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Red Oak & Black Walnut coffeetable #5: i have a problem...hoping somebody can help

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Blog entry by woodchips posted 08-13-2007 05:10 AM 1522 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: almost finished for real this time Part 5 of Red Oak & Black Walnut coffeetable series no next part

Hi All.

I’ll preface this blog by saying that because of my lack of experience…

i made a mistake that i hope won’t be undoable. when i applied tung oil to my coffeetable after sanding it down to 400 grit, i applied it too heavily thinking that it would be alright, since i’d seen something similar (but not exactly) done on the Wood Whisperer’s video podcast. What he’d used was a mixture but i (ignorantly) assumed it didn’t differ too much from straight tung oil. anyway it’s been a week now and my finish is still rather sticky. does anybody have advice as to how i can fix this, i’m about ready to start wiping it down with paint thinner or laquer thinner but i figured i’d ask the pro’s (all of ya’ll) first. i’m all ears right now, because i’m hoping i haven’t ruined it.

-- "Repetition is a leading cause of carelessness, and carelessness usually leads to injury"



9 comments so far

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1804 posts in 2832 days


#1 posted 08-13-2007 06:01 AM

Neil is a finish wizard amongst many here. If you don’t get an answer soon send him a message.

-- Bob, Carver Massachusetts, Sawdust Maker http://www.capecodbaychallenge.org

View frank's profile

frank

1492 posts in 2952 days


#2 posted 08-13-2007 12:03 PM

Hello Isaac;
—-well lets see now….hmmmm.

You never mentioned if you had already, wiped the excess off after first applying the tung oil?

Also when you mention straight tung oil, do you mean 100% pure such as this….
....?

When using tung oil on a large or small piece of furniture, one should cut the tung oil with mineral spirits or I like to use gum turps….but please never use lacquer thinner. On top of cutting the tung oil with the gum turps, and that is a fifty – fifty cut (50:50) I will also use a Japan dryer, and be sure to please follow the directions on the bottle concerning how many drops. The Japan dryer will actually cut the drying time by up to half of what can expected when waiting for the tung oil to dry by itself. Time is what generates my use of the Japan dryer. Then I will do a wipe down shortly thereafter and re-apply another coat of tung oil being sure to wipe down again. I will continue wiping down as long as my rag or paper towel is picking up oily residue, and then I will set aside to dry. Drying is usually within a couple of days to a week with the Japan dryer and longer without it’s use. I will usually do this over the course of some weeks as I will usually apply many more coats of the tung oil, following up in between with sanding and using #0000 steel wool, which will start giving a polished sheen to the wood.

Now back to your question of what to do now, since your finish is still ‘sticky’. I had a similar experience like this happen once with boiled linseed oil and beeswax….ha!, that one stayed sticky for some months. No short cuts here….except you might decide to wait longer and see if the tung oil will yet dry out. If that doesn’t happen or you don’t want to wait, well go ahead and start wiping the wood down with mineral spirits or gum turps. You will have to work these into the wood to remove the gummy residue and please, do not use the lacquer thinner. After you have done this and removed as much as possible, then it’s just a matter of sanding again and then be sure to let the wood dry out completely from old finish and the mineral spirits in the wood. After the wood has dried out, then go ahead and apply a new ‘cut’ mixture of the tung oil.

I have found that the Hopes 100% pure tung oil works very good, nothing else is added to this product and is real ‘tung oil’. Many varieties of what you buy that say tung oil, are in fact not even tung oil or have very little tung oil in them, but then I’m not going to name names. I am assuming that you have used a product that is ‘only’ 100% pure tung oil and if that is not the case here, then we need to know more about what you have used….so as to properly get that finish off.

And no, you have not ruined it….as now in this next step, the table will come forth on a much grandeur scale of beauty!

