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Finishing for CA softwoods in a small apartment

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Forum topic by siavosh posted 274 days ago 459 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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siavosh

176 posts in 371 days


274 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: finish pine softwood apartment

Hi folks,

Complete novice here. I just started making small projects out of low cost pine and redwood and am overwhelmed with the information online. I’m sure this has been asked before, but I have an additional constraint where I don’t have a dedicated workshop or garage and am concerned about fumes, toxicity, ventilation etc.

I was wondering if you all have recommendations for a simple, easy, non-toxic, apartment friendly finish for small pine/softwood projects. I’d like to preserve and enhance the look/grain of the wood so I’m guessing I prefer a clear finish.

Thanks!

-- http://woodspotting.com/ -- Discover woodworking blogs


8 replies so far

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shampeon

1069 posts in 683 days


#1 posted 274 days ago

Shellac. The solvent is alcohol, and that will cause some fumes, but shellac dries very quickly, and doesn’t out-gas. It’s non-toxic (it’s used to coat pills and apples), and it looks great on pine. You can wipe it on. Pick up some premixed Bullseye Seal Coat shellac from the hardware store and a can of denatured alcohol.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

View Manitario's profile

Manitario

2178 posts in 1383 days


#2 posted 274 days ago

some of the water based finishes have less potent odor than the typical solvent based finishes, and they clean up with soap and water. It’s hard to mess up finishing pine! Pick up a few small cans of finish and try on some scrap.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

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Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1658 days


#3 posted 274 days ago

Ditto, shellac.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

View siavosh's profile

siavosh

176 posts in 371 days


#4 posted 274 days ago

Thanks folks, shellac it is!

-- http://woodspotting.com/ -- Discover woodworking blogs

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1319 posts in 861 days


#5 posted 274 days ago

Waterborne poly: no volatiles, non-toxic, no odor, fast dry, durable, soap and water cleanup.

Shellac: alcohol based, toxic, odiferous, poor protection, messy alcohol cleanup.

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

View siavosh's profile

siavosh

176 posts in 371 days


#6 posted 273 days ago

Thanks Clint, maybe I’ll get both and experiment…

-- http://woodspotting.com/ -- Discover woodworking blogs

View shampeon's profile

shampeon

1069 posts in 683 days


#7 posted 273 days ago

Shellac is non-toxic. Citation. Denatured alcohol is, but it is the solvent and will evaporate quickly (most of it within 20 minutes).

Polyurethane is similarly non-toxic when cured. Waterborne poly has much fewer VOCs than oil-based poly, but still outgasses. E.g. see the summary here. I’ve never used a waterborne finish that didn’t have odor.

Both would work. Shellac will cure faster, which means less time with the windows open, but Clint is right that cleanup is easier with waterborne finishes.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

View crank49's profile

crank49

3244 posts in 1471 days


#8 posted 273 days ago

Minwax Polycrylic. A clear water based durable finish. Drys super fast, no smell. Not cheap, however.

Shellac is good also, but dissolves in the presence of alcohol so don’t use it on the bar. A super sealer to put under other finishes.

-- Michael :-{| Diapers and politicians both need to be changed often; and for the same reason.

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