare?

-- cathyb, Hawaii, www.cathyswoodworking.com


20 replies so far

View vonhagen's profile

vonhagen

483 posts in 1002 days


#1 posted 08-04-2012 09:52 AM

i have never heard of silky oak doing that, i just shoot it with sanding sealer and clear lacquer. maybe the naptha did something? i also use conversion varnish without a problem but i have not turned any on a lathe and i think finishing on the lathe is the way to go but not spraying. i did some teak shutters once and used man of war marine varnish and it took over a month to dry. please post some pics of what your working on cathy as i would like to see your work.
blaine

-- no matter what size job big or small do a job right or don't do it at all.

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 2523 days


#2 posted 08-04-2012 11:46 AM

Good story!!! THANKS!!! Looking forward to some pictures!!

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View Roger's profile

Roger

14447 posts in 1442 days


#3 posted 08-04-2012 12:06 PM

Sounds like a nightmare, but, glad you were able to fix it.

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

View DocSavage45's profile

DocSavage45

4930 posts in 1480 days


#4 posted 08-04-2012 01:46 PM

Don’t Know about”silky oak” but I had an incident sanding red oak in an enclosed space with a garage syle heater. My eyes were burning. My friend whom I was helping didn’thave a reaction. checked out the toxicity factors of wood dust and decided air cleaner for my shop when sanding inside?

As far as finish I have heard Charles Neil say how much he hates BLO because it is extremely slow to dry. He uses more waterbased finishes. Has a DVD on finishing from A to Z. since the VOV’s are problematic there has been a reduction of oil based products in USA.

Good luck!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

112030 posts in 2215 days


#5 posted 08-04-2012 01:56 PM

The silky oak I’ve seen is beautiful. All of your work is great Kathy .From your approach on this finishing problem I can tell you have experience over coming finishing problems. I agree with Tom about Charles Neil’s A-Z DVDs . Water borne finishes make life so much easier.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View DocSavage45's profile

DocSavage45

4930 posts in 1480 days


#6 posted 08-04-2012 02:03 PM

Couldn’t think of waterbourne..said water based which is inaccurate . LOL! Thanks Jim. Soon I’ve got to go to work, although not with wood. LOL!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View vonhagen's profile

vonhagen

483 posts in 1002 days


#7 posted 08-04-2012 02:16 PM

silky oak is also known as Australian lace wood

-- no matter what size job big or small do a job right or don't do it at all.

View shipwright's profile

shipwright

4942 posts in 1436 days


#8 posted 08-04-2012 04:45 PM

No help from me Cathy but good to see you back in the shop and online.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees. http://prmdesigns.com/

View cathyb's profile

cathyb

757 posts in 1882 days


#9 posted 08-04-2012 05:19 PM

Thanks for your support guys. I have never used a water based finish and maybe I should check it out. Honestly I continue to be baffled by what happened. I have another idea of how that disaster unfolded. It might be a red herring, but here goes: A few years ago I bought some no load 320 grit Norton sandpaper. It felt a little waxy and my guess is that it had silicon or some additive to facilitate the sanding. I had used it a few times and didn’t feel that it worked as well as my standard cloth backed paper from Klingspor. I should have thrown it away, but there is was last week and I was low on 320 grid. It is possible that the paper left a residue on the wood that prevented the finish from adhering. Both mahogany and silky oak have wide open pores so that the naphtha couldn’t remove it all, which prevented the second finish from curing. Remember this wasn’t just silky oak, it was also mahogany. Mahogany will take just about any finish. Something else had to be happening to sabotage my effort to finish those lamps. It’s just a hunch, but it had to be the paper. What do you think?

-- cathyb, Hawaii, www.cathyswoodworking.com

View Joseph Jossem's profile

Joseph Jossem

376 posts in 906 days


#10 posted 08-04-2012 06:15 PM

Never hear of that before with sand paper.Silky oak is natuarlly oily maybe a problem.I have had good luck with different finishes never heard of that before.

View Gary's profile

Gary

7126 posts in 2071 days


#11 posted 08-04-2012 06:27 PM

The lamps are beautiful, as is all of your work. I’m pretty sure I know your problem. I thinks it the place where you live. Maybe you should move back to the mainland…...??

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View cathyb's profile

cathyb

757 posts in 1882 days


#12 posted 08-04-2012 06:41 PM

Hahaha :) that’s it! I just talked to my sister on the phone. She lives near Harrisburg, PA. It’s sweltering over there. Although it is always humid here, Hawaii is rarely in the 90’s. I love the Mainland and might move back there one day. We’ll see…....

-- cathyb, Hawaii, www.cathyswoodworking.com

View vonhagen's profile

vonhagen

483 posts in 1002 days


#13 posted 08-04-2012 07:34 PM

stay where your at cathy, i would love to be living in kauai. the lamps are a work of art as all your work is. the sandpaper could be a issue looking at it in a microscopic way we dont always see whats really going on until we look at it under high magnification and in stereo and 3d. i use only klingspor paper because i have had finish problems with cheap paper both on our wide belt and dynabrade sanders.

-- no matter what size job big or small do a job right or don't do it at all.

View stefang's profile

stefang

12980 posts in 1972 days


#14 posted 08-04-2012 10:21 PM

Glad to hear you got your problem solved Cathy. I keep hearing from a lot of different sources that shellac is an ideal sanding sealer and that other finishes can easily be used on top of it. I don’t really know if this would have worked in your particular instance though. Ironically, I don’t seem able to source shellac here in Norway.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

112030 posts in 2215 days


#15 posted 08-04-2012 11:25 PM

Great looking lamps, I was wondering if your finish is old or contaminated ? You can do a test to see if it dry’s properly on something else.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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