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Forum topic by Dan posted 556 days ago 789 views 1 time favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Dan

150 posts in 557 days


556 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: finish finishing oil blo poly

The majority of my woodworking is left nude. The few things I have finished I simply stained and used poly. I would like to learn to better finish my projects. I have read through other posts here, as well as some other websites, but am pretty much confused.

I hear a lot about BLO, but have never worked with it. My curiousity and actual question for this post is whats the best way to finish a project to have a nice shine to it? I want my projects to look great as well as be protected, whether they are stained or not.

Another question would be that I’ve heard of people giving their projects “an oil bath”. What would this mean, and what would it do for the project?

-- Dan - Wooden Treasures CT - http://woodentreasuresct.etsy.com http://www.youtube.com/woodentreasuresct


23 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

111999 posts in 2175 days


#1 posted 556 days ago

There are going to be folks who love blo and those who can’t stand it. I don’t care for it because it takes a long long time to dry and there are more modern finishes that look better and offer much more protection.I would suggest getting some of Charles Neil’s Videos on finishing or a brand new book he’s coming out with about finishing ,in my opinion he is the best and most up to date expert on finishing .
http://www.cn-woodworking.com/

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View Purrmaster's profile

Purrmaster

774 posts in 690 days


#2 posted 556 days ago

The best reference I’ve found is Bob Flexner’s “Understanding Wood Finishing.” It’s an extraordinary book.

If you want a glossy finish that is not poly, shellac and lacquer come immediately to mind. The downside of shellac is that it’s not very protective. The downside of lacquer is that is uses nasty, smelly solvents.

For something that’s largely decorative I think shellac is the way to go. It’s pretty easy to put on and you can fix mistakes with ease. If you use 190 proof Everclear for the solvent you have a 100% non-toxic mixture. You can also use the much cheaper denatured alcohol.

An oil bath as I understand it is simply soaking the wood in the oil for a time. The idea being to get the oil to penetrate everywhere.

The pure oil finishes like pure tung oil and boiled linseed oil aren’t terribly protective. Pure tung oil takes quite some time to cure. BLO takes a bit less time. Both should leave a matte finish.

Polyurethane is a good protector. I don’t like the look of gloss poly myself, but that’s just me and I may not be using it quite right either.

If you want a sort of oil finish that has some more protection you could try Danish Oil (usually made by Watco). It’s a combination of oil and varnish. It’s not as protective as poly but it’s more so than pure oil finishes. It’s also incredibly easy to put on. Wipe on, wait a half hour or so, wipe off.

This is a good place to ask questions. I’ve gotten a ton of good information from the fine folks here.

View Dan's profile

Dan

150 posts in 557 days


#3 posted 556 days ago

a1Jim – I will take a look at that later (just got home from Lowes with a poplar and a red oak turning block, heading downstairs lol)

Purrmaster – Thank you for the in depth answer, I actually grabbed a can of tung oil whilst at Lowes. Was thinking about trying it out. I think before opening it (and therefore making it unreturnable) I will do some more research.

-- Dan - Wooden Treasures CT - http://woodentreasuresct.etsy.com http://www.youtube.com/woodentreasuresct

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Purrmaster

774 posts in 690 days


#4 posted 556 days ago

If you got a can of it at Lowe’s it is almost certainly not pure tung oil. Unless something says “100% pure tung oil” it’s going to be a mixture of oil and varnish. Sometimes with no tung oil in at all. That’s why you see them labeled “tung oil finish.”

That being said, it doesn’t mean it won’t make a good finish. You may want to pop the can and try it on some scrap. If you like the look, use it.

Before reading Flexner’s book I bought a bottle of pure tung oil from Woodcraft. I’ve used it. I’m not impressed. After I used it I read Flexner’s book and he was spot on about linseed and tung oil. They aren’t very protective, they take quite some time to cure, and you usually need multiple coats. There’s no real advantage to pure tung oil that I have found either in my own experience or research.

For ease of use, start with one of the wipe on finishes. You can’t screw them up as long as you remember to wipe off the excess. This is coming from someone who routinely screws things up.

Most people put on lacquer with an air compressor and a spray gun. You don’t have to though. You can get lacquer in spray cans and there is a brushable variety. If you get some lacquer I strongly suggest getting some lacquer thinner as well for clean up.

Mr. Neil definitely knows his stuff. I intend to purchase his book.

