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How to finish a piece of wood?


Janel

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Hi,

 

I've begun to carve a block of very hard wood that could be maple. No name was affixed to it, though there was a price tag on it. I purchased it a long vauge while ago with no memory of where from. I just liked the chatoyance, rippling like water, very reflective.

 

The piece of wood will remain larger, a place to add another element that is yet to be determined. I have shaped the wood, about 6 x 4 x 2 inches, sanded and sanded and sanded and scraped with razor sharp scrapers and razors. The surface is very smooth and I want it to remain that way. The wood grain raises with the addition of moisture so I want to seal in the wood surface, not just oiling it with boiled linseed oil.

 

I want the material to enhance the chatoyance of the wood, and to increase the depth of the glow, not necessarily darkening the wood. The material will be applied before the addition of the other part of the carving.

 

Those of you who know wood and have used commercial products, what might be a pleasantly tactile finish to apply to the wood?

 

Thanks,

 

Janel

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i only use tung oil as a finish for all of my wood projects. it's a long process with drying time and steel wool sanding between coats. the finished product usually gives you the satisfaction and pleasure you are looking for in figured wood. photo is of quilted maple cutting board with a fast wipe of minwax golden pecan stain and 8 coats of tung oil.

 

orig.jpg

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I love that toast cutter!

 

Janel, I think you might benefit from contacting a furniture/objects conservator about your needs of sealing the wood, deepening the chattoyance, but avoiding excessive darkening of the wood's color. The darkening is of course an optical phenomena where as the wood gets saturated with the finish product, and the surface becomes smoother, the color deepens.

There may be some products out there in the conservation community that have been designed with your specifications in mind- they may be more akin to modern lacquers than natural oils/waxes. We mentioned Microcrystalline wax here in a discussion thread a few months back. That may be of some use to you in this case.

 

The Minnesota Historical Society has a very good, well-established, and respected Conservation department. Give them a call- you'd want to start with Tom Braun or Paul Storch...www.mnhs.org 1800-657-3773. I've spoken with both of them so if you wanted to use my name as an introduction, please do- they might remember...

 

-Doug

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Hi Janel,

 

This might be what you’re looking for – “urethane oil.†While I’ve never used it, lots of woodturners I’ve talked to swear by it, and claim it doesn’t darken wood as much as linseed oil based products.

 

Here’s a link:

 

http://www.woodturnerscatalog.com/cgi-bin/...on&key=101-0025

 

Here’s their description:

A penetrating oil finish containing urethane, resins, and oils. The light- amber- colored oil works well on light or dark woods. Additional coats applied and wiped dry will produce build-up and sheen as desired. -1 quart - $11.99

 

The urethane component will probably do a better job of providing a seal, even though I personally think it is impossible to completely seal wood, beyond imbedding it in thick plastic. Anyone else out there know anything about this stuff?

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Thanks for the ideas!

 

Dan, I checked out our old Tung oil can, and it has solidified. I'll have to get a new one. Are there different qualities of Tung oil to be aware of? I like the look of what it did for your quilted maple.

 

Doug, Thanks for the contact information. This could be very interesting, communicating with the conservators at the MN Historical Society!

 

Tom, I'll look into the urethane oil when I am near a place likely to have it. It is time to learn about these things!

 

Here is the piece of wood, the piece on the right I think is maple, but regardless, it has the ripples and chatoyance of quilted maple:

 

dfly_2.jpg

 

I will be adding the piece of wood to the first piece, with dragonfly and reeds. Hope it works. The piece on the left is pacific madrone, chosen because it was the right size for the light woods that I have on hand. It seems to be a lovely carving wood so far.

 

More as time goes by.

 

Janel

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Janel, i use Formby's tung oil , 8 ounce bottle that seems to last forever. availible at the hardware store here in town, 2 blocks from the house. come to town and we could get a cup of coffee or whatever ,just give me a call.

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Janel, have you thought about using urushi? Japanese lacquer.

There's a process called fuki-urushi, usually translated as rubbed lacquer, which is far simpler and perhaps a lot easier than typical lacquer applications requiring many layers and many months of repeated drying and polishing- not to mention the construction of a humidified cabinet for the lacquer to polymerize, a dust free room, etc...

 

in Fuki-urushi, used for furniture, bowls, trays, and boxes, the lacquer is wiped on and immediately wiped off. just three coats can be used where the concentration of lacquer to turpentine gets greater each coat. At the end, it can be polished with some oil and polishing powder. I've not tried it yet, but I think it might be the sort of clear coat you want.

 

I found a lead in Japan which will sell the kind of clear lacquer needed, if you want to pursue this route.

 

Perhaps someone else on the list might have used urushi before. There are some health warnings- it can cause skin irritation like poison ivy if not treated with respect.

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Yikes! No, I had not thought about that. I think that I will meet that technique in the future, but for now, the simpler solutions are the better ones. I have a time issue for the next two months.

