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Types of finishes, sealers, polishes, ! (Read 629 times)
Pat White
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Types of finishes, sealers, polishes, !
Oct 10th, 2016 at 12:43pm
 
Watching a lot of videos that show people finish up a bowl by sanding and then applying some type of finishing compound like ultrashine. At the same time I read all this stuff about shellac, poly, laquer, etc and wonder when it's appropriate to use each of them.

Full disclosure, I turned my first ever piece of wood 2 days ago. It was a mini baseball bat turned from a limb of maple from my own wood pile. It looked pretty neat, had some spalting in it and I practiced sanding with multiple grits of sandpaper down to 600 I believe. I dry sanded it but I've since read it's better to wet sand it. Anyway, Ive not had the chance to purchase all of my wood turning accessories so when it came to try finishing it I did not have the proper wax/finish. So I started looking around. I had a lot of automotive finishes from muigure and mothers. I also had a tub of polishing compound from turtle wax. So I said what the heck I'll try it. I was amazed at how well it worked. It left a very shiny smooth finish on the bat. Everyone that I shoes it to commented on how smooth the finish was. So yes it was quite ghetto but it kind of worked.

If I were to do it properly what would've been the best way to finish off that mini bat?
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« Last Edit: Oct 10th, 2016 at 12:44pm by Pat White »  
 
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Al Wasser
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Re: Types of finishes, sealers, polishes, !
Reply #1 - Oct 10th, 2016 at 1:28pm
 
You and only you can determine the best finish for what you do.  There is no perfect finish, at least in my opinion.  Yo need to decide how the item will be used. You also need to decide what finish you have on hand and what you are comfortable using.  Over time you will acquire many finishes. Wax by it sel is a poor finish and will not last long. Walnut oil is good for items that will be used frequently such as rolling pins, some bowls, etc. If you want a shiny finish then start with either lacquer or perhaps danish oil.   Books are written on finishing. Others will no doubt tell you more.
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Louie Powell
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Re: Types of finishes, sealers, polishes, !
Reply #2 - Oct 10th, 2016 at 1:29pm
 
The art of finishing - - - life's great mysteries.

Here's a shot at summarizing the choices. Others please add your thoughts.

Penetrating finishes - finishes that penetrate the surface of the wood and enhance grain patterns. Typically leave a matte finish.
  • BLO, amber color darkens with age
  • Pure tung oil - slight amber color
  • Walnut oil - colorless
  • Mineral oil - colorless, usually used on items that must be 'food safe', does not actually cure and must be renewed.

Film finishes - finishes that form a protective film on the surface of the wood, but that don't necessarily penetrate deeply into the wood. Typically leave a glossy finish but may be modified to be matte.
  • Shellac - a universal finish, foodsafe, good for decorative pieces but does not withstand frequent handling, moderate water resistance, can be damaged by alcohol
  • Varnish - a universal finish, protects against water and handling, resists alcohol, may yellow (although may also contain UV inhibitors)
  • Long-oil varnish (aka Danish oil, antique oil, teak oil, etc) - combination of varnish, an oil, and a solvent. Combines features of oil and varnish
  • Poly (solvent) - a varnish that produces a tough, water-resistant plastic skin. Tends to yellow with age. Cleanup with a solvent (eg, mineral spirits)
  • Poly (water) - a faster-drying varnish that produces a tough, water-resistant plastic skin. Tends to be so colorless that it appears bluish. Cleanup with water.
  • Lacquer - a fast-drying finish that produces a very tough, water-resistant skin. Tends to be neutral in color. Usually applied by spraying but can be brushed. Some consider lacquer to be difficult to apply
  • Friction polish - a combination of an oil (BLO, tung oil or walnut oil), a finish (shellac or lacquer), and the appropriate solvent. May also contain a wax component. Applied on the lathe with the piece spinning at high speed; friction from rubbing causes heat that causes the finish to cure rapidly. Repeat coats can be applied quickly. Less suitable for larger items because of the difficulty in achieving a uniform application.

