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Finishes

Joined
Aug 16, 2022
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Butler, PA
I've been using Rubio on most of my bowls, but I put one coat on with the hardner, then two coats of their maintenance oil to get the sheen I want. I've given a couple away and the reports are they hold up to washing. The only thing I don't like about it is it turns spalted hickory a yellowish tint and I don't like that, so I'm going to try pto and see how that works out.
 
Joined
Oct 25, 2020
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Location
Minneapolis, MN
I have experience with exactly one of those products, Tried & True. I know nothing, literally, about the contents of the rest of those brand containers, so I'm going way out on a limb with this statement- along with whatever other mystery ingredients that could be in the blends, you have oil (which penetrates and cures "inside" the wood), and wax (which sits on the surface). The buffing process of the instructions (presuming here) for each removes, arguably, 99% of that wax, leaving at most 1% of the wax you first applied, and most of it has settled down in the surface imperfections that you can't see. And as a protective surface, generally speaking, wax is a really poor protective top coat for bare wood (which is what each of those samples were even after the product was applied).

If one wants a protective top coat, one needs to apply a protective top coat, because wax only ain't it. I can only speak for T&T, but I bet applying a coat of their Varnish Oil as a base coat would have changed their test result, thanks to the pine resin in that blend. Want protection, get some version of "danish oil" into the process to give that surface a fighting chance.

Oils- penetrate and cure, changing the tone of the wood.
Resins- cure on the surface, making a protective film.
Waxes- protect the surface film finish by making their surface slicker by way of leaving wax in the microscopic surface imperfections.

Woodworkers around the globe hear me! Regardless of brand, use the right material for the right step of the job to meet your expectations. Sitting pretty on a shelf- any of these will do. Need a little, or a lot, of protection? You need a film finish. Giving abuse so hard that a film finish is worthless, use bare (or oil only) sugar maple and get to chopping!
 
Joined
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Oils- penetrate and cure, changing the tone of the wood.
Resins- cure on the surface, making a protective film.
Resins, as in oil based poly or nonpoly varnish (almost impossible to find today), will penetrate and cure similar to oil. It just needs to be thinned. Most of the otc danish oil is thinned long oil varnish, some with poly some other resins.
 
Joined
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Eugene, OR
They had a follow up video that You Tube sends you to if you can't find your mouse quick enough and hit the cancel button.... Lots of not polite things to say about that, but this is supposed to be polite... Anyway, a 'new' thing is a ceramic top coat. Really interesting. Sounds like it would be great for things that will have a lot of handling. I wouldn't put them on bowls though, just don't want stuff like that on my bowls.

Bob Flexner's book was pretty good. No clue as to how long it has been out, but probably time for an update or 5...

robo hippy
 
Joined
Oct 25, 2020
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Flexner's 3rd revision of "Understanding Wood Finishing" came out in March 2021. Yes, a worthy upgrade from the wonderful original. Find it everywhere.

The ceramic topcoat, I wonder if that's tech brought over from the auto detailing industry? And, is it food safe if the use requires it?
 
Joined
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Now, I am trying to remember, but Steve, your comment about coming from the car industry seems familiar, and I think he said that in the video. Have to go find it...

Steve, you were correct. Here is the link to the ceramic top coat video. As for being food safe, I think most are said to be 'food safe' when totally cured. For me, it is only food safe if I can eat it out of the can, taste not the determining factor here...

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJK0UYSM33g


robo hippy
 
Joined
Oct 25, 2020
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Thanks Robo.

I dunno, going ceramic, we may as well go to the local home improvement store and buy a roll of wood grain plastic laminate and glue it to the project.

I'm sticking with my Tried & True products. I guess my finishing requirements are a lot simpler than many turners anymore. Practice quality cuts, sand and shavings burnish as needed, and oil it to bring out the grain look. I like patina on a piece as it matures, and I want to feel the the natural wood surface.

The AAW symposium, I'm told, is in my hometown in '25. If I attend, it should be a real eye opener to see how the gallery pieces are finished nowadays.
 
