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Forum topic by RussellAP posted 12-11-2012 10:48 PM 1005 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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RussellAP

2950 posts in 942 days


12-11-2012 10:48 PM

Lately I’ve had to ask myself why would I use an oil, then a sealer when I can go straight to sealer and it looks fantastic?
I’ve been sanding my walnut and cherry progressively from 40G to 600G then just sealing it like it is. It comes out better looking than oiling and there is certainly less fuss.

So why bother? If the wood is great looking, do you need oil or can you just go to sealer?

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.


16 replies so far

View CessnaPilotBarry's profile

CessnaPilotBarry

890 posts in 766 days


#1 posted 12-11-2012 10:50 PM

It’s all about the look…

-- It's all good, if it's wood...

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

3455 posts in 2616 days


#2 posted 12-11-2012 11:07 PM

Russ, if you’ve seen my posts, I use a shellac a bunch. I’m of the opinion that what you like is what you do.
That being said, the specific application might have some defined requirements.
Occam was right. When in doubt, look for the obvious.
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15698 posts in 2874 days


#3 posted 12-12-2012 12:15 AM

Russell, a lot of the finishing techniques we kick around in here yield very similar results. Often, there is only a very subtle difference.

Personally, I think using oil first accentuates the grain a bit more than going straight to the top coat. But the difference is not that great, and it’s more noticeable on some woods than on others. The bottom line is getting a look that YOU are happy with.

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

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RussellAP

2950 posts in 942 days


#4 posted 12-12-2012 12:23 AM

CharlieM1958, On some woods I agree that oil can bring out the grain, but if you look at Arm-R-Seal in a bowl next to any oil, you’ll see it’s much clearer. So in a purest way, it is the truest to the natural wood without color. I spend a lot of time picking woods out for this reason, and it really kills me to have to color the wood. I wish they had clear coat like they have on cars for wood.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View Dave Haynes's profile

Dave Haynes

200 posts in 2009 days


#5 posted 12-12-2012 12:43 AM

I agree with RussellAP in that I wish there was something out there that would give you a finish like the automotive clear coat finishes. I have come to really like what I have done on most of my jewelry and keepsake boxes for the last couple of years. And that is….....applying two coats of Danish oil and then after 72 hours or so, applying 3 or 4 coats of Minwax hand rubbed poly. This finish looks great but I wouldn’t recommend this for anything that would be used outside. And too, it doesn’t compare to an automotive type appearrance.

As you can see from the attached image of one of my boxes, the finish looks decent (although the photo doesn’t especially do it justice), its certainly not a glass like finish….more like a smooth satin.

-- Dave Haynes, Indiana, http://www.oldaveswoodshop.com

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RussellAP

2950 posts in 942 days


#6 posted 12-12-2012 02:08 AM

Dave, I like the look of that. I like the combo of danish oil and minwax wipe on poly in satin. I have some in clear gloss but I like Arm R Seal for that look better.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1455 posts in 1017 days


#7 posted 12-12-2012 03:59 AM

For the look of auto clear coat, use auto clear coat. I’ve used it on several projects, and the results are great. The same “no added color” effect can be duplicated using CAB acrylic solvent lacquer. No “sealer;” no “conditioner;” go straight to the clear coat/lacquer. Any decent compressor and conventional gun are all that’s needed. Well worth the modest investment.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View lumberjoe's profile

lumberjoe

2833 posts in 904 days


#8 posted 12-12-2012 02:52 PM

Practice/experiment with scraps. I go directly to finish many times. On figured wood, I find oil really brings out the figure. I will put down 2 coats of natural danish oil before finishing when using figured pieces. When you experiment on scraps, don’t just slap some crap on. Finish it as if you were actually finishing the piece.

Also, I think you sand too much :) There has never been a time I needed to reach for anything less than 80 grit, and I will stop at 180 if the piece gets oil, and 220 if I am applying finish. I would think going all the way to 600 would close off the grain too much. Even finish needs to absorb a bit and doesn’t have much to “bite” at 600 grit. The purpose of sanding through grits is just to remove scratch marks from previous grits or other tools. Once you wet the piece down and can’t see any scratch marks, you are done. If you get into hand tools you don’t even need to sand.