Ask away if you still have questions….and…..
Thank you.
GODSPEED,
Frank

-- --frank, NH, http://rusticwoodart.tumblr.com/

View woodchips's profile

woodchips

235 posts in 2710 days


#3 posted 08-14-2007 04:23 AM

Frank,
thanks for your answers and questions. after reading your post i checked my “tung” oil and just as you suggested, it is not pure tung oil but a mixture that they don’t even tell the ingredients of. Formby’s just in case you were wondering. and yes after applying a thick coat of it i did attempt to wipe off the excess but it dryed to an unwipe-able status too quickly to remove much excess, and originally after i put it on i thought it would be okay but as the days progressed and it remained somewhat tacky to the touch i realized something had gone wrong. however i have used that particular tung oil on another project and when i put on thin coats and rubbed it in thoroughly it dryed rather quickly, say within 12 to 15 hours. so needless to say i am a bit puzzled over your reference to tung oil taking days or even weeks to dry, puzzled but hopefull since perhaps i don’t need to wipe my table off. it sounds like it will be quite messy if i do indeed wipe it down with mineral spirits.
as per your picture, i’m assuming you use the sanding sealer first and then apply the tung oil?

well that’s all i can think of for now, i hope to hear back from you, especially if you have any particular words of advice concerning the brand i chose to use and how best to get it off if it should come to that.

-- "Repetition is a leading cause of carelessness, and carelessness usually leads to injury"

View frank's profile

frank

1492 posts in 2952 days


#4 posted 08-14-2007 02:32 PM

Hi Isaac;
—-well lets continue working through this, as I know we can!

So you say you used Formby’s and I believe if I remember right that this is a ‘wiping and rubbing oil finish’.... or what one may call a ‘oil finish’. While this is an ‘oil finish’, this one is not a penetrating oil, as once the said product is put on, the wood is going to be sealed….

Trouble is that the manufactures are not required to tell you what goes into their product and many can lead you believe you have one thing, while you really are getting something else. Much of what one buys that is sold as ‘oil finish’ works by sealing the wood and any coats after the first will no longer penetrate the wood but now are going to build ‘sheen’ and ‘protection’ by building upon the past coats.

Whether this has ‘tung oil’ in it and how much….well I’m not going there, but suffice to say, that there is also some type of poly or varnish that has been added to the product and then all is diluted or cut to make application as a hard oil finish. These products should never be poured on and left to set up as they work best when applied in small thin-minute quantities. Lesser is better, with each additional coat building upon the last one for protection and sheen. You will also note that Fomby’s says to not apply over an existing finish except for ‘penetrating oils’. Pure 100% tung oil such as the Hope’s is a true penetrating oil.

You are also correct in your wondering, as to my referencing the time it takes for true tung oil to dry out. Most oil finishes that have tung oil in them also are diluted or thinned down to small quantities of tung oil and then have some form of poly or varnish added to increase protection. These are ‘oil finishes’ while once again let me state that pure 100% tung oil and boiled linseed oil are ‘penetrating oils’....and yes there is a difference.

Pure tung oil will take some time to dry out in the wood and that is why I mentioned in my previous comment the need to cut by 50:50 and then also the use of a Japan dryer if you want to speed the drying time up some more, even by half. Pure tung oil is pure tung oil….and that’s all your getting. Rockler, Woodcraft and Hopes sell pure 100% tung oil, although I’m sure there are others. For small pieces you can use tung oil in it’s natural un-cut state or even do a ‘bath’....just be sure you can wait some weeks, (four-eight?) but then I never count. When one starts to understand this time frame, then one can also begin to understand why much of the general woodworking public would rather have a product that just goes on and is simple to use.

I sure wish we could see a picture of the table, since I’m wondering about what and how ‘sticky’ your table still is? If the table does not dry out in time, you will need to re-move the finish that you have on there now and also I might add that since there is some type of hardener, be it poly or varnish, you will also need to get below this also if you plan on getting to bare wood. Therefore, I would try using Scotch-Brite pads and mineral spirits to re-move the gummy residue that is on the wood….and yes if this works or does not work you will still need to machine sand the wood, if again you are wanting to get to bare wood or just to a place where you can apply another coat of finish. No, there are no magical easy steps here, but all can be done and you can yet have a work of ‘wood art’.

What you must decide is, are you going to wait and see if the finish will dry out? I’m also wondering about humidity in the place where you have the table drying?

If it was me, and I’m only speaking for myself now, I would have no hesitation about using the mineral spirits and starting to re-move the finish while it still has not hardened up, since to my way of thinking, once the finish hardens I may not like what I see and then I will have to start using ‘stripping methods’. Whatever way you choose to go, you will still have to do some sanding.