Joined
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I have never used the Tried and True finish. Most of my turnings have been daily use bowls. I am playing around with other things, and they need a more durable finish. Never had much luck with the wipe on finishes, but for things that will be handled a lot and you don't eat of, these products seem to fit the bill for ease of application and durability.

robo hippy
 
Joined
Mar 18, 2010
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"Food safe" is such a hot button topic. My understanding is that once a finish has fully cured it will not disseminate anything into food., I also understand it is an expensive process to do the required testing to be awarded "food safe" designation, allowing one to advertise it as such. Since we have eaten beeswax and drunk mineral oil since time immemorial they are grandfathered in as "food safe". Since such a miniscule proportion of commercial finishes are directed at wood products destined to contain food, there is no incentive for manufacturers to seek this designation. Tin cans (i.e. ferrous cans) at one time were coated with tung oil, that once polymerized, isolated the food contents from interaction with its steel container (waterproof) and added nothing to the food contents. We now know that non-stick metal cookware is not food safe (release PFOS and PFAS compounds - the "forever chemicals" with proven cancer causing properties) but they are damned convenient and continue to be sold. And I concur that Flexner's book about finishes is the finest single reference on wood finishes that a turner can have in his library.
 
Joined
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Bournemouth, UK
We now know that non-stick metal cookware is not food safe (release PFOS and PFAS compounds - the "forever chemicals" with proven cancer causing properties) but they are damned convenient and continue to be sold.
I avoid non-stick coatings as much as possible, even though the newer ones are claimed to be safe.
 
Joined
Jul 27, 2020
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“Food safe”, on dry finishes doesn’t say the finish is totally inert and harmless, but that the amount one would consume is below the threshold of concern (for most people in most situations)
Thats a whole lot different than finishes used, whose ingredients were never toxic. I tell my customers that I use “food grade” finishes, edible, not necessarily tasty, as applied to the bowl. I enjoy their reactions, as they tend to be discerning , and skeptical of corporate promises. If you’re using the bowl for food, you are eating the finish, whether it’s lacquer, poly varnish, epoxy, ca glue, or Walnut oil. I, and my customers prefer the natural finishes, the materials edible from the can. As a side note, my customers understanding that,,raises the perceived value of the bowl, and the price accordingly.
 
Joined
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I avoid non-stick coatings as much as possible, even though the newer ones are claimed to be safe.
The best food safe non -stick coating is a well-seasoned cast iron pan/pot/skillet/griddle.. Still have my great grandmother's cast iron skillet and we use it regularly... 100 years of seasoning and care, works better than any non stick pan I ever used.
 
Joined
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The best food safe non -stick coating is a well-seasoned cast iron pan/pot/skillet/griddle.. Still have my great grandmother's cast iron skillet and we use it regularly... 100 years of seasoning and care, works better than any non stick pan I ever used.
Agreed, from what I’ve read cast iron and glass are the safest cooking vessels.
 
Joined
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Just ran into this on You Tube. It might have confused me more than I was before.... Gives a good explanation for things.... Not sure if this belongs here or in Off Topic.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zpJJri1XOM


robo hippy
Back on topic. I’m always on the look out for a good finish. I wouldn’t normally use this type of product due to the, in some cases, eye watering cost of them over here. The number one product in the conclusion of that video is not too badly priced though. I’m a bit disappointed though that some seem to apply this product over sanding sealer, which seems to me to defeat the object? What do others think. I’d like to try this stuff and apply it on bare wood. I can get the semi gloss version of Fiddes locally. I’d appreciate your thoughts.
 
Joined
Dec 25, 2023
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McKinney, TX
I typically use Mylands- High Build Friction Polish (as seen on the bowl in my Profile pic). It’s really easy and provides a great finish, using a method I learned in my first turning class in May.

I tried something different a couple of days ago called Tried and True, on an Aspen (VERY light, almost white) vase. Instructions suggested sanding with 4/0000 steel wool after 24 hours. Mistake, in two spots where end-grain was present on the side, it left very dark residue…. I will be resanding and starting the finish over… I’ve never used steel wool before, so thinking I used the wrong type. I had some single 0 that I picked up at a woodworking shop in DFW a few years ago. After seeing the marks, I took a look at that box and it said something about ‘no oil’… I,m thinking the 4/0000 I bought at Home Depot yesterday had oil which left the dark residue.

Live, practice and learn! Any suggestions about steel wool would be helpful.
 
