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The Kiss Rule

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Forum topic by TCCcabinetmaker posted 245 days ago 1483 views 0 times favorited 36 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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TCCcabinetmaker

896 posts in 857 days


245 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: finishing humor resource tip

Ok, I see a lot of this, so I have to comment. In the woodworking business world we have a general rule of thumb. The K.I.S.S. rule.

Keep
It
Simple
Stupid.

A lot of you hobbyists are mixing multiple finishes, and doing a lot of unneccessary things to obtain finishes that are much easier with conventional products readily available just about anywhere, including Wal-Mart.

I understand you want to do something special, unique and awesome. I do this quite often honestly, I have plans to make some stools in the near future for a customer that are going to be a one of a kind kind of design. BUT, I’m not going to try to spend extra time doing bizarre steps, such as putting asphalt on the wood to fill the grain, I mean really? I can’t imagine how much of a nightmare it would be to get that crap off the wood and get the wood looking decent again.

SO I will leave you with this, Keep it simple stupid.

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


36 replies so far

View JustJoe's profile

JustJoe

1554 posts in 540 days


#1 posted 245 days ago

You’re not giving us newbies a lot to go on there. I did try something from Walmart. Everything in one can. Can’t get any simpler than that. Over a week later and it still feels like the shower floor at your local gym 30 days after the janitors go on strike. :)

So what would you consider an easy conventional finish for a hobbyist?

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View BBF's profile

BBF

141 posts in 341 days


#2 posted 245 days ago

Stupid is as stupid does. I don’t know but it has something to do with a box of chocolates.

-- I've never been disappointed buying quality but I have been disappointed buying good enough.

View TCCcabinetmaker's profile

TCCcabinetmaker

896 posts in 857 days


#3 posted 245 days ago

JustJoe,

Ah you used the Polyshades, yeah, for these types of things read the reviews before you buy. There are a lot of poor reviews for that stuff on this site. It’s better to use a stain, then the poly by the same company than to use that stuff.

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

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ajosephg

1826 posts in 2063 days


#4 posted 245 days ago

Rule 1 – try any new finish on scrap first

My go to finish procedure: Minwax polyurethane (solvent based, not water based)
I put on 5 or so coats of gloss until the film thickness looks good, and is level and smooth as baby skin. I lightly sand with wet/dry silicone carbide sand paper progressing from 320 to 400 grit between coats. Since I think glossy finishes look like plastic, I use a rattle can to put on 2 coats of semi-gloss polyu for the final layers. (Using semi-gloss for all the coats would result in a “muddy” appearance.) At this point sanding is usually not necessary. After the final coat I put on a coat of Johnson paste wax using 0000 steel wool. The wax is probably unnecessary but it knocks down any dust nibs that collected during the final coat.

Hardly ever stain wood, but I have made some pieces out of poplar, and I used Transtint Dyes with water to get the desired color.

-- Joe

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TCCcabinetmaker

896 posts in 857 days


#5 posted 245 days ago

Joe,

Read the label on how to apply poly… Too thick can be a problem in poly, the layer on the wood never cures, the outside layers do, it cracks.

Keep it simple.

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

View NiteWalker's profile

NiteWalker

2315 posts in 1079 days


#6 posted 245 days ago

TCC, I’m with you. I use as few finishes as possible and procedures as possible.
No need to complicate things.

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

View shipwright's profile

shipwright

4662 posts in 1300 days


#7 posted 245 days ago

I agree that when you are in business keeping it simple often helps the bottom line but when you are a hobbyist you don’t have to make a profit and so are free to challenge yourself with more intricate designs and procedures.

Personally, simple bores the crap out of me. The more complicated the project, the more enjoyment I get out of trying to achieve it and enjoyment is what makes it a hobby. Does that make me stupid?

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees. http://prmdesigns.com/

View TCCcabinetmaker's profile

TCCcabinetmaker

896 posts in 857 days


#8 posted 245 days ago

NO, but most products aren’t meant to be mixed with others, like alcohol based with oils, and water with oils…
And a lot of the hobbyists that give advice lately are giving terrible advice that will only lead to iffy at best results. And when a pro, or retired pro steps in and says this is why you have blushing or blotching, well they pretty much don’t give any respect to people who are giving honest advice to people who really need help with the issues. You know that silly internet game some people play… mean while the guy who asked for advice thinks he needs to smear asphalt on oak to fill the grain…

Then there are the guys who mistake magazine coloumnists for pros, and don’t realize that in a lot of circumstances removed from controlled environments, their advice will have drasticly terrible results. But for most beginners and hobbyists, this is where they learn. They don’t know that the products are meant to only be applied in a few mils, so they put on coat after coat after coat, improperly sanding between, if not at all, with terrible results.

I see a lot of well, put this on, then you put this on, then you put this on. Or what you need to do is put water on it to raise the grain just before you put your oil based finish on…. oil doesn’t mix with water….
Shipwright, you as a retired boat builder have a tremendous amount of knowledge about finishing, most likely, and when you attempt mixing different types of finishes, you most likely know which ones will not work, but guys who are mechanics and what not, well, most of them won’t. And a lot of the advice along those lines is well… not from the experts.