A lot of your questions can be answered in Bob Flexner’s book. I would highly suggest reading it. He covers every aspect of the finishing process including sanding/smoothing.

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

View RussellAP's profile

RussellAP

2950 posts in 942 days


#9 posted 12-12-2012 02:57 PM

Lumberjoe, Some observations I’ve had. To get to a shiny finish you can go two roads, one is the chemical way and the other is to sand it to a shine and seal it. I’ve never had a problem with sealer holding on indoor furniture and the touch of a piece sanded out to 600 or even 1200 wet sanded is something I’ve grown accustomed to. It’s the feel of a perfect surface.
Like this one sanded to 600g and one (still wet) coat of Arm R Seal.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View lumberjoe's profile

lumberjoe

2833 posts in 904 days


#10 posted 12-12-2012 03:03 PM

When you piece is done, you are touching finish, not wood (if you are using a film building finish which Arm-R-Seal is). You will probably find the finishing process goes a little smoother and quicker if you don’t sand so much. In addition if you are using open pored woods like oak and walnut, pore filling will give you a much smoother finish than sanding more.

Seriously, read Flexner’s book. It was by far the best piece of woodworking literature I have ever read.

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

View RussellAP's profile

RussellAP

2950 posts in 942 days


#11 posted 12-12-2012 03:23 PM

Lumberjoe. I don’t doubt it. These walnut slabs I have are from a complex crotch piece. The first finish I put on it was danish oil natural, I use my oils different than most people. I don’t glob it on and let it set, I wipe it on and wipe it off, and repeat in a couple hours. That’s really all you need. I had sanded to 220 previously and only wiped with 320g between applications to remove lifted fibers. I let it set for a week before sealing. The oil brought out the burl just above the crotch a little too well and it appeared blotched. However sanding the same piece to 600g produced a shine and presented the burl much more organized. Of course walnut burl and cherry wood are very different pieces and I’d likely treat them that way. I have a load of cherry now which I’m making a chest for my newly married son, and knowing how cherry blotches, I’ll have the pieces soaking in Charles Neil before I even assemble them, lol. Some woods I wouldn’t sand out that far, but walnut has a natural beauty that I think comes out best with polish.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View Cosmicsniper's profile

Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1814 days


#12 posted 12-12-2012 03:39 PM

@Russell – What Lumberjoe is saying, and I agree with him, is that it’s pointless prepping the wood to high smoothness when the actual smoothness of a piece comes AFTER the first seal coat. All you do by sanding smooth beforehand is to prevent penetration of your oil/stain. In some cases, like on end grain, that might be desirable, but typically, it’s just wasted time.

Wood prep should be done to remove tool marks. For me, that’s mostly with planes and scrapers, but if I use sandpaper it will rarely be with more than 120 grit (180 on end grain). If I want glass smooth, I will save the fine sandpaper for sanding the film coats.

For this same reason, this is why I think knocking down the “raised grain” or “pre-raising grain” when using water-based stuff is just wasted time. You’ll smooth it after its sealed anyway.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

View vipond33's profile

vipond33

1405 posts in 1153 days


#13 posted 12-12-2012 03:56 PM

If you want no colour shift at all (an automotive clear coat if you will) you could use what we apply on maple at work when we don’t want it to go the slightest bit orange or yellow. Water white lacquer.
gene

-- gene@toronto.ontario.canada : dovetail free since '53, critiques always welcome.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

14204 posts in 994 days


#14 posted 12-12-2012 04:19 PM

I generally use Danish oil on everything. Now it could be psychological, but I do think it helps the grain stand out. There has only been a couple times I questioned that.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1455 posts in 1017 days


#15 posted 12-13-2012 03:01 AM

The finish on this cocobolo table is automotive clearcoat, nothing else.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

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