Joined
Aug 14, 2007
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A funny thing about seasoning cast iron and carbon steel pans, vegetable oil will polymerize at around 400 to 450 degrees F. Never considered that until I saw it in a video a while back...

robo hippy
 
Joined
Oct 25, 2020
Messages
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161
Location
Minneapolis, MN
I typically use Mylands- High Build Friction Polish (as seen on the bowl in my Profile pic). It’s really easy and provides a great finish, using a method I learned in my first turning class in May.

I tried something different a couple of days ago called Tried and True, on an Aspen (VERY light, almost white) vase. Instructions suggested sanding with 4/0000 steel wool after 24 hours. Mistake, in two spots where end-grain was present on the side, it left very dark residue…. I will be resanding and starting the finish over… I’ve never used steel wool before, so thinking I used the wrong type. I had some single 0 that I picked up at a woodworking shop in DFW a few years ago. After seeing the marks, I took a look at that box and it said something about ‘no oil’… I,m thinking the 4/0000 I bought at Home Depot yesterday had oil which left the dark residue.

Live, practice and learn! Any suggestions about steel wool would be helpful.
Since I've had that happen to me before with light woods, and also having oil-free #0000 imbed itself into the open grain of an ash bowl, I've boycotted steel wool from contact with bare wood, and from nearly all finishing steps as well. The last step of my sanding procedure now is to grab a big handful of shavings (no bark or really thick/course shavings) and burnish the surface of the wood with the same pressure as I hold sandpaper to the wood.

Now I only use the steel wool to clean metal tools (lathe bed, light corrosion, etc.) and to also lightly scrub residue and sawdust from my bandsaw tires after each use.
 
Joined
Sep 19, 2023
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Columbia, TN
I typically use Mylands- High Build Friction Polish (as seen on the bowl in my Profile pic). It’s really easy and provides a great finish, using a method I learned in my first turning class in May.

I tried something different a couple of days ago called Tried and True, on an Aspen (VERY light, almost white) vase. Instructions suggested sanding with 4/0000 steel wool after 24 hours. Mistake, in two spots where end-grain was present on the side, it left very dark residue…. I will be resanding and starting the finish over… I’ve never used steel wool before, so thinking I used the wrong type. I had some single 0 that I picked up at a woodworking shop in DFW a few years ago. After seeing the marks, I took a look at that box and it said something about ‘no oil’… I,m thinking the 4/0000 I bought at Home Depot yesterday had oil which left the dark residue.

Live, practice and learn! Any suggestions about steel wool would be helpful.

Did you wipe off all the excess Tried and True after one hour? That's critical. You shouldn't see any gumming. Also, you shouldn't burnish until 24 hours after application. T&T is a great finish. I use Myland's as well.
 

Randy Anderson

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Finishes - one of those deep end of the pool topics like tenons vs mortises, gouge grind angles, scrapers vs gouges, drying process, etc. Lots of possible right answers to the same question. I guess we all settle in on what works for our shop, market, patience level and workflow style but step out of our box sometimes to try something different. For me I settled long ago on walnut oil for natural/live edge and traditional bowl pieces with a wax buff as needed. Easy, simple, and settles the food safe question for all my experiences. Although I did encounter one customer that was allergic to walnuts. Abrasive paste and hand applied shellac on all my hollow forms is standard. Easy, looks great, easy to fix if messed up and can mix my own from flakes as needed.

The only out of the box step I've taken this past year is using automotive clear coat on my very large (20" - 30") floor vases. It's really pushed my boundaries in terms of requirements, process and patience. Lots of steps, complicated application process and dedication of space and time to do it right. I'm still working on it but so far what I've done have come out well.
 
Joined
Jun 25, 2020
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Easley, SC
When the subject of finishes comes up, there’s usually a discussion of walnut oil and certain types being “non-allergic” due to being heated and processed. Having a granddaughter that is highly allergic to nuts and seeds, I am curious how this could work as peanuts are roasted before grinding in some brands of peanut butter. Why then, does she have a reaction to it? I think there’s still a lot we don’t know about the “food safe” finish issue.
 
Joined
Sep 9, 2020
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Portland, Oregon
I typically use Mylands- High Build Friction Polish (as seen on the bowl in my Profile pic). It’s really easy and provides a great finish, using a method I learned in my first turning class in May.

