& Finishing Techniques
here for a printer friendly version of Tip
are three types of protective coatings you can put on your
project - an oil finish, a natural finish, or a synthetic
will emphasize the grain and leave a flat, natural appearance.
They darken slightly with age and take on a rich glow. They
save time by priming, sealing, and preserving the wood in
a single application.
are several oil finishes available, each with a different
purpose. Danish oil is the best all-round and can be used
on a wide variety of interior projects. You can apply it over
a stain, but there are also tinted Danish oils that will stain
and finish the wood in one step. You can use it under a natural
or synthetic finish to enhance the grain or tone, but you
need to put a wash coat of one part shellac and one part alcohol
over the hardened oil to keep it from blending with the final
was developed in the Orient in the 14th century to waterproof
ships. It penetrates deep into the wood and forms a lasting
moisture barrier. Some woods, like teak and rosewood, bleed
off a finish and never seem to dry. Teak oil has special drying
agents to solve this problem. It can also be used as a sealer
before applying a natural or synthetic finish to resinous
utensils are commonly coated with vegetable oil, but this
goes rancid and can affect the taste of your food. A good
salad bowl finish is odorless, tasteless, and will not spoil.
Use it on children's toys or whenever a non-toxic finish is
desired. To apply an oil finish, wipe it liberally with a
brush, saturating the surface. After 15 minutes, sand with
6/0 silicon carbide paper, lubricating the paper with more
finishing oil. After a few minutes, remove all surplus oil
with a soft, clean cloth. Allow to dry at least 12 hours.
wipe with on oil dampened rag and buff with a soft cloth.
If you want, a liquid carnauba satin wax can be applied over
oil finishes and rubbed to a soft luster.
finishes, such as shellac, varnish, and lacquer, require a
very good brush. Nylon and horsehair will not do; look for
hog and badger brushes. The bristles of these brushes are
naturally flogged (split), allowing you to load up more finish
at a time and letting the finish flow evenly onto the wood
to use these fine brushes most effectively, they need special
preparation and care. Soak your new brush in solvent for an
hour or so, then wrap it in paper and leave it wrapped for
awhile before using it. When you first dip it into the finish,
spin it rapidly to dislodge loose bristles - all new brushes
have them. Dip to only one third the bristle length, and remove
the excess finish by topping against the side of the can.
Never wipe it on the rim; this loosens the bristles.
use your brushes often, keep them suspended in solvent. To
clean and store them, slosh them in this solvent, press out
and repeat. Wipe the bristles dry; then using a good detergent,
wash the brush; rinse; wrap the bristles in paper and hang
it up, bristles down.
a natural finish, brush with the grain in long, sweeping strokes,
lopping each stroke. The exception to this rule is varnish,
which is brushed on first across the grain, followed immediately
by light strokes with the grain. Don't apply these finishes
in temperatures below 65° or in extreme humidity. Lightly,
wet-sand with 7/0 - 10/0 paper between each coat and wipe
clean. If you want a high gloss finish, rub and polish the
final coat with pumice or rotten-stone, then apply a good
carnauba wax and buff.
finishes, like polyurethane and acrylic, also benefit from
a good brush and are applied in much the some way as natural
finishes. The main advantage in using synthetics is that they
are often more durable and designed to serve a wider range
of special purposes than natural finishes.
synthetic finishes can also be poured onto a wood surface
and left to harden, making your project look as if it were
enclosed in glass. This is an extremely attractive effect,
especially for: table tops, counters, and plagues. Fiberglass
resin finishes work best for this type of application.
mix the resin with the hardener as directed by the manufacturer.
Pour this mixture over your project (one surface at a time),
then tilt it this way and that until the finish is distributed
evenly. Keep the surface level while the resin cures. To remove
bubbles, blow gently across the resin while it is still liquid.
These resins can also be used to adhere and imbed dried flowers,
coins, decals, news clippings - almost anything - on a wooden
surface. The only requirement is that the imbedded object
be completely free of moisture.
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