Finishes, what do you like & don't like?

Discussion in 'Newbie' started by Jerry Bailey, Aug 15, 2014.

  1. Jerry Bailey

    Jerry Bailey

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    So, I like to make mostly utilitarian pieces, "treenware"
    have a couple different oil/wax combinations I use and am more than happy with.

    But, there are a few things where vessels will be strictly ornamental,
    What kind of finishes have you tried, and what do you like / not like about them?
    How do you handle final finishing without polishing with Mequire's or 3M's finesse It? Beall buffing system?
    I realize with poly's etc. buffing would have to be slower speed else you'll just melt finish .........

    Altho I don't like coloring, and would rather use different woods for contrast/color,
    I do use Chestnut and also Trans Tint, both with good success.
    I also personally don't care for high gloss pieces, but that's what some people want, so .......

    I'm currently working on an Ambrosia Sycamore bowl, used Waterlox for 1st time
    like the resulting finish, just not happy how it darkened color of wood
    but now I know it'll be good for darker woods (wenge, walnut, ebony, cocobolo, etc)

    There's a slew of different finishes out there,
    Deft, Minwax, WOP, General Finishes, etc .... list is almost endless,
    I don't mind spending money on a good product, just hate buying/trying and finding it doesn't do the job.

    So again, what are ya'll happy with, and not happy with ??
    In furniture trade, I'm accustomed to commercial finishes and using hvlp
    in the turning world, finishing is completely different and there's just too many to choose from as a beginner ..........

    TIA
     
  2. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Something that is very easy to apply and looks really nice is Minwax Antique Oil finish. It is actually an oil/varnish blend, but you apply it the same way that you would apply an oil finish. If you do two applications then it will give a slight sheen to the wood. Three applications will give a satin finish. More than that is a waste of time unless you have really porous wood that soaks up the finish. Wait about 24 hours between each application. Do not sand between applications unless there are rough areas that show up, but if sanding is necessary wait until the finish is completely cured (at least two weeks) or else you will create a murky looking mess -- just don't ask how I know and I won't be forced to lie.
     
  3. Jerry Bailey

    Jerry Bailey

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    Thanks for the reply and I'd never make you lie to me on purpose Bill :rolleyes:

    This sounds also like something that would darken the wood, yes/no?
    and I've learned from other thread, no more sanding between coats ;)
    and only needing fewer coats unless definitely punky woods like the spalted stuff I work with, but they're getting oiled anyway..........
    Buff afterwards? White Diamond/Carnuba I presume? (after the 2 week "cure")

    Should've also mentioned, also needing info/referrals for "clear" finishes as I have a lot of light colored woods
    some really nice Spalted Hackberry, Spalted Maple, Red Gum, Red Elm, Cherry Burl, and Flame Box Elder that I don't want to discolor the woods .......
    But, some of them are definitely softer woods.

    Also have some Wenge, Ebony, Walnut, and Cocobolo, so something that darkens those a bit wouldn't be a bad thing.

    one clear finish I know I don't care for is Minwax WOP, finish is OK, just a PITA to apply "thick enough" preparing for "client's abuse" over time
     
  4. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    It darkens the wood about the same amount as a varnish finish or as much as walnut oil which is very light colored. Since it is the type of finish that is wiped on and then wiped off a few minutes later, it leaves a very smooth surface and I don't see any reason for polishing or buffing. Because it is a mainly oil finish, it doesn't close the pores of open grain wood, and not even some wood like soft maple. I can imagine that white diamond abrasive would be a total disaster in such cases.
     
  5. Dean Center

    Dean Center

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    Jerry,
    I have wrestled with finishes for a long time, as I like a different finish for different uses and different woods. Of those I've used, lacquer seems to change the color the least. I have heard that acrylic finishes and especially water based acrylics may affect color even less, but there is the possibility of a bluish tint with the water based acrylic. CA finish doesn't affect the color at all, but it produces a shiny plastic finish that isn't what you apparently want, and it's hard to recommend for anything larger than a pen or reel seat blank (though some of the stalwarts on the forum have recently used it for larger pieces with success).
     
  6. Jerry Bailey

    Jerry Bailey

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    Bill, I use Walnut oil regularly, to me it brings out just the right amount of grain & contrast, so not a bad idea
    and OK, scratch needing the White Diamond, liking the sound of the Minwax Antique Oil finish more and more, will definitely give it a try.

    Dean, no way I'd try a CA finish on the size of pieces I do (10-18"), and definitely don't want a plastic appearance ;)
    and like you, I like different finishes for different woods and/or applications.
    I've gotten 3 of Bob Flexner's finishing books (information overload!), and he says same thing about the bluish tint using water based acrylics.
    For a clear semi-gloss appearance it seems like I'm restricted to solvent based lacquers or Poly's,
    sometimes I might get away with a little yellowing from varnish types depending on the wood.

    Have tried Masters Magic, didn't care for it
    Happy with Deft, Mahoney's products, and Waterlox

    anyone have any opinions on General Finishes products, Mylands Melamine Lacquer, Woodturner's Jelly, or another brand I'm missing ??