View whitebeast88's profile

whitebeast88

3401 posts in 788 days


#5 posted 556 days ago

great thread i’m always looking to learn about finishing more.my last 3-4 projects i’ve used danish oil and have really been impressed,i like it more than stain’s.

i’m gonna keep an eye on this thread so i can learn from some great woodworkers!!!

-- Marty.Athens,AL

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1385 posts in 959 days


#6 posted 556 days ago

Check out my blog on the subject.

-- Clint Searl.............We deserve what we tolerate

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

10551 posts in 1288 days


#7 posted 555 days ago

If you are wanting to finish those cool scrollsaw projects, I would stay away from the Tung Oil Finish! Read the instructions where it says to apply and then wipe off the excess? Easier said than done! Especially on a scrollwork. What doesn’t get wiped off tends to stay sticky forever! I’d look at shellac or lacquer for intricate patterns like yours. Tung Oil Finish works fine on flat surfaces.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Dan's profile

Dan

150 posts in 557 days


#8 posted 555 days ago

purrmaster, here is what I got:

-- Dan - Wooden Treasures CT - http://woodentreasuresct.etsy.com http://www.youtube.com/woodentreasuresct

View thedude50's profile

thedude50

3503 posts in 1075 days


#9 posted 555 days ago

Finish depends a great deal on what the project is . A workbench should not have the same finish as a piece of fine furniture and a tool may have yet something else. there are hundreds of finishes out today some you can get for home use and some you cant. I would ask you what your going to finish before I gave you advise on what finish to use. On furniture I am very pro Lacquer and Shellac then a nice french polish but those are my choices the thing is a good finish can make or break a good piece but a bad finish and the piece is shot unless you fix it. Also it is good for a new guy to start out with finishes that are easy. Shellac is a easy to do finish and you will always be happy with the look. Polys are difficult as they don’t spray well oh and yes I spray 99 out of 100 finishes. A good high quality HVLP sprayer is worth its weight in gold. When you have the project ready for finish I would be glad to help you out just send me a PM.

-- when I am not on Lumberjocks I am on @ http://thisoldworkshop.com where we allow free speech

View Dan's profile

Dan

150 posts in 557 days


#10 posted 555 days ago

good point thedude50, my fretwork I’ll probably stick to 3-5 thin coats of spray poly, because of the small holes.

This finishing question would be more for general solid things: boxes, turned items, etc – no fretwork

-- Dan - Wooden Treasures CT - http://woodentreasuresct.etsy.com http://www.youtube.com/woodentreasuresct

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thedude50

3503 posts in 1075 days


#11 posted 555 days ago

I would go to a shellac it just looks warmer and cry’s touch me

-- when I am not on Lumberjocks I am on @ http://thisoldworkshop.com where we allow free speech

View jumbojack's profile

jumbojack

1149 posts in 1222 days


#12 posted 555 days ago

Dude I was just in your neck of the woods. Chowchilla to be exact.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View thedude50's profile

thedude50

3503 posts in 1075 days


#13 posted 555 days ago

cool what were you doing there I built some slot car tracks in Chowchilla a few years ago. Nice little shit hole town

-- when I am not on Lumberjocks I am on @ http://thisoldworkshop.com where we allow free speech

View Purrmaster's profile

Purrmaster

774 posts in 690 days


#14 posted 555 days ago

WTCTDF:

Yup, that’s an oil/varnish blend. It may or may not contain tung oil. It probably works just fine. Try it and see if you like it. It should be a wipe on/wipe off finish. Very easy to use.

The most protective finishes are those that build up a film like lacquer and poly. But that doesn’t mean you have to use those finishes if you don’t want to. You’ll probably want to use poly on something like a dining table that’s going to see heavy use. It’s good against things like water, abrasion, solvents, etc.

If you want to try shellac you’ve got a couple of options. You can get the premade Zinsser Bullseye shellac in a can. There’s two kinds: The “regular” Bullseye shellac which has wax in it. This comes in orange (amber) or clear. They also have one called Seal Coat which has no wax in it and is clear only.

You can also mix your own. You can get shellac flakes (I tend to recommend dewaxed flakes) and mix them with alcohol. You can use denatured alcohol from the hardware store or you can use high proof liquor, like 190 proof Everclear. Denatured alcohol is simply very high proof booze with poisons added into it to avoid liquor taxes.

View Purrmaster's profile

Purrmaster

774 posts in 690 days


#15 posted 555 days ago

I think you might find this article useful:http://www.popularwoodworking.com/techniques/finishing/thebasicsofwipingvarnish2

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