Things like EEE Ultrashine, Dr Kirk's, or Yorkshire Grit aren't finishes, but rather are abrasive compounds that polish the surface while leaving some wax. And wax itself isn't a standalone finish, but rather a surface treatment that leaves the wood looking nice, but will have to be renewed.

And to make things interesting/complicated, each of these components can be combined with other components to create additional finishing products.
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Louie
 
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Eric Armstrong
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Re: Types of finishes, sealers, polishes, !
Reply #3 - Oct 10th, 2016 at 7:19pm
 
Good information! I make mostly small items and finish with sealer (dewaxed shellac), after which I fine sand and polish with a brown Scotchbrite pad. Final finish is friction polish. I like it because I can control the gloss and it doesn't look as much like a built up, applied finish.
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« Last Edit: Oct 10th, 2016 at 7:20pm by Eric Armstrong »  
 
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Steve Kniffen
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Re: Types of finishes, sealers, polishes, !
Reply #4 - Oct 10th, 2016 at 9:53pm
 
Pat,

It's usually not a good idea to wet stand dry wood.  It will absorb the oil, water, or sanding compound you use for sanding and can ruin your finish.  Wet sanding is ok for acrylics, but most don't use it on wood.

Steve
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Pat White
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Re: Types of finishes, sealers, polishes, !
Reply #5 - Oct 11th, 2016 at 6:19pm
 
Lots of good information here!  I really appreciate it
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Mike Nathal
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Re: Types of finishes, sealers, polishes, !
Reply #6 - Oct 14th, 2016 at 7:48am
 
I frequently wet sand with walnut oil.    Yes, the oil is absorbed into the wood.  Walnut oil by itself produces a matte finish.  After the walnut oil has cured, Beall buffing produces a velvety smooth semi-gloss finish.  You can put a varnish or oil base poly on top of the wet sanded surface to produce a high gloss sheen.  I also buff the poly after it is cured.
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Steve Arnold
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Re: Types of finishes, sealers, polishes, !
Reply #7 - Oct 14th, 2016 at 10:12am
 
Louie Powell wrote on Oct 10th, 2016 at 1:29pm:
The art of finishing - - - life's great mysteries.

Here's a shot at summarizing the choices. Others please add your thoughts.

Penetrating finishes - finishes that penetrate the surface of the wood and enhance grain patterns. Typically leave a matte finish.
  • BLO, amber color darkens with age
  • Pure tung oil - slight amber color
  • Walnut oil - colorless
  • Mineral oil - colorless, usually used on items that must be 'food safe', does not actually cure and must be renewed.

Film finishes - finishes that form a protective film on the surface of the wood, but that don't necessarily penetrate deeply into the wood. Typically leave a glossy finish but may be modified to be matte.
  • Shellac - a universal finish, foodsafe, good for decorative pieces but does not withstand frequent handling, moderate water resistance, can be damaged by alcohol
  • Varnish - a universal finish, protects against water and handling, resists alcohol, may yellow (although may also contain UV inhibitors)
  • Long-oil varnish (aka Danish oil, antique oil, teak oil, etc) - combination of varnish, an oil, and a solvent. Combines features of oil and varnish
  • Poly (solvent) - a varnish that produces a tough, water-resistant plastic skin. Tends to yellow with age. Cleanup with a solvent (eg, mineral spirits)
  • Poly (water) - a faster-drying varnish that produces a tough, water-resistant plastic skin. Tends to be so colorless that it appears bluish. Cleanup with water.
  • Lacquer - a fast-drying finish that produces a very tough, water-resistant skin. Tends to be neutral in color. Usually applied by spraying but can be brushed. Some consider lacquer to be difficult to apply
  • Friction polish - a combination of an oil (BLO, tung oil or walnut oil), a finish (shellac or lacquer), and the appropriate solvent. May also contain a wax component. Applied on the lathe with the piece spinning at high speed; friction from rubbing causes heat that causes the finish to cure rapidly. Repeat coats can be applied quickly. Less suitable for larger items because of the difficulty in achieving a uniform application.

Things like EEE Ultrashine, Dr Kirk's, or Yorkshire Grit aren't finishes, but rather are abrasive compounds that polish the surface while leaving some wax. And wax itself isn't a standalone finish, but rather a surface treatment that leaves the wood looking nice, but will have to be renewed.