 

I would like to learn more about it. The Japanese works are so amazing.

 

Kathleen, just the conservators wax? Nothing else?

 

Is this something that I could order on line? I've no clue as to where to go in the cities for it.

 

Janel

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A big thanks to you Kathleen for this information! I'll google Renaissance and Conservator's wax to see where it might be ordered from in the US. I am curious about this material.

 

Do you have any guidance for its application? I know it has been talked about before, but that, I believe, was for mammoth tusk, ivory and antler sorts of materials.

 

Janel

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a stenciling brush (like the sort people use for doing borders on their kitchen walls) also works well for driving the wax into nooks and crannies. Ren. wax needs to be applied very thinly- too much can build up in crevices and look white.

 

University Products 1-800-628-1912 sells it for $25.50 for 220ml

Talas www.talasonline.com sells it for $18.45.

 

these are both conservation suppliers.

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I placed an order this weekend with someone from Florida who states that he is the distrubutor for the US. Found his info on line: http://www.restorationproduct.com

 

The wax: 200ml (7fl. oz.): $20.00 per can. He has a list of other products that are interesting to read about and consider their usefulness...

 

Thanks, Doug, for the contact information. I am looking forward to sampling this material. I also purchased Pre-Lim which is mildly abrasive creamy paste designed for non-scratch cleaning, stain removal and freshening of many surfaces, especially metals and enamels....

 

I have a selection of sizes of the stenciling brushes in the carving studio. I don't stencil paint, but thought that they might be handy at the bench. Now they will be!

 

Janel

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I sure could use some advice in this department. I use a lot of Maple and Pear for my dolls and hate it that oil based products change the color in the darker and yellower direction. For a long time I used and loved the Renaissance Wax - it's beautiful to the eye and touch in just minutes....

 

HOWEVER - you knew this was coming, right? - I had an unfortunate lesson the other night. Was putting the finishing touches on a little fella who had already been waxed and with one slip of the hand, he went head first into the mug of beer I had by my side. Fished him out and dried him off - thought all was well... Two days later he had developed a powdery white bloom all over....gads...it's going to require a complete sand down...

 

Anyway, went out and bought some Poppy Oil today - does anyone have experience with this as a wood finish? I could find next to nothing on the net regarding using it for this purpose. But I remember from my days of oil painting that it is a drying oil and it is often used as a paint additive when linseed oil is too yellow. I'm not going to mind that it takes longer to dry if it provides a non yellow more water proof finish.

 

Live and learn.

 

Cheers :)

 

Christine

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The Renaissance Wax arrived yesterday, but I have not tried it on anything other than the kitchen chair. My reservations are more along the lines of your experience with the "swimmer" and subsequent problem with the wax. Perhaps with many layers the wax will become impervious to moisture, thus blocking penetration into the wood.

 

Poppy Seed Oil: From Doug Sanders, March 30, 2005:

 

"This isn't quite my area of materials knowledge as a paper conservator, but one way oils can be classified is 'drying' and 'non-drying'. For our purposes of oiling wood to improve surface characteristics and as a finish/protectant, we utilize drying oils. This category will dry through oxidation to produce a hard film. If I remember grad school lessons, drying oils include poppy seed, walnut, almond. Through boiling, the chemical structure of linseed oil changes, allowing it to dry.

 

Vegetable oil such as canola, peanut, olive, rapeseed won't dry and like Janel said go rancid.

 

Don't know anything about Danish oil, Tung oil, etc.

 

Camellia seed oil is used in Japan for blades. I would imagine that this is a non-drying oil (a drying oil would get sticky/gluey over time and not be nice on a blade and tough to remove), but the blade smiths on this group could comment further."

 

I was at a woodworking store earlier in the week and checked on some options. I came home with Tung oil and an oil-urethane. I will do some experimenting and perhaps ad a show and tell to this thread.

 

My interest, like Christine's, is to find something that does not darken the wood this time, though I like the darkening or enrichment of the wood color with some of the oil options.

 

I looked but did not find Poppy Seed Oil on that trip. Let us know what happens with it when you use it, please.

 

Lots to learn!

 

Janel

 

PS The Pacific Madrone element is getting delicate to work with now, cross your fingers for me! :)

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never tried poppy oil as a finish...go for it... I'd be interested to know how it compared to boiled linseed oil- in terms of viscosity, color, drying time and so on.

 

 

as an aside- I'm on another list and someone used beer for mixing watercolor paints. She's having problems now, once it has dried. I guess we should all stay away from beer when working. Wine's a better choice- I'm sure Clive can recommend a vintage or two :)

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Hi Doug and Janel,

 

The poppy oil finish seems like it's working fine. It does dry a tad slower than linseed oil if you are applying more than one coat (on raw wood it dries to the touch in a few hours) and it does darken the wood. No yellowing, though....

 

I tried mixing it with the Renaissance Wax and that darkened the wood even less and still dried to a nice satin finish.

 

So far, so good :)

 

Christine

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