What I’m saying is mostly because I have been seeing a metric buttload of people needing help because joe schmoe said this works, and well, it don’t…. SO I have to share the kiss rule. Which inevitably doing things according to the labels will yeild better more durable results anyways. Besides, I’d rather save my time and effort for intracacy for the wood work, and keep the finishing easy.

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

View LakeLover's profile

LakeLover

271 posts in 441 days


#9 posted 245 days ago

TCC. Totally agree. So many threads about the same old crap. My pine is blotchy…......

I think a lot of this is the TV crap. Seems no one can finish wood with out staining it. If you want a walnut color, use walnut. Must be a huge profit in making stain and think about thousands of half used cans taking up shelf space in garages all over north america.

The rare time I stain anything, I pull out my analine dyes and use a color wheel. Yes I do remember what I was taught in HS art class.

I like to use the grain in the wood as part of the design. I like a finish you want to reach out and touch

View JustJoe's profile

JustJoe

1554 posts in 540 days


#10 posted 244 days ago

Seems no one can finish wood with out staining it. If you want a walnut color, use walnut.

Well we can’t all afford to buy our walnut in complete log flitches, cherry pick the perfect matching color and toss the rest into the burn pile. Stains can be used to even out color-variations between boards, provide contrast, or to make a figure pop. Your aniline dye is just stain with a fancier name. (Yes you can write a book explaining the technical difference, chemical makeup and all that other philosophical BS but the bottom line is stain is used to change wood appearance, dye is used to change wood appearance. potato. potato.)

If you want a walnut color, use walnut. ”
And if I want to use ebony, should I remortgage the house to buy the wood, or will I be forgiven for buying a $5 can of ebony stain? I just made a plane tote/knob in the color I wanted for less than $1. How much ebony can I get for a buck?

-- This Ad Space For Sale! Your Ad Here! Reach a targeted audience! Affordable Rates, easy financing! Contact an ad represenative today at JustJoe's Advertising Consortium.

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

4788 posts in 1930 days


#11 posted 244 days ago

K.I.S.S. works for me. But like paul, I like to play, too. Keeps the juices flowing and the brain active.
Who needs boring?

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1320 posts in 863 days


#12 posted 244 days ago

Well put, TCC. For the guy without a spray outfit, there’s not any finish effect that can’t be produced, from a close to the wood oiled effect to a high gloss, with only a high quality (not Minwax) oil based poly.

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

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

14592 posts in 1368 days


#13 posted 244 days ago

I often use the KISS philosophy on all sorts of things not just woodwork, but I don’t use it all the time and on everything I do.

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View BigMig's profile

BigMig

234 posts in 1115 days


#14 posted 244 days ago

KISS is fine for lots of us, but I want to learn in this hobby I’ve recently taken up. Maybe what you’re saying is that we shouldn’t post questions, but instead search books for finishing guidance. That seems to be a shame, as Q&A seems to be one of the reasons this site exists.

Would S – Simple- in KISS foot-the-bill when finihsing a poplar piece as well as it would serve a flame cherry or a tiger maple or walnut piece?

If you get tired of teliling us newbies that we’ve got rocks in our heads, or that we should NOT follow some hare-brained recipe, maybe just skip that post and save your advice for more appropriate posts.

-- Mike from Lansdowne, PA

View LakeLover's profile

LakeLover

271 posts in 441 days


#15 posted 244 days ago

Joe. I understand about access to good wood. Well I live in the northern treeless planes of Canada. No wood is cheap.

I hate to see you guys say you can get hardwoods for $2.50 bd ft. Heck anything under 6 is good Does not matter what kind of wood it is. Anything exotic starts at 10 and rapidly goes up. That is at the wholesale level. The Borgs are even worse.

No problem ebonizing some things. I do have a large grasp on costs. I am cheaper than a misquitos ass.

Just trying to say. not everything needs stain. Let the wood darken gracefully.

Another analogy. I see people use pressure treated wood in all the wrong places. It is not a cure all for no maintenace. and then people buy the stuff cut it, then don’t seal the cuts. Yes even respected builders. That is a double money waste, and a very dilluded “Value” to the end user.

Quote
Your aniline dye is just stain with a fancier name. (Yes you can write a book explaining the technical difference, chemical makeup and all that other philosophical BS but the bottom line is stain is used to change wood appearance, dye is used to change wood appearance. potato. potato.)

A bit of a bee under your bonnet.

Using the KISS principle I can use a colorant, with any base, solvent , water, PVA, Epoxy, paint base oil or latex. etc. As mentioned we don’t have every supplier you folks have so you learn to use what is cheap, avalible and what your end product whats to look like, from wood working, to repair boats, pouring concrete, etc.

Ain’t rocket science, you learned it all in HS if you were paying the bare minimum in attention. And I spent more time looking up skirts than the chalk board.

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