|Forum topic by FrankLad||posted 06-08-2009 05:02 PM||8941 views||0 times favorited||5 replies|
06-08-2009 05:02 PM
My dad often tells me “Everything’s a tradeoff.”
Selecting a finish for wearable wooden rings is one of those cases. I currently have two choices:
#1: I can use a fairly durable membrane finish (have used Waterlox and currently General Finishes Arm-R-Seal) to achieve the shimmering grain and glossy look that so many customers desire… at the expense of the finish wearing down “ungracefully”. (ie. peeling away over time) ... and another drawback is the somewhat fussy nature of applying these finishes. Has to be in a nearly dust-free environment. This is the case with furniture finishing, and even moreso with rings. Because of their small nature, ANY little piece of fuzz stuck in the finish will be magnified.
#2: I can achieve a high sheen accomplished by sanding and polishing with very fine abrasives. Then finish with a penetrating oil (Land Ark or Mike Mahoney’s Walnut Oil) followed up with a fine paste wax (Black Bison). This is arguably the “best feeling” and most natural of the finishes, plus it allows the customer to “revive” the finish by rubbing with a wax/balm for ongoing protection. However, this finish lacks the water protection and visual depth of grain that a membrane finish yields.
We sell a bunch of wooden rings and we offer both finishes as options. Out of, say, 30 rings sold – only 3 customers may request natural oil finishes.
As part of ongoing testing, I wear a wood ring all the time. Did some landscaping a couple weeks back while wearing a ring finished with Seal-A-Cell and two coats of Arm-R-Seal. I also kept this ring on when washing hands and everything else. Essentially, I do things you’re really not supposed to do with wooden rings, in an effort to ensure that they will hold up fine for the average customer. The outside edges of the ring are now starting to peel away. Now, I’m not at all concerned about the ring itself coming apart with water exposure (since we’ve done the water submersion, washing machine, and dryer tests on some of them) – but like I said… the wearing down just isn’t “graceful”.
I’ve also worn a ring finished with oil for extended times to see how it behaves. Since we pre-raise the grain on all of our rings, regardless of finish, they remain smooth even when the bare wood comes into contact with water. No ugly peeling finish to worry about here. But thereagain… you’ve basically got almost a matte finish to begin with. (NOTE: I will say that with some wood species, I’m able to get an almost unbelievable smooth finish with sanding and oil alone.)
In any event, we let the customer know in our “Care and Maintenance” guide that we’ll refinish it for them down the road when/if the finish wears away.
So those are my thoughts on finishes with regards to wooden rings.
Can you guys offer any advice? Finish recommendations, tips? Thoughts?
...Should I treat the ring like a boat and just epoxy the whole thing? LOL!
-- Frank, Mississippi, Handcrafted wooden rings - http://www.bentwoodrings.com