And to make things interesting/complicated, each of these components can be combined with other components to create additional finishing products.

Excellent information for those of us who are newer turners, Louie!

I'm actually going to make a printout of it and keep it with my finishes.Thumbs Up
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« Last Edit: Oct 14th, 2016 at 10:56pm by Steve Arnold »  
 
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Ron Sardo
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Re: Types of finishes, sealers, polishes, !
Reply #8 - Oct 15th, 2016 at 2:12pm
 
Louie Powell wrote on Oct 10th, 2016 at 1:29pm:
Varnish - a universal finish, protects against water and handling, resists alcohol, may yellow (although may also contain UV inhibitors)
Long-oil varnish (aka Danish oil, antique oil, teak oil, etc) - combination of varnish, an oil, and a solvent.  Combines features of oil and varnish
Poly (solvent) - a varnish that produces a tough, water-resistant plastic skin.  Tends to yellow with age.  Cleanup with a solvent (eg, mineral spirits)


Varnish ingredients typically contains boiled linseed oil (BLO), solvents, resins and/or alkyds.

A long varnish has a higher ratio of oil and works well for items that be used outdoors. It is more flexible and softer. This makes a long varnish more capable to withstand the expansion and contraction of wood movement and rain when used outside.  Downside it also scratches easy which ruins the integrity of the finish so it is not good for uses such as table tops.

Spar varnish is a long oil which historically has been and still is used on boats and ships.

Originally Danish Oil (DO) consisted of equal proportions of varnish, BLO and solvent. You are in effect reducing the ratio of resins. Another thing to consider is that today commercially available DO uses soybean oil instead of BLO.

Because of all this DO does not make a good outdoor finish since it cannot handle the environment like standard long varnishes. I wouldn't call DO a long varnish.

Regular varnish and poly have less oil, dry harder, and are harder to scratch which makes them great for table tops. Both will crack and peel if the wood placed outside and is not considered a good outdoor finish.

The alkyds used in Polyurethane finishes are made from fatty acids derived from linseed oil. While some will say that Poly is a plastic finish it really isn't since alkyds are an organic compound and plastic is typically derived from non-organic petroleum.
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Re: Types of finishes, sealers, polishes, !
Reply #9 - Oct 16th, 2016 at 1:39pm
 
I use beeswax to make some of my bowls food safe. Is it possible to make them food safe and still have a shine to them?
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Ron Sardo
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Re: Types of finishes, sealers, polishes, !
Reply #10 - Oct 16th, 2016 at 2:34pm
 
All finishes are food safe once it as cured.

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Ed Weber
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Re: Types of finishes, sealers, polishes, !
Reply #11 - Oct 16th, 2016 at 3:04pm
 
Ron Sardo wrote on Oct 16th, 2016 at 2:34pm:
All finishes are food safe once it as cured.


This is true, once cured you can eat off of any finish.
IMO
There is also (what I call) food service safe. Meaning if you chop or scrape, as with  cutting boards, you are better off using a penetrating or oil type of finish.
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Don Stephan
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Re: Types of finishes, sealers, polishes, !
Reply #12 - Oct 16th, 2016 at 6:05pm
 
Frank

Finishes do not all wear equally well.  So there might be two parts to your question:  first, can finishes have a shine when dry/cured; and second, can the shine persist as a piece is used.

The "amount" of shine or sheen typically is one of matt or flat (no sheen), satin, semi-gloss and gloss.  Of course, what one person considers to be satin can be thought of as semi-gloss by another person.

Most likely you can find explanations for how finishes create shine or sheen on wood, and how rubbing a dried/cured gloss finish with a fine abrasive can lessen the sheen.

The remaining aspect of your question is how well the amount of sheen will persist say on a wooden cereal bowl as it is washed over time with a soft sponge and drop of mild dish soap.  Some dried/cured finishes are harder than others, and so the sheen lessens faster for some finishes than others.
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Re: Types of finishes, sealers, polishes, !
Reply #13 - Oct 16th, 2016 at 6:16pm
 
Thanks for all the great information!!
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