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Would this work for finishing a soft Maple Stepstool ?

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Forum topic by BigMig posted 08-18-2013 01:38 AM 989 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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BigMig

385 posts in 2077 days


08-18-2013 01:38 AM

I made Tommy Mac’s Shaker Stepstool in soft maple. Hand – cut dovetails in a 2 step shaker-style stepstool. Even though it’s common maple, it has some cool little birdseyes and other nice figure. I sanded it to 320 grit.

I’m considering finishing it this way: by first applying Tung oil. Following that with Shellac and lastly, a polyurethane for durability. Does this sound right?

I think I’ll try water based poly because I would like to preserve as much of the whiteness of the wood as I can.

Any thoughts or reactions would be greatly appreciated.

Mike

-- Mike from Lansdowne, PA


9 replies so far

View TCCcabinetmaker's profile

TCCcabinetmaker

930 posts in 1819 days


#1 posted 08-18-2013 02:28 AM

I’d just skip the tounge oil and shellac myself, unless you are doing this for color, in which case a stain should work for that purpose. You see the more finishing products you put in, the more likely something is not going to work with the other, such as oil then alcohol then oil. It’s much simpler to just use less steps, and more time efficient.

And honestly poly is not a first choice of finishes for me in the first place.

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

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BigMig

385 posts in 2077 days


#2 posted 08-18-2013 02:42 AM

I was thinking about the Tung and Shellac steps to get a bit of “depth” before I use the protective polyurethane.

Thanks for your thoughts, TC. What WOULD you suggest for a piece that will get stepped on, if not polyurethane?

-- Mike from Lansdowne, PA

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TCCcabinetmaker

930 posts in 1819 days


#3 posted 08-18-2013 03:13 AM

well Bigmig,

probably a uerathane or something along that lines, Poly just tends to have a lot of issues when being used in the heat and humidity in the area I live in, especially the fast drying types.

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

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NiteWalker

2735 posts in 2041 days


#4 posted 08-18-2013 05:53 AM

If it’s an oil based poly, the tung oil and shellac won’t do anything for it.
Arm R Seal is an amazing wipe on poly.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

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Tkf

38 posts in 1391 days


#5 posted 08-18-2013 12:51 PM

Skip the oil and the shellac if you want to keep the white wood look.

Also from my understanding that you wanted to use these to products to have a thick finish? A thicker finish does not necessary mean a protective finish. It’s a common misconception.

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BigMig

385 posts in 2077 days


#6 posted 08-18-2013 04:51 PM

Hi Tkf,
No, I’m not aiming for a thick finish – for thick finish’s sake. Siince the stool will get stepped on, I figured I wanted protection agains the abrasion of shoe soles – and that poly would provide that.

And I was thinking about the oil and shellac to show off the birdseyes and other cool grain inherent in the wood.

-- Mike from Lansdowne, PA

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NiteWalker

2735 posts in 2041 days


#7 posted 08-18-2013 07:44 PM

Like I said, if you’re using an oil based poly, it will do the exact same thing as the shellac or tung oil, so there’s no need for those.
For a step stool I’d not use gloss.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

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kdc68

2526 posts in 1741 days


#8 posted 08-18-2013 10:19 PM

BigMig...I agree with the above….But if you chose to do the tung oil, shellac, and poly…I’d recommend using dewaxed shellac so you have no adhesion issues with the poly….

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

View Finisherman's profile

Finisherman

227 posts in 1313 days


#9 posted 08-19-2013 05:06 AM

It seems to me that you’d probably want to use just the waterborne poly to preserve the natural lightness of the maple. On the other hand, tung oil or shellac will impart an amber hue to the wood while popping the grain. Here’s a suggestion that might offer a compromise. Apply a weak solution of water-based dye to the wood and then sand off most of the dye so that only the figured part of the wood retains the colour. Next, spray on a few coats of your waterborne finish. In this way, you should be able to highlight the birds-eyes while largely being able to retain the natural colour of the wood. .

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