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Help popping curly maple? (Chatoyance effect?)

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Forum topic by ADHDan posted 02-03-2015 06:52 PM 1698 views 4 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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ADHDan

800 posts in 1575 days


02-03-2015 06:52 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question finishing curly maple

I’m making a solid curly maple desk, and I’m wondering how best to pop the chatoyance – that shimmering, holographic quality you can get with curly woods. Currently I’ve given it two coats of transtint dye (sanding the first coat back to accentuate the contrast with the second coat) and then added two coats of BLO, letting it sit for a week or so in between. Here are some pics of the current state – it looks great, but the “shimmer” from the BLO seems to fade after a few days and I’d like to get that look more permanently:

I was planning on using a few coats of satin or semi-gloss Arm-R-Seal for a topcoat and I was wondering – will that help boost the shimmer effect? If so, does a glossier finish mean more shimmer? I don’t want dings and scratches to be really noticeable, so I’d rather not use a full gloss, but if satin won’t really add much shimmer I could go with semi-gloss. Or is there a different finish I should use (on top of the transtint and BLO I’ve already applied)? I’d like to use a pretty durable film finish.

Any suggestions?

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.


22 replies so far

View Tennessee's profile

Tennessee

2410 posts in 1981 days


#1 posted 02-03-2015 07:30 PM

My experience, on people that absolutely want flame maple guitars – is that the glossier coats definitely bring out the flame better. I never have put on a stain then sanded to try and amplify. I do use a grain enhancer, and try to make sure there are no chip outs in the flame.

I have also done air brushed bursts, of clear dyes of blues, reds, etc., and put Tru-Oil on top. (I’m getting ready to do a green one.) After about 8-10 coats of Tru-Oil, it really starts to pop, and after about 12, with a final polish, it just jumps off the face. Of course, this is all a highly mirrored finish.

-- Paul, Tennessee, http://www.tsunamiguitars.com

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ADHDan

800 posts in 1575 days


#2 posted 02-03-2015 07:37 PM

Do you think multiple coats of a semi-gloss Arm-R-Seal over two coats of BLO would pop it reasonably well?

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

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CharlesNeil

1610 posts in 3337 days


#3 posted 02-03-2015 08:12 PM

The Arm R seal is an excellent choice, its quite durable as well, to get the “pop” you have to build the finish up , right now the wood has absorbed most of what is on there and its offering little to no sheen . Arm R seal also dries pretty fast, much better than BLO .. you can do 2 coats the first day then let it dry over night then do a light 600 or finer scuff sand just to remove any debris, its basically a wipe more than a sand, then do another coat , on tiger maple its not uncommon to have to do 4 or even 5 coats because the curl will absorb a lot of finish. the key is to let it dry well between coats , typically a 24 hour dry is more than enough

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LeTurbo

217 posts in 1052 days


#4 posted 02-03-2015 09:22 PM

My understanding is that a real chatoyance comes from using a cabinet scraper for your final finishing rather than sandpaper. It has to do with the actual fibres of the wood rather than the coating afterwards. A scraper, I surmise, flattens the fibres smoothly in one direction whereas sandpaper ruffles them in all directions.

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ADHDan

800 posts in 1575 days


#5 posted 02-03-2015 09:53 PM

Thanks Charles – that’s fantastic! Do you recommend satin or semi-gloss if I’m trying to pop, but also not showcase scratches in the finish? Also, for future reference do you recommend dye, then BLO, then Arm-R-Seal (or similar) for popping curly maple, or should I skip the BLO and just do two coats of dye (sanding in between) followed by the film finish?

Turbo, if I had any talent using a cabinet scraper I’d be tempted to try your advice – and maybe I will for a curly box or some small project. But since my current scraping ability is limited to (a) removing glue and (b) putting nice, unintentional scratches and gouges in the wood I think I’m going to have to stick with sanding for this one.

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

View Tennessee's profile

Tennessee

2410 posts in 1981 days


#6 posted 02-03-2015 09:53 PM

I don’t know about the scraper – I’ve had some real pop out of flame maple just using paper up to 600 before finishing.

-- Paul, Tennessee, http://www.tsunamiguitars.com

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CharlesNeil

1610 posts in 3337 days


#7 posted 02-03-2015 09:58 PM

My experience has show , scraper or sand paper its developing a “prism” of sorts, which is achieved by having enough finish to level the surface and produce a clear coating which it is viewed thru , to understand, remember the old eye glasses that made the eyes look huge, its similar.

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CharlesNeil

1610 posts in 3337 days


#8 posted 02-03-2015 10:00 PM

Go with gloss . get about 4 coats on, then Pm Me .

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ADHDan

800 posts in 1575 days


#9 posted 02-03-2015 10:01 PM

Awesome – and from the results I posted, I think I got a pretty good result with sanding, since the pop right after a BLO rub is exactly what I’m shooting for (the pic of the desktop in particular). The problem is, that shimmer fades after a little while.

So, same questions: should I use satin or semi-gloss for this finish, and in the future should I skip BLO and just use the dye and Arm-R-Seal?

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

View ADHDan's profile

ADHDan

800 posts in 1575 days


#10 posted 02-03-2015 10:01 PM

Thanks Charles. Will do. To be clear, should I be getting full or semi gloss?

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4457 posts in 3427 days


#11 posted 02-03-2015 10:04 PM

Listen to what Charles Neil says.
He’s great guy, master of finishes, and a supporter of this site.
You won’t get any bad info.
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

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ADHDan

800 posts in 1575 days


#12 posted 02-03-2015 10:09 PM

No kidding! In the three years I’ve been on this site, if nothing else I’ve taken two crucial pieces of advice to heart: listen to KnottScott on table saws, and listen to CharlesNeil on finishing.

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

View ColonelTravis's profile

ColonelTravis

1194 posts in 1361 days


#13 posted 02-03-2015 10:13 PM

What Bill said x 1 Billion and what Charles said x 100 gazillion. I’ve never heard about scrapers having a special ability over sandpaper, but if you’re concerned about them, don’t be. They’re easy to use and eliminate a lot of sandpaper.

That top is gonna look fantastic.

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CharlesNeil

1610 posts in 3337 days


#14 posted 02-03-2015 10:55 PM

do the full gloss, we gonna ,make it “dance, ”, dont get in a rush, take your time ,I will walk you thru . you have done well thus far, the Blo , you didnt need but none the less, you will be fine

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ADHDan

800 posts in 1575 days


#15 posted 02-04-2015 03:36 PM

Thanks to everyone for the advice – you guys are great!

Charles, I may not get around to the Arm-R-Seal for a little while (still need to do some assembly), but I’ll definitely PM you after I get 4-5 coats on. Thanks so much!

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

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