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Forum topic by poospleasures posted 07-15-2013 05:33 PM 1141 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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740 posts in 2506 days

07-15-2013 05:33 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question canes finish

Made a couple canes for a veteran friend. Have a problem with the finish. It is a little hard to explain because when he picks them up they seem to be completely dry. In just a few days time they feel a bit sticky and sometimes the finish seems to gum up a bit and collect moisture like from users hands and finish seems to be dirty. A little history. One made from red cedar, the other nice dark walnut. These canes use a copy of a hand saw handle as the handhold. First both were coated with three sanded between layers of dewaxed sealcoat shellac with several hours drying time between. Then two coats of Krylon Spray Enamel with a full 24 hours between sanded coats. After about a week of using the above problem happened. Got them back and they cleaned up nicely with mineral sprits. As I did not want this to happen again cleaned them back to no finish with acetone then lacquer thinner then light sanding.
Next applied a coat of Min-wax spray poly, allowed to dry 72 hours as per instructions then light sanding followed by a final coat of the spray poly. After a couple days they seemed dry and were very shiny as was the desire. Darned if after about a week the above problem is happening again. I have been using these products for many years and have never had a problem like this. Thanks in advance for your help and suggestions.

-- I,ve had amnesia for as long as I can remember. Vernon

9 replies so far

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

20587 posts in 3127 days

#1 posted 07-15-2013 06:16 PM

Vernon, it sounds like something in the wood is not compatible with the finish and softens it. The walnut should be okay with finish, but cedar does not like top coating- just stain with stain made for cedar. But if they both are doing it, I think it is a combination of the finishes that is causing the problem.
Look on the can of spray poly. See if says to wait 5 days before recoating??

I did a bar top and used 8 coats of brush on poly and then wanted that last 4 coats to be super smooth and free of brush marks and dust so I sprayed them with polyurethane. I waited over night for the first coat to dry, 400 wet sanded and then sprayed on the second coat. Within 10 minutes, that top was wrinkled everywhere!! It said to wait 5 days before recoating, but guys don’t read instructions!!

72 hrs might not be long enough!

Cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Makarov's profile


102 posts in 1828 days

#2 posted 07-15-2013 06:16 PM

He might be using a hand product thats chemical base is dissolving the finish. I would try cleaning the handle and leaving it natural or use some BLO well rubbed in

-- "Complexity is easy; Simplicity is difficult." Georgy Shragin Designer of ppsh41 sub machine gun

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2383 days

#3 posted 07-15-2013 11:15 PM

You’re using too many gunk finishes. Strip with a MEC stripper, alcohol, and acetone. Finish with either raw tung oil (it’ll take a while to cure), or waterborne poly.

-- 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 Roger's profile


20928 posts in 2826 days

#4 posted 07-16-2013 12:07 AM

Sounds like a compatibility issue. Stripping it sounds like the way to go, and start over

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View EPJartisan's profile


1118 posts in 3147 days

#5 posted 07-16-2013 12:46 AM

You might want to try a 2 part clear epoxy. I only mix up a small amount and wipe it on like a wipe on varnish, cure 48 hours and sand in between coats. 4 thin coats make a great UV finish on Ipe and other oily woods, but I have never bothered on walnut before. I use West System epoxy.

I can’t really comment why your finishes are going gummy, I am not a fan of using shellac as an undercoat and spray finishes IMO need many many coats to be successful, but maybe your friend uses harsh hand products or has acidy palm sweat?? I have no idea. :)

-- " 'Truth' is like a beautiful flower, unique to each plant and to the season it blossoms ... 'Fact' is the root and leaf, allowing the plant grow and bloom again."

View poospleasures's profile


740 posts in 2506 days

#6 posted 07-19-2013 12:22 AM

Thanks to everyone for your ideas and advice. I am waiting to hear back as to the last try with poly. I will be giving your ideas a try on some more canes for friends.

-- I,ve had amnesia for as long as I can remember. Vernon

View Dark_Lightning's profile


3163 posts in 3131 days

#7 posted 07-19-2013 03:17 AM

Old shellac can get gummy like that from sweat. Also, I have a friend whose sweat will dissolve nitrile gloves (the green ones). We sometimes work on contamination sensitive hardware, and have to wear those when we do. I’ve also seen this with people using lots of hand lotion (i.e., my wife). Maybe the best bet is to leave it natural and clean any soil with mineral spirits and/or wax periodically.

-- Random Orbital Nailer

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2383 days

#8 posted 07-20-2013 01:35 AM

Strip and refinish with waterborne poly.

-- 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 jte9999's profile


25 posts in 2124 days

#9 posted 07-20-2013 02:13 AM

Perhaps thin CA glue could be one solution for just the handle portion. It would most likely require a considerable amount to get several coats. I’ve not heard of the problem you describe occurring with pens. Just a thought, HTH.

—jay KCMO

-- --half full, half empty? How about twice as big as it needs to be?

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