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Mineral Oil or Poly finish for this nursery light box

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Forum topic by Eddie posted 03-05-2013 05:23 PM 796 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Eddie

212 posts in 671 days


03-05-2013 05:23 PM

Hi guys.
I am pretty new to this whole thing and this is one of my first projects that has used nearly all my tools and woodworking knowledge. (dados, box joints, fillets, etc.)

I am attempting a light box/night light as a gift for a good friend to put in their new baby’s nursery.
It is still very much a work-in-progress (scroll-sawing is only 50% done, wiring needs to be added) but Im getting closer to beginning to finish the wood.

I have both mineral oil and a polyurethane finish already on-hand and need some help deciding which to go with.
This will be in a childs nursery and eventually could be played with/chewed on by him so I want something safe.

The wood is your average common board from good ‘ol HD. I believe it is pine? It seems fairly soft.

Take a look at the pics (and a few progress pics for fun) and let me know what you think.

Thanks in advance!




12 replies so far

View Cosmicsniper's profile

Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1878 days


#1 posted 03-05-2013 05:27 PM

Save the mineral oil for cutting boards.

Use shellac and be done with it. It’s the most natural and safest finishing product we use. Works great with soft woods like pine. No need for anything else.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

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Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1878 days


#2 posted 03-05-2013 05:28 PM

BTW, really cool project…well done!

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

View Don W's profile

Don W

15404 posts in 1287 days


#3 posted 03-05-2013 05:43 PM

Nice project. I’d go with poly or shellac. Either should be fine.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View Eddie's profile

Eddie

212 posts in 671 days


#4 posted 03-05-2013 05:47 PM

I should note…besides wood stain. This will be my first attempt at finishing wood…
Poly and Shellac seem like they would be easy to mess up but I could be wrong.
Mineral oil sounds like it is pretty simple.

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Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1878 days


#5 posted 03-05-2013 06:04 PM

Eddie…mineral oil doesn’t dry and must be replenished on occasion. It’s “oily.” It provides no real protection.

Any finish is safe once fully cured. Poly will be fine…I’d recommend a wipe-on version …which is the same as thinning the regular stuff.

Shellac is about the easiest finish to apply. I’d recommend the dewaxed Zinsser Sealcoat shellac at the big box store. You can even tint it with dyes.

Be careful with stain on pine. It will blotch. I’d consider keeping it natural…film finish only. Oil will even blotch pine. In fact, I think pine with blotch if you look at it funny.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

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Eddie

212 posts in 671 days


#6 posted 03-05-2013 06:30 PM

Thanks for the responses,
I was not planning on staining it at all, just a clear finish.

I assumed because it likely will not be moved/handled much that the mineral oil would not need to be replenished and the box would not need any real protection from the finish.

I will have to check into what type of Poly it is that I have at home already (it is in a can and seems really thin, i think it mentioned using a foam brush to apply) I am trying to keep this project as cheap as possible.

So far I have sanded it down using 150grit and plan to use at least 220grit before I finish…is that enough?

View Earlextech's profile

Earlextech

1010 posts in 1410 days


#7 posted 03-05-2013 06:40 PM

Zinsser Sealcoat shellac – brush, spray or wipe. It’s the easiest finish going.

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "finished"!

View Don W's profile

Don W

15404 posts in 1287 days


#8 posted 03-05-2013 07:19 PM

use the poly you have. If the instruction recommend a foam brush its probably a brush on poly. You can use it as is, or thin it. Thinning it reduces the probability of runs but you’ll need added coats to get to a desired finish. Its all good. :-)

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

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Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1878 days


#9 posted 03-05-2013 07:53 PM

As Don said, the poly you have will work. People prefer the “wipe-on” poly because brushes cause runs and thicker viscosities tend not to level as much (leaving visible brush strokes). Wiping on is easy…it just goes on in very thin coats. Diluting your existing poly with perhaps 50% mineral spirits will give you “wipe-on” poly.

Still, I prefer the shellac, especially if the piece will just sit on a shelf. Shellac dries very fast so that you can add multiple coats at a very quick rate.

As for sanding the wood, anything in the 120 to 220 range is fine. Once the first coat of finish is on, lightly scuff sand with a fine grit if using poly in order to provide a mechanical bond for subsequent coats. With shellac, I use only 3M abrasive pads or 0000 steel wood to catch any dust nits, which don’t happen all that often because the shellac dries so fast. Either way, sanding between coats at progressively finer grits can give you the smoothness or sheen that you might want.

As always, experiment on scrap wood first.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

View BigRedKnothead's profile

BigRedKnothead

5554 posts in 702 days


#10 posted 03-06-2013 12:31 AM

Box joints. Atta boy!

-- Red-- "I hope my furniture has a soul to it.”" -Sam Maloof

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

11352 posts in 1410 days


#11 posted 03-06-2013 02:21 AM

Cool project. Nice box joints. Shellac has become my favorite finish as it is too easy. If you’ve never brushed it just be sure not to overbrush and sand lightly between coats. 3 coats should be enough and can be done in one day. Personally, I can’t see any difference in appearance between Seal Coat and Regular Zinsser shellac. Oh yeah, regardless of how you apply it, I would thin it with denatured alcohol.

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

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1479 posts in 1081 days


#12 posted 03-06-2013 02:22 AM

It’s a nice box, so don’t screw it up with goofy combinations of different stuff. All it needs is a couple coats of waterborne poly to let your workmanship shine.

-- 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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