As for the tung oil and sanding sealer in the picture, well I’m sorry if I caused confusion here, but the tung oil goes on first and then the de-waxed universal shellac. The photo was for another story and I was only referencing the 100% Tung oil here by Hope’s. This is the long version of what ‘other’s sell as an oil finish, since I will start with two-three coats of tung oil, followed by two coats of universal de-axed shellac and then comes the coats of shellac, varnish or ploy’s. In between there ae many sandings using paper and steel wool. And then I also make my own hand rubbing oils which contain tung oil and varnish. Just remember that once the wood is sealed with shellac, varnish or the poly’s….you will never get tung oil to penetrate that finish into the wood….unless you strip and sand down to bare wood. A ‘penetrating oil’ will never penetrate an ‘oil finish’ unless the ‘oil finish’ is re-moved and you now are at bare wood!

Hope this helps some, keep asking away and with all the experience from those here at LJ, I’m sure we can get you through this minor re-do and on into a completed project of ‘wood art’.

Thank you.
GODSPEED,
Frank

-- --frank, NH, http://rusticwoodart.tumblr.com/

View furnitologist's profile

furnitologist

198 posts in 2759 days


#5 posted 08-14-2007 03:38 PM

Hey Isaac:

Bob gives me way to much credit…......”wizard”.........nah!!!! nobody can mix an elixir like Frank!!!!

If their is any wizardry I can offer at this point that has worked for me is to embrace your table as it stands today…......and welcome to the club. Every woodworker has his/her one project that defines when their personal disciplined finishing “schedule” was created. Isaac you may have just opend up a whole new world of woodworking for yourself….how exciting is that. It’s not wizardry, but more of how the heck to stay out of trouble.

Frank’s provided the best historic guidance on the “oils” and the pitfals provided by the finishing products manufactures. He’s provided you a great base to spring off of.

Everybody will have a twist of how-to….......but Frank’s right on….........you’re sealed with a Formby’s kiss. Hit your table with the mineral spirits and get the sticky, guey, crinkly mislabeld tung oil off the table. On your contours use the abrasive wool. Gently putty knife in your corners. Keep working it until you feel all’s removed, let it dry…..then sand it down.

I too am wondering about your air-flow and your humidity levels.

Like Franks says….....keep ask’in, there’s plenty of LJ knowledge to get you through.

Neil

View woodchips's profile

woodchips

235 posts in 2710 days


#6 posted 08-16-2007 07:13 AM

All right Guys,

Sorry its taken me so long to reply, I’m neck deep in an intensive Hebrew study session trying to bone up on it so I can test out of actually taking the year long course of Hebrew.

on to the table though, the humidity has been rather high of late since we’ve been getting quite a bit of rain here, plus the only place I have room to store the table is down in the basement so that adds even more humidity to the equation. not good…I know. i’m really hoping I don’t have to end up wiping off the table with mineral spirits. That doesn’t even sound remotely fun…at all!

Frank,
here’s some pictures of the “completed” table.
http://picasaweb.google.com/Woodchips76/ProgressShotsOfTheCoffeeTable/photo#5099137269209101506
http://picasaweb.google.com/Woodchips76/ProgressShotsOfTheCoffeeTable/photo#5099137346518512882
http://picasaweb.google.com/Woodchips76/ProgressShotsOfTheCoffeeTable/photo#5099137410943022386

if you need more shots take a look at this link. it will connect you to my picassa webalbum of the whole table project.
http://picasaweb.google.com/Woodchips76/ProgressShotsOfTheCoffeeTable

the finish on the table top proper is actually drying and hardening and not sticky to the touch much anymore, however the sides which are of a newer and perhaps not as cured piece of wood as that of the top, are still rather tacky to the touch. tacky as in not leaving a residue on your finger when you touch it but your finger sticks to it when you grip it rather hard. I’m hoping that perhaps i just need to wait a bit longer as the top looks rather nice now that it is pretty much dry. the walnut breadboard ends are no longer sticky per se but still a little tacky but no where near as much as the sides of the table. and since i followed precisely the directions on the can of Formby’s for finishing the legs they are perfect, but i will never again use Formby’s, I have learned my lesson and learnt it well indeed.

ps.
how do you guys insert your pictures directly into the blog text? i would much rather insert photos than links.

-- "Repetition is a leading cause of carelessness, and carelessness usually leads to injury"

View frank's profile

frank

1492 posts in 2952 days


#7 posted 08-20-2007 01:53 AM

Hi Isaac;
—-I was looking at the pictures of your “Red Oak & Black Walnut coffeetable” and must say, that is one fine piece of furniture there!

