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Finishing Santos Mahogany

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Forum topic by Jofa posted 08-02-2013 12:59 AM 1585 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Jofa

272 posts in 1298 days


08-02-2013 12:59 AM

I have a project I’m working on and need some advice.

The wood is Santos Mahogany and it’s been a pleasure to work with. Routed and sanded beautifully. I actually like the way it looks unfinished but I think some kind of clear will really add some depth to the grain. Plus, I did some very thin clear pine inlays so the clear will protect the softer wood.

My question is whether I should apply a sealer coat prior to shooting it with clear. The grain on this wood is pretty tight but I’m not sure if some of it will swell with just the clear.

So I guess I’m asking if a sealer coat is always required. Thanks.

-- Thank you Lord for the passion and ability to make things from your creation.


15 replies so far

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TCCcabinetmaker

930 posts in 1815 days


#1 posted 08-02-2013 01:59 PM

typically yes you do want to put two coats on wood work, there are pores in the wood even if they are tight, but the layering of the finish should help build the definition you want anyways.

-- The mark of a good carpenter is not how few mistakes he makes, but rather how well he fixes them.

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Jofa

272 posts in 1298 days


#2 posted 08-02-2013 02:01 PM

Thanks TCC. So two coats of the sealer, correct?

-- Thank you Lord for the passion and ability to make things from your creation.

View Bogeyguy's profile

Bogeyguy

548 posts in 1528 days


#3 posted 08-02-2013 02:26 PM

Test on a sample piece??

-- Art, Pittsburgh.

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Finisherman

227 posts in 1309 days


#4 posted 08-02-2013 04:45 PM

Strictly speaking, you can use your finish as your sealer coat. Any film finish will serve to seal the wood. There are sanding sealers on the market and these can serve a useful function. Specifically, they contain a soap-like substance called stearates which make them softer and easier to sand. Unfortunately, the stearates also make the finish somewhat less durable, If I were you, I’d just substitute an extra coat of your finish, perhaps somewhat thinned, for the sealer. You’ll simplify the process this way. Shellac and vinyl sealers can be used to perform specific functions, but that’s another discussion.

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Jofa

272 posts in 1298 days


#5 posted 08-02-2013 11:37 PM

Thanks very much everyone. Finisherman, I think I will go that route.

-- Thank you Lord for the passion and ability to make things from your creation.

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Clint Searl

1533 posts in 1821 days


#6 posted 08-03-2013 01:18 AM

Follow Finisherman’s advice; he’s got it nailed. I use waterborne poly floor finish in your kind of situation: either Varathane or Bona Mega. After a light first coat, smoothed back with 220 drywall sanding screen, follow-up with a couple full wet coats. Do a final rubout with 0000 steel wool lubed with paste wax, and buffed with a tee shirt.

-- 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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Jofa

272 posts in 1298 days


#7 posted 08-11-2013 06:37 PM

Hey guys, I wanted to give you an update. I followed Finisherman’s and Clint’s advice and just went with the poly right on the wood without a sealer coat.

Did a couple of coats with a brush, let it really cure and sanded it back with 150 (didn’t have any screen Clint and I can definitely understand why you use that. Had to keep blowing out the sandpaper to avoid buildup). Gave it another couple of coats and hit it with 220. At that point, it was really starting to flatten very well. I actually used my palm sander but went by hand on the corners and round overs.

Then I started with the spray coats. I tend to like how the spray poly sits rather than brushing it. Even now it’s looking super. Grabbed some 0000 steel wool so that’s the next step. I’ll post the project once it’s done. Really happy with how this is coming out.

Just one other question. I want to use paste wax with the steel wool and not rubbing compound, correct? I’ve tried the latter on a couple of projects a while back and all I got was haze.

Thanks again guys. Awesome advice.

-- Thank you Lord for the passion and ability to make things from your creation.

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Finisherman

227 posts in 1309 days


#8 posted 08-11-2013 10:50 PM

If you’re using a waterborne poly, I’d stay away from steel wool. If you leave any shards of steel on the surface, and then you need to recoat, as you might if you sand through the finish (it happens), you’ll get rust spots which are impossible to remove short of stripping, bleaching with oxalic acid and refinishing. If I were you, I’d stick with either micro-fine wet-dry sandpaper, or a synthetic abrasive pad, in combination with soapy water, mineral oil or thinned paste wax.

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Jofa

272 posts in 1298 days


#9 posted 08-12-2013 01:28 AM

^ very good advice. Makes sense that water based poly would do this. You saved me from a potential disaster.

You’re referring to those scotch brite pads?

-- Thank you Lord for the passion and ability to make things from your creation.

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Finisherman

227 posts in 1309 days


#10 posted 08-12-2013 02:53 AM

Yes. Use the finer grades for rubbing out.

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Jofa

272 posts in 1298 days


#11 posted 08-19-2013 07:13 PM

@ Finisherman

This is the type of poly I’m using:

I don’t believe this is water based. Do you think the steel wool will be ok? (I ended up buying 0000 last week before I saw your post)

Thanks,
Joe

-- Thank you Lord for the passion and ability to make things from your creation.

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8523 posts in 3108 days


#12 posted 08-19-2013 07:20 PM

wax is good for a final coat to give it a nice shine…

steel wool is good to buff out – and should be used with a rubbing compound as the mix of these too will rub and very lightly buff the poly coating to give it a shine.

when you mix steel wool and wax – all you are doing is smear the wax all over without really buffing the poly, and without really laying the wax in an even coat – so no real benefit to either of those.

use steel wool with rubbing compound (or dry) if you want, apply wax on top of that with a rag, then buff with a clean rag once dry

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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Clint Searl

1533 posts in 1821 days


#13 posted 08-19-2013 10:37 PM

Joe, if your base coats are waterborne poly there may be an adhesion issue with the oil poly spray on top. I hope not.

-- 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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Jofa

272 posts in 1298 days


#14 posted 08-19-2013 11:00 PM

Hey Clint.

Nope, I used the Minwax poly (above) as the sealer coat and the finish coats. I have probably seven coats so far and will likely do a few more.

Today I knocked it back with 600 grit and I’m amazed at how flat the finish is getting. Shot another couple of coats and the depth of the reflection is awesome.

Thanks man.

-- Thank you Lord for the passion and ability to make things from your creation.

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Finisherman

227 posts in 1309 days


#15 posted 08-20-2013 12:20 AM

That’s a solvent based polyurethane. You shouldn’t have any trouble with the steel wool. It sounds as though your project is going well. I’m glad.

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