Finishing maple-veneered MDF...

I'm just completing some built-in wardrobes that I've been making for a while now, and thoughts are turning to the application of a finish for them.
The external visible panels, face-frame, doors and shelf-edges are in american black walnut, on which I'm using danish oil and clear wax.
The interior is mostly maple-veneered MDF, and I've tried the oil on scrap offcut, but it darkens it unacceptably (resulting in a colour not dissimilar to pine, which wasn't the contrast and effect that I was after). Clear wax on it's own gives a good colour.
The question is: will the wax alone is sufficient (it's clear Briwax original) finish for the maple interior, or whether there should be an application of shellac or similar first?
cheers Richard
-- Richard Sampson
email me at richard at olifant d-ot co do-t uk
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future. If the wax contains silicone it will penetrate the wood and no penetrating finishes or stains will work in the future. If this is a problem then slap on some sanding sealer first, it might even give you a smoother surface.
I have a pot of antiquing wax I bought when trying to match some wood and didn't use because the colour is too 'muddy' for my taste. However I use it on all jigs etc in the workshop, applied straight on. So far its standing up well, will be easy to replenish with same or other wax and is probably the only way I will finish the tub.
Do remember to buff it between each coat though, this is important to remove uncured wax before you slap on even more.
Peter
--
Peter Ashby
School of Life Sciences, University of Dundee, Scotland
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wrote:

Thanks Peter,
the wax doesn't mention silicones, but that doesn't meant to say that they don't exist within it. Only beeswax and caranuba are mentioned, with warning of containing toluene (is this in turps???).
I won't want to refinish it unless the finish proves completely unsuitable, something I'm hoping won't be the case as most of the finishing will be applied before final assembly & glueing (difficult getting ROSs into corners, and also so that any glue overspills won't affect any finish).
I'm now kind of thinking that a single coat of a shellac sanding sealer may be a good idea though...
I'd not thought of waxing jigs - it might make the circular saw slide a little more easily along the sawmiser jig! Will try that....
thanks Richard
-- Richard Sampson
email me at richard at olifant d-ot co do-t uk
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wrote:

Toluene is the stuff that makes Briwax so nasty, and makes it so popular with cheap furniture restorers / "antique" pine merchants. It's a somewhat nasty solvent (it's no longer in the US formulation) with the advantage of being quite useful. I don't like it in a wax - I'd rather have turpentine, even if this does make it difficult to use with electric polishers.
You're unlikely to find any silicones in a _finishing_ wax, and you'll have to try hard to avoid them in almost all _polishing_ waxes. They're useful in the final layer of a wax (to some views) but they always cause trouble in underlying layers. I won't have silicones in the workshop, because they cause so much trouble with finishes.
I wouldn't seal maple before waxing it. Plain wax on maple is quite a nice finish <http://codesmiths.com/shed/things/maplebox.htm
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for loads of things.

OK, thanks. Mind made up - straight on with the wax then. Going to pick up a polishing mop for the ROS this afternoon.
Nice box there, btw (oo-er). Funny you should mention the difficulties of planing maple - a business acquaintance who happens to be a keen woodworker commented that the production of a shaving from curly maple was probably the ultimate test for well-tunedness of a plane (we were discussing acquisitions from ebay). He may have been setting me an impossible task....
thanks Richard -- Richard Sampson
email me at richard at olifant d-ot co do-t uk
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wrote:

Flat maple or curly ? If it's curly, then you might want to experiment a little with a very light oil to "pop" the figure. Danish oils are much darker than some other oils.

Wax is fine, especially for an interior. If you're using Liberon, note that "clear" is the natural colour (a bit yellowish) whilst they also offer a bleached "neutral" that's much better on maple. I don't know about Briwax.
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