best way to get a high gloss finish

Discussion in 'Newbie' started by moye howard, Jan 26, 2011.

  1. moye howard

    moye howard

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    I know this has probably been asked a thousand times. Can someone give steps to how they get their best high gloss finish. What grit do you sand to? Do you use EEE? What finish do you use and how do you apply it? Do you use it on soft (spalted) and hard woods? Do you use a buffing system? Etc...
    Thanks so much.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2011
  2. Steve Worcester

    Steve Worcester Admin Emeritus

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    Glossy as in no finish? If you have a hard enough wood, you can sand up to the 1000/1200 grit range and then buff with a white diamond and then carnauba wax. If it is an oily exotic, Cocobolo, Bocote, Aussie woods, you can sand higher, use an Abralon or Micromesh and sand to a shine.

    For finishes, like a lacquer, sand to the 400 range (this is debatable) shoot your finish, generally several coats. If you are real good (I am not) then you usually wet sand smooth and buff.

    EEE , I will leave that to the experts on the product
     
  3. Mike Peace

    Mike Peace

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    I tend to use EEE on small turnings that will be finished on the lathe. EEE contains tripoli as an abrasive. For larger items like bowls that I am going to beall buff with tripoli I would not waste the EEE on it.
     
  4. john lucas

    john lucas

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    There are two kinds of glossy. Really glossy plastic looking with all the ripples and pores of the wood showing (not very pretty in my opinion) For this type of glossy you just put enough high gloss finish on until you get there.
    If you want glass smooth glossy then you need to somehow fill the pores and defects in the wood. You can do this by simply putting on finish, sand it down, and put more on until the finish fills the pores, Or you can use some sort of filler to speed up the process.
    On really subtle defects I just sand with diluted finish using 600 grit. The slurry will fill in the pores after an application or two. If the pores are really large like Oak or Ash I use either pore filler or sometimes a contrasting wax to fill the pores and then finish over this.
    You can use just about any to do this but some will take 4 to 10 layers and some will take 60 0r 70. Obviously thick body finishes go faster. For pens many people use CA glue which goes much faster because each layer dries faster. It's not very practical for larger work.
     
  5. MichaelMouse

    MichaelMouse

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    It's a matter of scatter. You don't want it. Scatter comes from irregularities in the surface, so you can try to minimize those by sanding to the approximate limit of 20/20 resolution - CAMI 320 or P 400 - along the grain. If you sand across, you'll see the contrast even a small particle can give. Some people LOVE to sand. I am not one of them. If you want the wood to feel and glow satin, burnish it. http://i35.photobucket.com/albums/d160/GoodOnesGone/Ten-By-Interior.jpg That's 320 and then a paper (not plastic) grocery bag. Still scatters light because the wood is porous. Light comes back from different angles.

    Put some oil on the surface, and it will bridge over small pores and drape itself over minor irregularities to give a smoother surface. That's when people say they've "popped" the grain. They seem to forget what happens after the oil is absorbed. If you put on more coats of a finish you will come to a consolidated and permanent smooth surface. While you're doing it, ask yourself how much sense it makes to sand to 4000 when you use 400 to smooth and tooth for the next coat.

    The best surface you can get is the finish itself, second is a polished one. For ease of use, look-through, and the ability to go as shiny as I care to, I like shellac. French Polish technique of a thousand thin coats a minute is an easy finish, but it is shellac, and vulnerable to alcohol and alkali in cleaners. Second best is a wiping varnish. Oil base is my preference. Wiping varnish have resin (solids) content between brushing varnish and Danish oil. On with a rag, drag for smooth, and by coat three on most woods you have enough to make a continuous surface. If I didn't like the first two so much I'd spray lacquer, but it's picky and stinky.

    I don't like satin finishes where there's scatter within the coat. If I want some scatter I use the old method of steel wool or buff with tripoli to destroy the flowed surface. Some people like to buff for bright with rouges. Never has quite the shine of a flow surface, though.

    Varnish http://i35.photobucket.com/albums/d160/GoodOnesGone/Cultivated-Birch.jpg
    Shellac shallow http://i35.photobucket.com/albums/d160/GoodOnesGone/ShellacLongSide.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2011
  6. Mike McDonald

    Mike McDonald

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    The glossiest (sp?) finish on a piece of wood I ever saw was while I was in art school.

    Guy carved the piece but didn't do any sanding at all. He put the thing on a turntable and carefully sprayed several layers of automotive clear coat. The piece looked like it had been covered in a layer of glass.

    At $100/gal. or more I don't know that you would want to make it a regular practice, and it had a little different look than a polished piece of wood, but it sure was glossy and took relatively little work.

    Second glossiest (again, sp?)- sanded the piece to 400grit, then took it to a polishing wheel and used tripoli and rouge. It shined before any actual 'finish' was applied.
     
  7. Steve Worcester

    Steve Worcester Admin Emeritus

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    I use the clear coats all the time and for most, because of cost of material, gear to do it correctly, and how dangerous it can be in the wrong hands, don't really recommend it. Although, you may find an auto painter in your area willing to do it for you.
     
  8. john lucas

    john lucas

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    OK, here's a question. Why do we need really glossy work? It's difficult to maintain. The owner has to be pretty meticulous about storing and cleaning the piece. If you do chip or ding it, can you repair it? I know it's an ego thing. I do it occasionally just to prove to other turners that I can but personally I don't like the look most of the time.
    On guitars and violins it looks great, at least up until the point they get used a lot and then they show the affects of constant use.
    I do use it on my Christmas ornaments because it sells well. These things are supposed to be "shiney". I do try to use a finish that is repairable if necessary and will hold up to the handling once a year without showing too much abuse.
    On most work I think the very smooth glossy without the highly reflective finish is both better looking and easier to maintain.
    I think really glossy is kind of like what John Jordan said to me one time about turning thin hollow forms. He said Turn one and get over it. By that he meant, turn one to prove you can and then if a piece really needs to be thin you know how but most work doesn't need to be thin.
     
  9. Alan Trout

    Alan Trout

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    Gloss finishes do not have to be fragile. It really depends on the product used. I now use catalyzed varnishes for my gloss pieces. The durability compared to lacquer or anything else is incredible. It is fairly easy to shoot. However it is expensive and pretty toxic compared to water born or wipe on finishes. There is definitely some techniques and skills needed to get a good gloss finish as nothing looks worse than a bad gloss finish.

    It is like anything else not everything needs the same treatment. I use gloss finishes on pieces that need them. Many other pieces do not need them so satin an softer finishes are used.

    Alan
     
  10. Steve Worcester

    Steve Worcester Admin Emeritus

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    Well John, you do have to dust the work once in a while, but that is the only maintenance. It has the ability for UV protection (without loss of clarity or change in color, depending on what the product is).
    Some have very steep learning curves like the auto clear coat I shoot. But I chose it because it will give the wood the initial yellowish cast (unlike water based) of a lacquer (the warm tone) but is optically clear. You would shoot a finish to build the layers enough to fill the pours, then a clear, catalyzed top coat that gets buffed with buffing compounds (if you don't shoot well like me).

    It is durable, like a well done car finish, not most Detroit finishes. It does dent, but not easily chip.

    But glossy has to be done correct, to avoid a plastic look, and it has to be in the right context. I do shoot glossy and then sand it down to 1000 to give it a smooth flat finish also.

    On something as intricate as johns work, you would be in real trouble if the finish right off the gun wasn't good. It does not deal well with intricate detail or flowing into the edges. Static pressure on edges and pours keep it from flowing freely into those areas well.
     

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