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Finishing curly whit oak

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Forum topic by jrhannegan posted 01-14-2015 05:20 AM 1027 views 1 time favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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jrhannegan

12 posts in 691 days


01-14-2015 05:20 AM

Topic tags/keywords: curly maple curly oak white oak

Hey guys,

I am a newbie at wood working, but I am trying to build my brother a coffee table for his wedding present. I was going to do quarter-sawn whit oak, when I stumbled upon curly oak. Of course, I fell in love with it. I am planning to make the table top and bottom shelf out of this and forge the frame and legs in my blacksmith shop. Making the top and shelf should be a simple glue up, then I’ll have a friend to run it through his sander. My big question is how to finish this wood. I want to maintain the shimmer and depth of the figure, but I don’t want a raw look. Also, since this is a coffee table the surface has to be pretty durable. Does anyone have any ideas how I can show off the wood while adding color and protection?


16 replies so far

View pjones46's profile

pjones46

986 posts in 2105 days


#1 posted 01-15-2015 05:09 AM

Experiment on some scraps if you have any.

Here is a good article to start with.

-- Respectfully, Paul

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pintodeluxe

4853 posts in 2275 days


#2 posted 01-15-2015 05:14 AM

I like oil based stain and sprayed lacquer. Figured oak looks great with stains having a high solid content. My favorite brands are Rodda and Varathane.

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

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bowedcurly

515 posts in 1191 days


#3 posted 01-15-2015 02:58 PM

I use transtint liquid amber dye then golden oak stain minwax, looks nice on whitey oaky then arm r seal, I think it’s transtint the little 2 ounce bottle you get at rocklers, the dye makes the rays jump and the stain cools down the color

-- Staining killed the wood<<<<<>>>>>Dyeing gave it life

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jrhannegan

12 posts in 691 days


#4 posted 01-15-2015 05:00 PM

Thanks for the suggestions. I’ve seen some really nice results with Danish oil or wax surface too. Will those hold up to the wear a coffee table takes?

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

3932 posts in 1955 days


#5 posted 01-15-2015 05:04 PM

I would want a really good oil based varnish on a coffee table. They can really get abused (at least in my house). I have one I built 7-8 years ago out of QSWO. I typically don’t stain, so this one just has an alkyd resin varnish finish, many coats sanded back to get a glass smooth finish. Anyway, today it looks just as good as the day I made it, despite my grubby shoes being piled on it and all the other abuse they normally get.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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bowedcurly

515 posts in 1191 days


#6 posted 01-15-2015 09:34 PM

Thailand Express I am traveling

-- Staining killed the wood<<<<<>>>>>Dyeing gave it life

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pjones46

986 posts in 2105 days


#7 posted 01-15-2015 10:36 PM

Just had another thought, how about fuming the wood? You will not see this treatment all the time. Here is an article.

-- Respectfully, Paul

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jrhannegan

12 posts in 691 days


#8 posted 01-20-2015 04:06 AM

Pjones46, that looks really neat and fairly straight forward. However, it is a little too rustic for this project. Maybe next one.

Fred, I was thinking of using a dye to get some color (a little red, a little brown), sanding it back to highlight ridges of the wrinkles, applying linseed oil, then giving it protection with a polyurethane. Do you think the poly would hold up as well as the oil-based varnish? I want the protective coat to be pretty clear without too much yellow.

I glued up the table top and the bottom shelf, and they already look great. I’m going to post pics once I get it sanded down.

View ElChe's profile

ElChe

630 posts in 798 days


#9 posted 01-20-2015 04:30 AM

To get depth I like to use a card scraper to slice off the fuzz. Then i spray a lacquer or brush a shellac followed by rubbing out with a felt pad/mineral oil/rottenstone. The depth of a scraped figured wood is something to behold.

-- Tom - Measure twice cut once. Then measure again. Curse. Fudge.

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pjones46

986 posts in 2105 days


#10 posted 01-20-2015 05:13 AM


Pjones46, that looks really neat and fairly straight forward. However, it is a little too rustic for this project. Maybe next one.

Fred, I was thinking of using a dye to get some color (a little red, a little brown), sanding it back to highlight ridges of the wrinkles, applying linseed oil, then giving it protection with a polyurethane. Do you think the poly would hold up as well as the oil-based varnish? I want the protective coat to be pretty clear without too much yellow.

I glued up the table top and the bottom shelf, and they already look great. I m going to post pics once I get it sanded down.