    TIA
     
  7. Col Smith

    Col Smith

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    The finish I dislike the most is 5mm of Resin especially on burls, it just looks so false, like a sheet of glass.

    I also dislike the high gloss finish as in most cases it hides the true quality of the grain.

    I use a lot of oil finishes it really makes the grain pop out. For a hard wearing finish I prefer matt or semi-gloss varnish.

    Just my 2 cents

    Col
     
  8. Jerry Bailey

    Jerry Bailey

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    Thanks for the reply Col Smith, and I agree with you 100%
    especially about the burls, too much glossy just distracts from the wood itself
    I currently mostly use oils/waxes, but have people who want different

    and becoming aware of my most recent mistakes (too many coats & too much sanding) prompted me to start this thread ;)
     
  9. Gerald Lawrence

    Gerald Lawrence

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    Woodturners finish

    I just tried General Finishes Woodturners Finish. It is water based, and can be wiped, brushed or sprayed. I prefer wipe. I did have sags as I put on too heavy. Dried quickly and sanded out easily. Was able to buff with white diamond after one day. I used blonde shellac as a sealer. Do not have a pic yet as just finished a piece of maple and one of sycamore today. Very little to no discoloration on sycamore. Maple be slightly darkened. These are not very porous wood so cannot say about leveling the porous look.
    As was stated previously I use differend finished depending on the wood. 100 percent tung oil thinned half and half with turpentine works well on oak and porous woods. needs many coats to build and can get gloss, but this takes a while like 18-30 applications. Easy part is just apply and wipe off excess not too much problem with dust nibs and such.
    My fav for easy application id Watco . Wipe on and wipe off. Four to 8 coats (may be overkill just what I use). Also this is easy to renew as is the tung oil.
    Like the Lacquer, just have to wait to buff out the finish. Downside is the toxic fumes. Well you gotta die from something.
    Captn Eddie has something called shine juice. Only used once and takes some practice to use but it really looks good. It is Shellac - BLO- and alcohol (ok you could just use a lower cut of shellac say 1.5 #)
     
  10. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Jerry,

    One of the finishes that I like a lot is no finish at all. It requires a lot of work to do it well. I hand sand to a very high grit until I get just the right amount of sheen that I want and sometimes on mesquite I go for a semi gloss. This is labor intensive and completely unforgiving of any errors. It has no protection against moisture so sweaty or greasy hands will trash the finish. In a few instances I have applied Johnson's Paste Wax which darkens the wood only slightly.

    My favorite film finish is lacquer. I have tried all sorts of spray finishes such as acrylic enamel in search of one that darkens wood the least and I learned that they are all lacquers.
     
  11. Gerald Lawrence

    Gerald Lawrence

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    Bill I have hold noticed several people using the no finish approach with wax. Not counting the handling how does this hold up over time? Does the wood darken faster since no finish to protect it?
     
  12. Jerry Bailey

    Jerry Bailey

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    Thanks for the input Gerald, knew you were currently working on a piece with General Finishes
    was waiting for you to finish it to see how well it does.
    Captn Eddie is quite the character, sure has the personality to do what he does :D will look for an episode with the shine juice
    So far most my non oil finishes have been shellac/shellac cut type compound as I am happy with it.

    Bill, thought about the "non finish" finish, and would have to do a minimum waxing/buffing just because of handling.
    And in this climate that would never work, summer time it's 8 a.m. and 110 degrees, winter time it gets down into the mid-low 30's
    Would think with such a climate change thru seasons, wood would gain/lose too much heat & moisture and cause too much warping.
    (Even tho house is climate controlled there's always changes as dogs go in and out, doors open/close, etc etc )
    And agree about the lacquer's so far, just have to remind myself to keep coats thinner, really liking the Deft (just tried Deft Defthane Poly and it seems OK but dries slowly)
     
  13. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    If you are like me, you have probably had some hardwood lumber stored in your shop or garage for years. It won't be any different than that. In sunlight wood darkens more than indoors out of sunlight. Some wood like redwood goes from pink to brown rapidly while hard maple, ash, and white oak show no change that I can see. I like to leave mesquite bare and it comes in such a wide variety of colors from nearly gray to slightly pink tan to chocolate that it would be hard to detect any color change with age. I have a stack of rough sawn mesquite lumber from my flat woodworking days and I don't think that it has darkened. Finishing mesquite with varnish or lacquer will make it appear much more like a rich chocolate in color.

    Just a word about finishes changing the color of wood -- it's more of a perceptual thing sort of like lens flare in photography creating a haze that lowers contrast. A rough unsanded piece of wood will have a light color because of light scattering. As the wood is sanded to higher grits, there is an apparent darkening especially when sanded at grits finer than 1000. Sanding with Micromesh or similar material can bring the wood to a satin sheen that will create an apparent darkening comparable to a satin film finish. Sanding added nothing to the wood -- it only reduced the scattering of light.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2014
  14. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    I can't imagine Nevada being humid. It gets hot here too, but we have high humidity as well. Wood mainly warps when it is losing free water and then a bit more as it loses bound water, but once it has dried, the amount of moisture doesn't change much and there is very little warping. Of course this depends some on the species of wood and orientation of blank WRT growth rings and distance from center of tree. Whether a bowl (or anything else) has a finish or is bare has little effect on long term movement of the wood. If my unfinished turnings are moving, I can't see it. I handle my bare wood turnings a lot and there is no noticeable effect, but maybe in a hundred years they might show a little patina. One thing for certain is that I don't need to be concerned about the finish failing. :rolleyes:
     