So I just thought I would do some follow up here and see or ask, how is the table drying? Are you are still experiencing any problems? Also are you still experiencing problems inserting photos?

Looking forward to seeing this one posted in projects as finished.
Thank you.
GODSPEED,
Frank

-- --frank, NH, http://rusticwoodart.tumblr.com/

View woodchips's profile

woodchips

235 posts in 2710 days


#8 posted 08-20-2007 03:17 AM

Frank!
i’m glad you posted finally, i was just getting ready to send you a pm cause i hadn’t heard from you in awhile and then i saw your most recent post. Thanks for looking at my table. I’m in love with it, (of course i’m biased quite a bit) but it gladened my heart to see your kind words and compliment. i really admire your work because it seems to mix the finest of rustic beauty with a bit of modern finesse around the edges. It is what i aspire to in my own work. it seems to me that wood is so beautiful in it’s most natural state that it is hard to me to make too many changes to it. plus i’m still learning how to make all those changes too. in time my work will evolve, as does everyones’, and perhaps more modernity will seep in to my work but until that takes place i will continue making rustic with modern highlights.

on the table finish that was giving me so much trouble. well whataya know the finish up and dried out for me! the table is no longer sticky and i am so happy i’m telling everyone so much that most of my friends are having to say, “uhmm Isaac, you already said that”. so finally my project is finished and i’m going to go ahead and repost it as a new project i think or maybe just update the old project page i guess.

As to your question about posting pictures…Yes i am having trouble, if you want to call it that. actually i simply can’t figure out how to post pictures directly into the text of my blog as many of ya’ll seem to do as a matter of course. can you explain that one or maybe just point me in the right direction with a link that will do the explaining.

thanks for taking your time with me on this one Frank, i really appreciate it!

-- "Repetition is a leading cause of carelessness, and carelessness usually leads to injury"

View frank's profile

frank

1492 posts in 2952 days


#9 posted 08-22-2007 01:34 PM

Hello Isaac;
—-thank you indeed for the words about; ”the finest of rustic beauty with a bit of modern finesse around the edges.

Living as you do in Michigan, you also must be surrounded by quite a bit of ‘rustic’ furniture makers. In the shows I been to, over in the Adirondacks of NY, there usually are some coming from over your way. And yes, that’s the best thing about ‘being rustic’....there are no rules or certain styles that you must maintain. Your ‘wood art’ becomes the piece of furniture in front of you, as it dictates to you what it shall be in shape and form. So as you move on in more and more making of furniture, your work will evolve beyond what was basic rustic, into what will become your own character in ‘working the wood’. When that happens, what folks will see, will not be some copied piece out of a book that someone else has done and so you now try to add a new twist….

And also what they will see, is not so much the style or tradition of rustic, traditional, contemporary or etc., but what the see will be you. When your ‘working the wood’, becomes who and what you are, then it will be hard to put a name on it….this is why I call it ‘wood art’, and you will find yourself at a place where folks will scratch their heads and walk on by….or stop, and just stare in amazement with no words coming forth. The work has become you and you have become the work, but be sure that this is what you want, for their is no-middle ground here. Folks will love it or hate it, since you are bringing forth ‘one of a kind’—-’wood art’! The good news is, that when that someone wants your one of a kind, there will be no questions asked as to price, it’s kind of like….”I want it, here’s the check, you fill in the price.”

And yes, I’m glad that the finish dried up on the table without the need to do a take off and re-do.

Now….let us get on to the work at hand which involves inserting images. You will need a hosting site for storing your pictures at….I use Flickr which is free but limits your upload per month and over time, then I also use Zooomr which is also free and offers no-limit photo sharing.

There are many ways to do picture inserts, and some I don’t even understand with other ‘photo sharing’ sites, so I will point you in the direction of Martin's site blog and then Learn how to embed pictures and still more with, Embedding Pictures . Also let me add that you can also ask Martin himself in a email or others if you are still having problems and I’m around also, so ask awayyyyyy! Basically what it gets down to is coping the link from the picture hosting site and placing a; ”! before…..at end !”. After reading what Martin has written in those links, if you are still having problems let me know!

Thank you.
GODSPEED,
Frank

-- --frank, NH, http://rusticwoodart.tumblr.com/

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