- jrhannegan

Both Oil-based varnish and Polyurethane will add a yellowish tint and the more the coats the more it will show. Make sure you try on scrape. Try a gloss clear Lacquer for comparison but make sure you use Bullseye Sealcoat dewaxed shellac not just shellac over the BLO when applying Lacquer which you can later dull down to a satin if you do not like the high gloss. Most manufactures use Lacquer for clarity and durability. Poly was developed for floors for abrasion resistance and not necessarily for clarity which furniture demands.

While we are on the topic of finishes, I thought I would throw this in also.

This rule applies no matter which kind of finish you select whether it be poly, acrylic, lacquer, etc.:
The reasoning behind this is that satin finishes have a ‘flattening’ agent added to it. For all intents and purposes, this flattening agent is microscopic plastic beads of sorts. The beads scatter and difuse the light and in effect make the finish slightly duller. If you were to build up all of your coats with satin, you wil be adding more and more flattening agents and eventually end up with a finish that looks dead. Even the grain will be obscured. So, build up your coats with clear in order to not hide your grain and use satin as your final coat.

If you want a satin finish, always build up all of your coats with a gloss and only use the satin on your last coat.

If you are hand rubbing to a satin finish, use gloss only.

-- Respectfully, Paul

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pjones46

986 posts in 2105 days


#11 posted 01-20-2015 10:41 AM

By the way I’m not talking about Nitrocellulose Lacquer. The ones I use are CAB Lacquers and Catalyzed Lacquer. I am just now getting into using conversion varnish which is completely different from the old oil based varnish. However, all of them need to be sprayed.

-- Respectfully, Paul

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

3932 posts in 1955 days


#12 posted 01-20-2015 12:39 PM

I do believe an oil based urethane would hold up as well, but you mentioned yellowing. Most of the urethane finishes are made with linseed oil, so they yellow badly over time. The linseed oil you apply first will add to that yellowing….not poo-pooing any of that, just a word of caution.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

1056 posts in 1451 days


#13 posted 01-20-2015 12:54 PM

Are you spraying or brushing? If brushing, solvent poly is your best bet. Alkyd varnish is not as abrasion resistant, difficult to find now, and looks no different than poly. Both take a long time to build enough film thickness for a filled finish due to dry times. Spraying you could use a pre cat lacquer. but it isn’t as abrasion resistant as poly. You could spray WB poly, which will build film thickness much faster than solvent poly if you want a fully filled finish. If you use WB, a couple of coats under it with Sealcoat shellac will pop the grain and make it shimmer. I use Target Coatings EM9000 WB poly, but it’s primarily only available online. They make a WB BLO emulsion dye stain (no pigment) WR4000 that looks like blo but dries much faster, comes in many shades and clear, and can be tinted with Transtint dyes. Not quite as good but more readily available retail, General finishes has WB topcoats and dye stains as well as solvent products.

Since you are new to all this, I wood recommend the General Finishes WB dye stain with their poly Arm-R-Seal. Hopefully you have some scrap to test with. The back of the table top can work also.

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jrhannegan

12 posts in 691 days


#14 posted 01-21-2015 04:55 AM

Wow, this is a lot to take in.

Elche, do you have any pictures of the results that you get from this? I’m curious why scraping would give a different appearance than sanding to a fine grit. I do like the reflective quality shellac gives to the grain.

Pjones, you mentioned using dewaxed shellac over BLO. Why is that? Does the regular stuff not hold as well?

OSU and Fred, would water based poly yellow as much? Also, can that be brushed on, or do I have to use a sprayer for that? Yeah, I’ve been playing around with the general finish dyes to get a little more red in the wood.

I appreciate all your suggestions and advice

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

1056 posts in 1451 days


#15 posted 01-21-2015 05:15 AM

I don’t think any of the WB poly finishes yellow, but Target does have a couple that do. I add Transtint honey amber, or sometimes something a little darker, to get the ambering effect. Most of the WB finishes will have a bit of blueish hue in sunlight with thicker film builds. Tinting a little counteracts the blue. With a reddish brown dye color. I think you will want the natural amber effect like solvent poly. Just pour a little solvent poly in a clear or white plastic cup or something and let it dry. You can then see the cured color. I have samples like this of many topcoats, including some with tint.

The WB polys can be brushed, but a large table top is not the best thing to initially try it on. I use a golden taklon brush when I do brush it. Arm-R-Seal would probably be the best choice if you want to brush. I like the taklon brushes for solvent poly as well. The superfine bristles won’t leave brush marks. If you plan to fully fill the finish, there are some clear grain fillers, such as Crystalac, that can go under the solvent poly, that dry faster and are easier to sand. Target has one as well.

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