Finishing noob looking for affirmation on plan

  • Advertise with us

« back to Finishing forum

Forum topic by danofpaco posted 03-10-2014 07:45 PM 1257 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View danofpaco's profile


118 posts in 2092 days

03-10-2014 07:45 PM

Topic tags/keywords: finishing wiping varning blo boiled linseed oil dye

So I’ve never been happy with my finishing jobs to date, but I’m optimistic this time around… I’m looking for affirmation on my planned technique and finishing schedule for a curly maple / purpleheart picture frame I’m making for my dad. It’s his birthday and I bought a blueprint of Wrigley Field that I’m making a nice (hopefully) frame for.

I’ve started by popping the grain of the maple. I used a transtint vintage maple in water solution. As expected, this has also raised the grain, which I plan on hand sanding back to 220, to remove the raised grain and the dye on the long grain.

My next planned step is a coat of BLO. I’ve read that BLO can be amazing on figured wood. I have not used BLO before. I was planning on simply wiping the BLO on, letting it soak in, reapplying to areas that drink it in faster, and then wiping off the excess after a few minutes. Do I need to thin the BLO or will it work ok for a wiping application right out of the can?

Next I was going to start applying a wiping varnish (General Finishes Arm r Seal wiping varnish, high gloss). Do I sand (was thinking 220 grit) after the oil and before the varnish? How long should the oil set before starting with the varnish? I was planning on 4-5 coats including the top coat. Sanding lightly at 320 between coats. My shop is in my garage, and I’m in MN. My shop is heated to about 60 degrees for the time being. I was planning on allowing 12-24 hours between coats – what is a good way to tell if its ready for the next coat? Is it worth increasing the grits as I scuff sand between coats?

I know it’s not ideal, but I’m in a bit of a time crunch as I’m traveling to see them Friday morning and I was hoping to have it finished by then, if not fully cured at least travel and presentation ready. I will be applying the BLO tonight. Any other pointers for a great top coat?

Thanks for reading!

Any pointers on getting a great finish? Am I on the right track? Any tips on the final

-- Dan :: Minnesota

8 replies so far

View Hammerthumb's profile


2902 posts in 2150 days

#1 posted 03-10-2014 08:18 PM

Do a sample board before applying to the project piece. Some people do not like the ambering effect that BLO has on Maple.

-- Paul, Duvall, WA

View pintodeluxe's profile


5783 posts in 2988 days

#2 posted 03-10-2014 08:26 PM

You might try pre-raising the grain with distilled water before applying water based dye. That way you can scuff sand with 220 grit without fear of removing the dye. Oils or stains are next. Make sure to let the oil or stain dry completely. Test it by wiping the area with a clean rag. The oil or stain is dry when it won’t smudge the rag. This is the most important step. Oils that have not cured will lift off when applying the topcoat—- especially when the topcoat is wiped or brushed on. This is less of an issue with sprayed finishes.

I never sand after oil or stain application. Just sand with a soft 320 grit sanding sponge between your topcoats. Clean the dust off with a cheese cloth (not tack cloth) and compressed air.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View danofpaco's profile


118 posts in 2092 days

#3 posted 03-10-2014 09:11 PM

pintodeluxe – I added the dye with the intention of sanding off both the raised grain and the dye off the long grain of the wood at the same time. I’m basically using the dye just to pop the curl – I didn’t really want the color of the dye – more the color of the BLO. Thanks for the tips on testing whether the oil is dry, that will help as I’m on a time crunch!

-- Dan :: Minnesota

View FellingStudio's profile


93 posts in 1857 days

#4 posted 03-10-2014 11:08 PM

Forget the BLO and varnish. Use shellac. I prefer a 1# cut. Brush it on. Knock down any raised grain with 400 grit sandpaper. You will be done in 3 hours.

For a picture frame, you don’t need the extra protection (mainly from alcohol spills IMHO) that a varnish or lacquer will give you.

-- Jesse Felling -

View Finisherman's profile


227 posts in 2024 days

#5 posted 03-11-2014 12:13 AM

I like the idea of using the trans tint dye to pop the grain. Pre-raising the grain and doing a test board are also good ideas. As the above poster suggested though, I’d skip the BLO and the wiping varnish. Instead, get an aerosol can of clear lacquer and spray that over your dye. I think you’ll be happy with the results. If you use shellac, you might want to use a spray can of shellac so that you can sidestep the possibility of pulling up the dye with your brush. In finishing, it’s often best to follow the K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Silly) principle, especially at the beginning of the learning curve.

View FellingStudio's profile


93 posts in 1857 days

#6 posted 03-11-2014 12:20 AM

Of course. Forgot about the dye. Spray lacquer or shellac.

-- Jesse Felling -

View CharlesA's profile


3342 posts in 1972 days

#7 posted 03-11-2014 12:34 AM

There are more approaches to finishing than just about anything in woodworking. i won’t give you a whole new approach. You can test it, but I don’t think you’ll get any better result with BLO and Arm-R-Seal than just Arm-R-Seal. Check out LumberJoe’s recent comparison on finishes:

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2536 days

#8 posted 03-13-2014 12:15 AM

Much too complicated. Stain it with the dye; sand back the nibs; wipe on a couple coats of thinned Arm R Seal. Skip the BLO; it’s only good for starting fires.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics