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FL Cypress Table Top for Father....need HELP!!

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Forum topic by ThriceGreatest333 posted 03-07-2013 08:14 AM 3618 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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ThriceGreatest333

2 posts in 1373 days


03-07-2013 08:14 AM

Topic tags/keywords: finishing cypress cypress wood bentwood finishing cypress table

Looking for this effect.

My father had a beloved cypress tree on our property that he had been around his entire life and protected and cherished dearly. Anyway, while someone was staying on the property they decided to use the tree to test how sharp their chainsaws were and made some cuts that eventually caused the tree to die. My dad said that he and I would salvage some of the wood and make a table out of it. Well he has gotten very sick since and can’t help me finish it and I would love to make a beautiful table for him. I have a nice slab of cypress about 2’ across and 3” thick and I’m using some other cypress knee clusters as a base. I’m trying to figure out how to get that beautiful glassy shiny finish that most cypress artist get. The top has some cracks throughout that I would like to be filled in with the finishing liquid to create a smooth top but preserve the appearance of the cracks and crevaces of florida bald cypress trees. I want to keep the bark on the outside a little more rustic looking and less shiny? please HELP!


9 replies so far

View Roswell's profile

Roswell

71 posts in 1784 days


#1 posted 03-07-2013 07:09 PM

I hate it when careless or thoughtless people ruin something irreplaceable. Sorry for that.

I’ve made a few things out of Cypress recently, with a couple of different finishes. For the live edge bark, I would use General Finishes' Arm-R-Seal. I know that it says formulated for wipe and brush-on application, but if you read the technical data .pdf at that link, it has info about spraying it on HVLP, and I’ve had no issues applying it that way. I’ve used the semi-gloss sheen, and based on how noticeably NOT there it is, I’d bet willing to bet that the satin would virtually disappear on bark.

I’ll defer to someone with more experience on getting a glossy top, but I’d personally be very tempted to try the same product in glossy. I’ve wiped it on with an old t-shirt, and it went on thick while laying down nice and flat.

Whatever you end up going with, please post results when you’re done. I have many of the same questions.

Best of Luck,

Roswell

-- _Never argue with an idiot. They'll just drag you down to their level and beat you with experience_

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

16244 posts in 3685 days


#2 posted 03-07-2013 07:20 PM

Your photo is small, but I believe I know the look you are trying for. Down south here, we see a lot of clocks made from cypress slabs with that super-glossy finish.

Google for two-part epoxy bar finish and you’ll get a lot of information. That’s usually how it is done. The finish is actually poured over the surface. If you don’t want it on the bark, you’ll have to try to mask the edges, although I would think that is going to be difficult.

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

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Roswell

71 posts in 1784 days


#3 posted 03-07-2013 07:29 PM

Okay, so since I’m so curious I was doing some digging around. So, here’s my take on it, and it probably isn’t worth the electricity required to post it.

Just like automotive paint, you need two things for a mirror-like finish: flatness (leveling), and polish. I’ve read in about a million places that the best way to get flatness is by using a cork-faced wooden block to sand with. In this case, I would use very fine grit wet/dry sandpaper to wet sand the top flat. And believe it or not, you can use a dual-action or random orbital buffer and automotive polishing compound to bring out the shine. No really! And it works with epoxy. Just make sure it is fully cured first, or bad, bad things will happen.

-- _Never argue with an idiot. They'll just drag you down to their level and beat you with experience_

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

16244 posts in 3685 days


#4 posted 03-07-2013 08:11 PM

Roswell: Technically, you are correct. The problem, though, is that when you are working with a slab of tree trunk you have to deal with the porous nature of the wood. No matter how much you sand, the pores will still be there until you fill them with something.

Basically, you have two options: Use a grain filler, or build up enough finish on the piece for the finish itself to fill the pores. Building up the finish would take a LOT of coats with a standard finish, but a pourable epoxy finish is thick enough to do it in one application.

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

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ThriceGreatest333

2 posts in 1373 days


#5 posted 03-07-2013 09:33 PM

CHARLIE: I believe you are right. I saw another picture online that had just the finish I was looking for but the edges of the bottom side of the table had dried drip marks. Almost like small icicles of finish not properly wiped before product set. How can I avoid this affect as it sounds as if you just pour a bunch on top and let it self-level and drip off edges onto a tarp or something. I will defintely research that option but would still appreciate some different perspectives. Thanks guys

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Roswell

71 posts in 1784 days


#6 posted 03-07-2013 11:11 PM

Oh no! What I meant was to wet sand the finish, not the wood. Good catch Charlie!

-- _Never argue with an idiot. They'll just drag you down to their level and beat you with experience_

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

16244 posts in 3685 days


#7 posted 03-08-2013 02:24 AM

Thrice: I’ve never worked with the epoxy, so I can’t really give any specific tips.

Roswell: My bad as well. After I reread your post, I had a better understanding of what you were saying.

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

View Randy_ATX's profile

Randy_ATX

835 posts in 1908 days


#8 posted 03-08-2013 02:42 AM

Charlie is correct, use something like this. http://www.rustoleum.com/CBGProduct.asp?pid=448
Get familar with how it works and dries and what causes bubbles on a scrap piece first.

-- Randy -- Austin, TX by way of Northwest (Woodville), OH

View stan3443's profile

stan3443

283 posts in 1742 days


#9 posted 03-08-2013 03:04 AM

two part epoxy you can get it at big box store. make shure top is dead leval,as for drips after it cures for 48 hours belt sand them off and finish the bottom with some poly to seal it

-- If your not supposed to have hair on your face......why does it grow their

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