Any normal finish. A commercial finishing oil (try Liberon's) is toxic
in the can (mainly because of the white spirit) but it's perfectly OK
once cured. Wipe a thin coat on with a piece of kitchen roll, then
repeat at hourly intervals until it looks right (half a dozen coats).
In this weather, the rag might self-heat and spontaneously combust as
the oil cures. Either burn it, or dunk it in water.
What's "bonded" pine ?
If you're obsessive about sealing against tastes, use shellac instead.
Get it right before you phone up - pick the right people to talk to.
A copy of "Furniture and Cabinetmaking" mag, and a look in the
adverts, can be a good start.
I buy a fair bit from these people (near Wells)
They have a decent website, so it'll give you an idea of reasonable
Best thing is usually "I'm making a <foobar>. What have you got ?"
English hardwoods come from small numbers of small mis-shapen trees.
If you want a truckload of big matching boards, then you're buying it
from the wrong continent. Half the fun of local hardwoods is seeing a
nice piece of timber and being inspired by it as to what you could use
A good timberyard will have some idea of what they have in, and what
it's good for. You don't need premium timber on every job, and
premium oftens means the same appearance as cheap stuff, just extended
to a full board. Buy what you need, don't just grab the best board in
the yard every time.
Usually buying timber is pretty easy, but negotiating any machining is
much harder. Basically, don't ask them to saw something for you
unless you're sure what to ask for, and you're sure they can do it.
My local high-profile timber merchant (Robbins in Bristol) is infamous
for its somewhat inflated view of its timber (imported everything,
lack of interest in any customer other than the big ones and high
pricetags), and its complete incompetence at doing any resaw work.
Most hardwood though is delivered as flat boards with rough edges, and
you take it from there. Having it planed (2 sides) is usual, if you
don't have your own thicknesser, but putting straight edges onto it
uses the same machinery you're going to need to make the piece anyway.
I've not seen a timberyard that price-gouged the amateur woodworker
for admitting they didn't know exactly what to ask for. Some will
claim not to be able to help on a small job, or to make you wait a
month for machine time to be free (this is rubbish - it just means
they don't want you). Some will even talk to you for an hour about the
best season for machining, and ask if you want to become an indentured
apprentice. A good yard (if they're really not too busy) is one that
knows how to translate "I want a tabletop" into "You really ought to
pay more and buy quartersawn timber, because it will be more stable"
This isn't just price-gouging, and a decent yard will explain why - or
else they might tell you to buy some larch instead, at half the price!
Wastage is enormous. It just is - get used to it. Any serious
woodworker needs a woodstove too !
Pure tung oil can be a bit of a nuisance to work with though. It
doesn't soak in well on a first coat and it's very sensitive to an
over-generous application ending up with a sticky surface.
The good commercial finishing oils are just tung + white spirit
solvent + driers. These give the same result, but they're much easier
to handle. The solvent gets it into the wood more easily and the
driers help it cure.
I use tung oil, but I often thin it first and I never use it raw as a
first coat. I use about five times as much commercially blended oil
though, compared to the raw oils.
Driers are metal salts (often manganese). They used to be lead-based,
but these are now very rare. Check the can - almost all retail oils
are now food and toy-safe when cured. It's hard to get lead driers
now, even though a mixture of lead and manganese still has some uses
for outdoor work or gunstocking. Driers are also only a fraction of a
percent lead content, unlike lead paint that might be 30% - even the
old drier formulations were nothing like the hazard from paint.
If you already have tung, just thin it with some white spirit (maybe
1/3rd - 1/2th for a first coat). In this heat it'll cure easily, but
it'll appreciate some help in penetrating dry timber.
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