I tried something different a couple of days ago called Tried and True, on an Aspen (VERY light, almost white) vase. Instructions suggested sanding with 4/0000 steel wool after 24 hours. Mistake, in two spots where end-grain was present on the side, it left very dark residue…. I will be resanding and starting the finish over… I’ve never used steel wool before, so thinking I used the wrong type. I had some single 0 that I picked up at a woodworking shop in DFW a few years ago. After seeing the marks, I took a look at that box and it said something about ‘no oil’… I,m thinking the 4/0000 I bought at Home Depot yesterday had oil which left the dark residue.

Live, practice and learn! Any suggestions about steel wool would be helpful.
I use Tried and True extensively. For some time I used oil free steel wool and didn't really have any problems until I used it on a piece of ash. Little bits of the steel wool embedded in the open grain. Now I use either a gray or white non-abrasive (Scotchbrite) pad and don’t have any problems.
 
Joined
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This is from the faq page of doctors woodshop. I hope it helps.

“This is what I have learned from the medical literature. About 3 to 5% of the general population reports a nut allergy. Of those reporting "nut allergy", about 90% are allergic to peanuts, which are a legume and not a nut at all. Of the remaining 10%, 5% are allergic to cashews and the rest allergic to walnut, almonds and other nuts including filberts. Walnut allergy is elicited by the proteins in the nut, wood and leaves. The walnut oil I use is treated and filtered such that no protein is detectable by the most sensitive methods in my lab (mass spec and colorimetric). I can find no data on cross reactivity between nut allergens. I do not guarantee that there is not risk of allergy, but the risk is as small as I can make it. Moreover, since walnut oil is a drying oil, it is found in the wood as a solid, plastic-like material that is not going to be lost in a liquid form, making any protein residue unavailable for biological interaction.”
 
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Moreover, since walnut oil is a drying oil, it is found in the wood as a solid, plastic-like material that is not going to be lost in a liquid form, making any protein residue unavailable for biological interaction.”
This is why other supposed “unsafe” finishes like blo, poly, lacquer, etc are considered food safe after curing. The metallic driers etc are encapsulated in plastic and unavailable.
 
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This is why other supposed “unsafe” finishes like blo, poly, lacquer, etc are considered food safe after curing. The metallic driers etc are encapsulated in plastic and unavailable.
You’re cherry picking. He said plastic-like material, not plastic.
All finishes leach when in contact with most anything else, your food. At a microscopic level, your food goes into the finish and finish into the food. This quote is from fine woodworking, “In order for a finish to be considered “food safe” by the FDA, the molecules that are leached into food from the finish must either be totally safe to consume, or they must be leached in such tiny amounts that your body can easily and safely flush them through.”
It’s further stated that within this, virtually all finishes can be called “foodsafe”. Are they safe? For whom? That FDA statement sounds a lot like, “should be fine, probably won’t hurt you none, or not much, anyway”.

So, 5% of people have nut allergies, and for 5% of those, Walnut is the issue. Heating destroys the offending protein, with the remaining 0% being encapsulated in a non toxic solid.

Plastics, lacquer, heavy metals are toxic at all levels to all people.

Not saying don’t use these things. We each decide for ourselves (and for our customers) what you might be comfortable with.
I’ve gone the route, as a few others have, that my finishes, and all the ingredients of which it’s made, are non-toxic and in fact, edible. I’m a bowl maker, so these things are important.
 
Joined
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“Foodsafe” has become a religious war it seems. Lots of opinions, and very little objective scientific data. With the lack of sound data, interpretations must be made by everyone regardless of their understanding or expertise; hence lots of strong opinions on all sides (sounds a lot like politics, but I digress ).

I don’t claim to have any expertise in this area, but do have a scientific education and background. Not saying my opinion is the ‘right’ one, but it is strongly influenced by reading Flexner’s book a few times, FDA papers, etc. Bottom line, I don’t understand how people can be deathly afraid of fully cured wood finishes and at the same time eat with plastic utensils, put foods in plastic bags for long periods, heat foods in plastic, etc. Plastics of nearly all varieties are made using at least as caustic materials as used to make wood finishes, and in larger quantities.

With all of that said, just because i don’t think twice about eating nuts or candy out of a wooden bowl that doesn’t mean a someone else feels the same, and it certainly isn’t a quick conversation that will change anyone’s mind.
 
