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finishing a live edge slab - suggestions to achieve certain finish

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Forum topic by contento posted 02-20-2014 06:29 PM 2307 views 4 times favorited 36 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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contento

19 posts in 316 days


02-20-2014 06:29 PM

Greetings all! I’m getting ready to dive into my first live edge slab piece (bathroom vanity counter top) and I need some advice on how best to finish it to get the desired look.

Here is an example of the finish I’m looking to get (super smooth, satin sheen):

Since this is going to be in the bathroom and likely getting wet, I’ll need to make sure I take that into consideration when finishing (meaning if I can’t get waterproof with a satin finish, then I’ll chose a different finish).

The wood I’m probably going to be working with is Bishop wood (of which I know little about). This is a finished board I found a picture of:

I’m hopefully getting a really nice slab of this. If not, I’ll be using a piece of black walnut that I already have.

So, the questions:
- depending on which of the two woods I’m using, will I need to take different steps to achieve the finish or will both types essentially take the same steps?
- what products and process would you recommend for prepping and finishing to get the desired finish? I’ve read and see some guys sand then use hot linseed oil first, then a shelac seal coat, finer sanding and more shelac, then rubbing out the finish.

Thanks all for any recommendations! I’ll post photos along the way.


36 replies so far

View mrjinx007's profile

mrjinx007

1829 posts in 520 days


#1 posted 02-20-2014 06:34 PM

For humid area like in the bathroom/Shower place, I would go with oil poly or lacquer for both. Have to cover all sides and bottom as well.

-- earthartandfoods.com

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mrjinx007

1829 posts in 520 days


#2 posted 02-20-2014 06:35 PM

Charles Neal has a nice youtube video on how to bring the shine out to the level you desire.

-- earthartandfoods.com

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contento

19 posts in 316 days


#3 posted 02-20-2014 06:48 PM

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mrjinx007

1829 posts in 520 days


#4 posted 02-20-2014 07:02 PM

That is the man: Here is the video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zN-9vCSJWDQ

-- earthartandfoods.com

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contento

19 posts in 316 days


#5 posted 02-20-2014 07:24 PM

awesome. thanks. watching it now.

View bigblockyeti's profile

bigblockyeti

1813 posts in 473 days


#6 posted 02-20-2014 07:47 PM

Here’s a picture of a live edge stool I made, finished in waterborne poly. I think it was old masters. Something happened to the finish in the can as it came out like pudding, the tech support guy suspected it probably froze at some point. At any rate, it turned out better than I expected and further sanding between coats could have easily resulted in an even smoother finish. The higher than normal viscosity did help with bark a little.

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contento

19 posts in 316 days


#7 posted 02-20-2014 07:53 PM

so…
- oil based shleac or satin lacquer like this

- 1200 grit on my random orbital + lube (he uses soapy water)
- 2000 grit abralon pad + lube

then what? he doesn’t speak to anything beyond that. Will that be where I stop or should I be applying something further (wax, etc)?

My biggest question then is what about BEFORE I start hitting it with the shellac? I get it sanded to perfect. Then what? Is there anything I should hit it with before the shellac to seal it, bring out the color/grain, fill pores, etc?

Once more..thanks all!

View CharlesNeil's profile

CharlesNeil

1171 posts in 2623 days


#8 posted 02-20-2014 08:03 PM

You get your slab and lets see what you have, then we can go from there, depending on the slab and the condition, will determine what we want to use as a finish,, When you have the slad , and before you start, PM me and I will help you through it.

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contento

19 posts in 316 days


#9 posted 02-20-2014 08:16 PM

Hey Charles. Thanks for chiming in. Great videos, btw. Very helpful for someone green (excuse the pun) like me. I’ve done plenty of work with wood, but never a serious focal point piece like this.

I have the Walnut slab now.

Hopefully I’ll have the Bishop wood soon. Even if I DO get the slab of Bishop, this hunk of Walnut is going to be the next project, done is the same exact satin smooth finish for my living room. The only difference is that it won’t need to be super waterproof, but living in South Florida, I do have to deal with the humidity.

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CharlesNeil

1171 posts in 2623 days


#10 posted 02-20-2014 09:22 PM

Do you want to color the sap wood or leave it.. Do you want to “help” the ” free form look ” if so take a look

http://www.cn-woodworking.com/creating-a-live-edge/

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contento

19 posts in 316 days


#11 posted 02-20-2014 09:32 PM

I definitely want to leave the sap wood light for the dramatic contrast. It may be hard to tell in the photo but the back (left in the pic) is already squared as are the ends. The front (right) edge is still bark on. I’m planning on stripping the bark (still learning the ins and outs of doing that from pressure washers to draw knives), then seeing how much character is in the edge. I do plan on doing some carving on it because I am in love with the edge of that photo that I posted at the top. I might not get THAT crazy with my carving, but the short answer is “yes” and I appreciate the video link. Watching it now.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

15506 posts in 1090 days


#12 posted 02-20-2014 10:06 PM

I definitely would use oil based poly. But as said earlier, make sure that you seal all sides and edges properly.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

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contento

19 posts in 316 days


#13 posted 02-21-2014 04:42 PM

Thanks Monte.

I’m still looking for a recommendation on an order of attack. I’m sure it’s not just sand it smooth and hit it with Poly and call it a day (that is of course if I want the best, richest, results). I’m eager to hear what Charles has in a method for me.

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CharlesNeil

1171 posts in 2623 days


#14 posted 02-21-2014 05:03 PM

What I am waiting on is to see it surfaced and sanded, and then see what we have. We have numerous products we could go with. We could use a good urethane oil finish, however if you want the stark sapwood /heart wood , assuming its nice and white, then the oil could “tan ” it, same with an epoxy.Epoxy would be a good choice if we have checks and other defects., or your after a super tough finish. If we have a nice surface and want to maintain the wood colors as close to what they are , then a water base would be a good option , Or we could use a good oil, to enhance the color, and then a water base, and then perhaps rub the finish to a satin, glass smooth surface. We could also do the same with an epoxy, or a lacquer . The possibilities are numerous.. Lets see what we have before we commit .

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contento

19 posts in 316 days


#15 posted 02-21-2014 05:18 PM

Ok, so first thing to do is to get the bark off and the entire piece sanded down. Got it. How smooth should I be taking it at this point? 320? 600? 1500?

A few of the things you mentioned are what I’m after…hopefully they can be achieved in unison:

- waterproof (going in my bathroom)
- the sapwood isn’t white, so I’m not to worried about it losing it’s “whiteness” but I do want the sharp contrast since the heartwood is so dark and interesting.
- “rub the finish to a satin, glass smooth surface” If the very first photo at the top that I posted of that gorgeous bar top is a close match to this, then that’s exactly what I want.

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