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Popping the grain (Read 1,523 times)
 
Ron Sardo
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Popping the grain
Oct 28th, 2007 at 5:04pm
 
We all love the way curly maple looks, for that matter we love any wood with a curl. When finishing a project, we all want that grain to pop and it thrills us all when we hear others say wow, look at that wood!

Here is my technique on how I pop the grain. There are other ways, I tried some and a few also work well. But this is what works best for me. I would suggest that you still study different methods, there is always something new to learn.

We need to understand the structure of curly wood to know why the grain pops. When you look at a curl, you see light and dark areas which are really hard and soft areas in the wood. Oil finishes soak into soft areas quicker and deeper. Oil barely penetrates into the hard areas. As the oil penetrates into the wood, it also darkens the wood. We can use this characteristic to our advantage.

Another thing to take into consideration is how you sand. If you sand to high a grit, you are closing the pores and the oil will to penetrate less deep into the wood. This is something we dont want to happen. I usually sand to 320, which is considered a sacrilege to some turners, but when I only sand this far, I am very careful to have zero flaws, because any problems in sanding will also pop, just like the grain and will look horrible.

I use Waterlox as my preferred finish, but any type of Danish oil will work just as well, in some cases maybe better.  I apply a liberal amount of finish to the wood then wait about a minute and wipe it all off. Remember that the oil will soak into the soft areas quickly and just sit on top on the hard areas.

I let it dry overnight and sand again with 320. What Im trying accomplish is this, sand the finish off on the hard areas and leave the finish on the soft areas. Sanding will lighten the wood in the hard areas because we are removing the finish.

Ill do this a few times until I get the effect Im looking for. Each time Im sanding with a higher grit and try to finish up with 800 grit. Finally, I apply a good coat of Waterlox over the complete form and leave it on, I do not wipe it off. I like Waterlox for this because it will flow nicely and achieve a nice gloss. In a couple of days Ill sand with 1000 and if needed Ill apply another coat. When Im satisfied with the finished, the last step is to buff it out.



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« Last Edit: Oct 29th, 2007 at 10:08am by Ron Sardo »  

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Tony Wheeler
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Re: Poping the grain
Reply #1 - Oct 29th, 2007 at 2:16am
 
how do you make danish oil and if you was to thin BLO to make it penarate more what is best to thin with
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Re: Poping the grain
Reply #2 - Oct 29th, 2007 at 9:19am
 
Tony Wheeler wrote on Oct 29th, 2007 at 2:16am:
how do you make danish oil and if you was to thin BLO to make it penarate more what is best to thin with

My recipe is 1:1 gloss polyurethane:BLO, then thin with Mineral Spirts to taste.  I used to go 1:1:1, but found it too thin.

AFAIK mineral spirits is the correct thing for thinning BLO.

-Joe

P.S.  Ron, I got a good laugh out of your thread title's typo.  I was wondering just how one Popes grain.  Do you put a pointy hat on it? Smiley
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Re: Poping the grain
Reply #3 - Oct 29th, 2007 at 9:50am
 
I mix equal parts of poly,boiled linseed oil and mineral spirits.The only differance in sanding is I stop at about 180 then just slop it on and let it set for a day or two,then wet sand it (with the oil) down to the finished grit then leave it set for about a week or so,then buff with oooo steel wool,then do the beal buff step.I used this procedure on my flat work and now on turnings.
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Ron Sardo
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Re: Poping the grain
Reply #4 - Oct 29th, 2007 at 10:08am
 
Nostalgia wrote on Oct 29th, 2007 at 9:19am:
P.S.  Ron, I got a good laugh out of your thread title's typo.  I was wondering just how one Popes grain.  Do you put a pointy hat on it? Smiley

I have an odd sense of humor, there are one or two "other jokes" in there.
But that was a typo in the title.

Tony Wheeler wrote on Oct 29th, 2007 at 2:16am:
how do you make danish oil and if you was to thin BLO to make it penarate more what is best to thin with


Standard mix is 1/3 BLO - 1/3 Oil - 1/3 Mineral Spirits to make Danish OIl.

It is not necessary to thin DO.

I had this "discussion" with a chemist that specializes in wood finishes. I thought, as you, that by thinning a finish the finish will go deeper into the wood. But that doesn't happen.

This is what he explained to me:
Oil molecules are large and will only move so far into the wood. Mineral Spirit molecules are smaller and will move deeper in the wood. When you thin a finish the oil still penetrates to the same depth as when the oil isn't thinned. What does penetrate deeper is the MS and that evaporates out.

What you have is MS molecules taking up allot of space and there is less room for DO molecules. So when you apply a thinned finish you are actually getting less finish into the wood. You will need more coats of finish to equal what is normally used.




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« Last Edit: Oct 29th, 2007 at 10:10am by Ron Sardo »  

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Re: Popping the grain
Reply #5 - Oct 29th, 2007 at 5:32pm
 
thanks fo the info gus but one more question Ron what is the oil in your receipe  nostalia use one part poly and you has oil and BLO whats the oil or is that short for poly>
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Ron Sardo
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Re: Popping the grain
Reply #6 - Oct 29th, 2007 at 5:51pm
 
I typically use a varnish, but tung oil will work just as good.

BTW - Poly is a varnish that is a bit harder
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Re: Popping the grain
Reply #7 - Oct 30th, 2007 at 2:09pm
 
thanks again
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