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I've started using Tried & True lately, but have a lot of difficulty with the application and then wiping off the excess after an hour. The stuff is so sticky -- it's like working with glue! What does everyone use for application and for wiping off later? I've tried both gloved fingers or a piece of cloth for application, and cloth for wiping off, but these are both difficult and messy.
 
Joined
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I've started using Tried & True lately, but have a lot of difficulty with the application and then wiping off the excess after an hour. The stuff is so sticky -- it's like working with glue! What does everyone use for application and for wiping off later? I've tried both gloved fingers or a piece of cloth for application, and cloth for wiping off, but these are both difficult and messy.
I'll frequently use bare fingers to rub in a tiny fingertip-dip on small areas, such as bottom of bowl/foot after finish turning the bottom plus signature, but usually I have a small (3" x 3") bit of clean white cotton (old t-shirt, etc) that I keep in a 4 Oz Jelly jar with just about half the jar filled with a few tablespoonfuls of T&T Original (The rest stored in the original can which I store upside down- Lid down) The application needs to be quite thin (The bit of rag is stored in the jar, when I go to use it, I fish the rag out and then squeeze off all excess - Since it's just linseed oil and beeswax, I usually do it bare handed - Softens the hands is a fringe benefit - what's left on the rag is pretty much just a saturated rag with no drips , and it is enough to give a rub-in first coat on a 6 inch bowl inside and outside - Used properly, the stuff will last a LONG time because you use so little at a time (I just emptied out my original pint can of T&T original last month, the pint can has lasted me nearly 2 years plus) The coats you apply need to be so thin that it's just a slightly greasy feel to the wood and you should not be able to squeeze any excess off with a finger - That coat needs to sit for the hour, then you wipe it down with a clean cloth (Until it almost feels dry to the touch) , give it a couple hours more before next coat is applied.. final coat can be buffed/polished by hand or with a buffing pad after a day or two of cure time, but it can be several weeks or months for a full cure (If it sits in the sun, it can weep oil out the wood pores, if it isn't fully cured) - I can get a fairly decent semi-gloss finish on 5-6 coats (but that does take a week or two) and a final buffing - T&T is an excellent food safe finish, but it is NOT something for the impatient that want a quick finish ready in a day or two.

In Other words, if it seems messy, you're probably applying too much at once.

If you want an instant one-and done glossy finish that is still food safe, I might suggest Ack's Paste (If you do finishing on the lathe - It does need the wood to spin to get the friction to break down the abrasives, and also to heat up the wax, but it gives a very nice glossy finish very quickly)
 
Joined
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I've started using Tried & True lately, but have a lot of difficulty with the application and then wiping off the excess after an hour. The stuff is so sticky -- it's like working with glue! What does everyone use for application and for wiping off later? I've tried both gloved fingers or a piece of cloth for application, and cloth for wiping off, but these are both difficult and messy.
Hi Karl, I use all three Tried and True versions, and the Original version, the oil and beeswax, can seem sticky due to the wax. Heed the warning sticker on top the cans and apply very light, thin coats. Light enough that you see the sudden change in grain color, but you're still wondering if you are putting any on. It should barely look wet on top. Barely, no standing oil. This is not a flooding finish. Wait the prescribed time on the label, then wipe it down with old cotton tee shirt or, as I usually do, paper towel (how I apply it, too). And then wipe some more, and wipe, wipe, wipe... A warmer environment will help the curing. Then I put the rag in a 2 gallon steel bucket and burn it out in my driveway.

I wait 24 hours before another coat, but first I'll press my thumb firmly against the surface and count to thirty. If I get a slightly oily thumbprint left behind (wipe it off the wood), I do not apply a second coat. Repeat the next day. And the next if needed. No more thumb print, I'll consider it cured enough to move on to another coat. Repeat this process as many times as you'd like, but I usually stop at two coats. Dense woods, such as exotics, one coat is where I stop. Woods like cocobolo aren't going to keep absorbing in any meaningful way. Domestic hardwoods such as walnut, cherry, etc. I usually stop at 2 coats, I'm not working toward a surface film finish, even with their Varnish Oil. Full curing for all oil based finishes generally takes a good month, T&T included.
 
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