  15. Jerry Bailey

    Jerry Bailey

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    Maybe because your hands are always covered in sawdust and not oily ? :)

    Thanks for the reply, and info is good to know and I'll definitely give it a try in the future .
    Moved here last year, picked this community because it was out in middle of desert and nowhere ........
    hardly any rain last year, very hot (127 degrees maximum) but very little humidity, but this year ...... in last 2 weeks we have had 8 days of massive thunder storms and plenty of rain.....
    Have "shop" climate controlled and using dehumidifier, but after moving some finished pieces into house I've noticed "some" movement within 5-7 months (all kiln dried woods to begin with)

    Gerald, I've considered and worried about same thing
    am currently assembling a contraption using an old ceiling fan with a dimmer control
    will attach it to lathe and once finish is applied will let spin at very slow rate until finish set-up to keep it from sagging ......
    have already tried it with a BBQ Rotisserie but couldn't handle rotating the weight, I know the ceiling fan will work tho ;)
     
  16. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    A better way is to not apply heavy coats. If spraying lacquer, start with a very light tack coat. After a couple minutes, apply a second coat of about the same amount. Repeat several times and then let it dry. There is always the temptation to apply until you see a smooth layer of finish on the surface. That is about the same point where you have applied too much and it will run. The problem with a rotisserie is that it doesn't address the root cause of the problem it only tries to mitigate the damage. The runs and sags will still be there, but just spread out over a larger area.

    It is difficult to get a perfect finish from rattle cans which means that after the finish has cured, the next step is to finish the finish to get rid of orange peel and over spray and pin holes and trapped air bubbles, etc.
     
  17. john lucas

    john lucas

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    If you want the no finish look but want a finish to protect the wood use Krylon Fixatif. It will change the color on some woods but most woods look like you never put anything on it.
    I use Minwax wipe on Poly on some projects and I spray my own lacquer on most others. However the lacquer I spray almost always needs some work afterwords because my spray gun and technique suck. However that does allow me to choose the sheen I want since I will often hit it with 4/0 steel wool which leaves a nice soft finish. Then I can buff it up to a satin, semi gloss or gloss depending on how much I want to work.
    For very glossy finish without much work I like Birchwood-Casey's true oil. It is a wipe on varnish. For porous woods like Oak or Walnut it takes between 5 and 10 coats but it's fantastic when your done and just about fool proof to apply. I get the same thing with my spray on lacquer but it seems to take more coats.
    The wipe on Poly seems to change the color about as little as anything I use. On some woods it will take a while to build up a glossy finish because it soaks in but it's still a pretty easy finish to do, it just takes time.
     
  18. Jerry Bailey

    Jerry Bailey

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    Thanks for the replies Bill & John

    I don't care much for rattle can finish as they're too unpredictable (tip) with spray and fan
    have a really nice Binks gun and I too prefer spraying with it (used for over 10 years) with plenty of different tips/needles for the different viscosity of materials.
    Have tried the WOP once so far, was an OK finish and application was simple, but as was pointed out to me above, sanded between coats which diminished the end result.
    Will have to try again in future without all the sanding and see how it goes.

    As for the time it takes for finishing, I find that's the longest time frame with turning, but am in no hurry and would rather have a good looking finished vessel than rush things.
    Thanks also John for the referral of the Krylon Fixatif & Birchwood-Casey's true oil .... will also have to try these on a future project.

    Am getting some interesting ideas and referrals from this thread, and I appreciate all the input.
    Am copying all info and saving into a document for future reference.

    Happy Turning :)
     
  19. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    John, do you use Krylon Workable Fixatif or Krylon Fine Art Fixatif? I have used the Workable Fixatif because it is available at Hobby Lobby which is nearby. I have not tried the Fine Art Fixatif which would be available at art suppliers. The Fine Art Fixatif sounds interesting because it has UV inhibitors. The fixatif type spray should be applied very lightly and not like the way that a varnish is applied to wood. When using the fixatif, imagine that you are using it on art paper to protect a watercolor or chalk drawing.
     
  20. John Tisdale

    John Tisdale

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    Warps / shrinks when losing FREE water?

    To Bill Boehme
    You wrote:

    "Wood mainly warps when it is losing free water and then a bit more as it loses bound water, but once it has dried, the amount of moisture doesn't change much and there is very little warping."

    I thought the opposite was true - wood is essentially unchanged until the free water is gone and it starts losing bound water. I boil my vessels after rough turning and then put in a sealed box w computer fan in a room with a dehumidifier - the goal is to go from 50%MC to 20%MC in the box - takes two or three months. According to Gene Wengert the 50 to 20 is when loses occur - after 20% you can be considerably more aggressive.

    I'll be going back to Hoadley plus some others - if your statement is correct, I need to rethink some techniques.
    Thanks
    John
     

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