BLO & Cherry

I have just finished construction on my first real piece of "fine" furniture. It is a small chest of drawers made of solid cherry.
Now begins the part of woodworking that I really do not enjoy: finishing.
My choices are: Shellac: This is what I have the most experience with and do not find to be extremely problematic.
Lacquer: I have done a little work with this medium and would apply several coats over two coats of Sealcoat.
Polyurethane: I have done a lot with Poly (brushed) and have had mixed results . It is my least favorite finish to work with.
BLO: I have used boiled linseed oil on a couple of projects, but never on something that would end up I the living room. Actually, I have never used it on finely sanded wood. I know that the medium is rubbed on and that a number of coats are require for a decent build up. But when all is said and done, what kind of finfish does BLO provide? What is the proper prep for BLO? Does it buff out to a nice sheen? How long does it take for the smell to go away? How durable is it?
Of course, I could always paint it pink.
Thanks for any serious advice. __________________ Bill Waller New Eagle, PA
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I'm with you there!

STOP! Why go any further? You've just given two excellent reasons for using shellac, IMHO. Add to those that you can control color very well through choices of shellac and use of transtint dyes, the finish is repairable, it's quick, and if you want a film finish, nothing rubs out to any nicer looking finish. I love shellac, and in your situation would need a pretty compelling reason to consider other choices. Examples might be need for better wear resistance, resistance to liquid spills, or if I wanted a close-to-the-wood look.

My experience here is limited to one project with Deft. Great result, but hate the fumes.

I'm with you there. Have pretty much sworn it off.

I've never used it to the point of getting build-up. I think it is a very attractive finish for cherry, and I like the natural look. But for a chest of drawers, I would prefer a film finish--just my preference.

I cannot smell the desk accessory I made a year ago. But I would never put it anywhere that does not get good air circulation (like inside a chest), because the time for the smell to go away may be measured in generations of your descendants.

One you left out is non-urethane varnishes, either alkyd or phenolic. That might be a good choice for the chest, but NOT FOR YOU, since I would never recommend learning a new finish on a serious project like this. Another reason for liking shellac.
If I were doing this, I would probably use shellac on the whole piece to do any subtle tinting I wanted, then finish with blond shellac on the body and phenolic resin varnish (Waterlox high-gloss is the one I am familiar with) on the top for durability. And being basically a shellac man, I would be in agony waiting the 3-4 weeks for it to fully cure before rubout.
--
Alex -- Replace "nospam" with "mail" to reply by email. Checked infrequently.

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Or encourage it to darken by applying a 50/50 coat of thinned BLO, followed by a full-strength rubbed coat, then a wipe-on varnish featuring your favorite resin. You could even build a surface finish farther if you care to, but the coat of varnish should provide good basic water rejection help, where the oil would still be vulnerable to water damage.
Smell's gone when the vehicle has evaporated. Open to the air, week or so.
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Bill Waller wrote: > I have just finished construction on my first real piece of "fine" furniture. > It is a small chest of drawers made of solid cherry. > > Now begins the part of woodworking that I really do not enjoy: finishing. > > My choices are: > Shellac: > Lacquer: > Polyurethane: > BLO: > But when all is said and done, what kind of finfish does BLO provide? > What is the proper prep for BLO? > Does it buff out to a nice sheen? > How long does it take for the smell to go away? > How durable is it?
Don't have a clue how BLO will make cherry look; however, I used it along with bees wax after the BLO on some white oak pieces and am quite happy with the results.
Instructions are on the can. Cut with turps and wipe on with a rag. From memory, 3-4 coats.
As far as the beeswax was concerned, mixed my own concoction.
2 parts bees wax, 2 parts turps, 1 part BLO all melted together in a 1 lb coffee can setting in a pan of water on the stove.
Trick is to create a soft gooey wax which can be wiped on and buffed out, once it has cooled.
Would I use the above on a bar or other potentially wet location? NO.
A fine furniture location? Absolutely.
YMMV
Lew
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Minimal protecttion, but a satin finish that makes the suface look like *wood*

sanding
Nice is subjective.... a relatively low-gloss finish.

Weeks
Does not offer much resistamce to water chemicals or abraision
Some folks think it pop's the grain when used prior to a film finish (shellac/varnish). IME a washcoat of shellac works as well.
Some folks suggest flooding the surface on the first coat. IMO this is a huge mistake with cherry. Flooding the first coat of anything (BLO, tung, shellac, poly) will exacerbate Cherry's tendency to blotch. I always put on the first coat thinned, but more importantly, light.
Cheers,
Steve
--
Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com


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I like BLO on cherry. It doesn't build up; it is not a film finish. I know people talk about putting 5 or 6 application on, but that defeats the purpose of BLO. Once it can't soak in anymore, you are done; one or two coats. The odor is pretty much gone once it is dry. (unless you put 5 or 6 coats on...)
It does very little for durability. On tabletops I will put several coats of wipeon varnish over it.
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There are ways of making it a very good finish. Rubbing it out with steel wook pumice, rottenstone, and then wax, it is very nice. I recently did a chest that way and the results were the best ever.

I've not done much in the way of rubbing it out. The sheen that I've had is a bit on the duller side, but it does bring out the richness of the wood. Varnish oil seems to give a better build after three or four coats. My experince with BLO is limited so others may be of more help.
The smell is gone in a few day to a week.
It is durable in that it will last a long time, but not offer a lot of protection from water or abrasion.

That would be my choice.
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Bill Waller wrote:

Hell, that's the *fun* part.... ____________

So use it. _______________

I like lacquer. Don't use Sealcoat though; in fact, I don't even know what it is except relative to asphalt. ________________

No reason for results to be mixed. ________________

No reason to "build it up", it isn't a surface finish. That is especially true on a close, small pored wood like cherry. _________________

A very easy one that is attractive. __________________

Sand, apply oil, wipe off when wood absorbs no more, let dry 48 hours. Repeat once in case wood still absorbs more but be sure to wipe off ALL excess. Applying with 0000 steel wool works well. ___________________

IF the wood was well sanded, you removed all excess oil and smoothed the wood during or after application and you then wax it when the oil is dry, then you can buff it out to a nice sheen. Not high gloss like a piano, more of a glow but shiny enough so that it will reflect objects. __________________

However long it takes to completely "set". During the interim it smells better if you have added a bit of oil of wintergreen to it. _________________

Against what? Being beat on? Water? Alcohol? Acetone or nail polish remover? Doesn't matter, it isn't very resistent to any of those. In fact, *any* finish can be damaged by one or more of those things.
OTOH, this is a "small chest of drawers"...how durable does it need to be?
What you really need to decide is if you want a smooth, slick surface finish in whatever gloss or a "close to the wood" finish.
--

dadiOH
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dadiOH wrote:
...that you can add oil base varnish to oil (linseed/tung/etc.) if you want a slightly harder finish. In fact, that's what many commercial "oil" or "wiping varnish" finishes are. They are no longer really oil, more of a very soft, flexible, thin varnish. They too are not meant to build up and provide a surface finish but will dry harder than plain oil; consequently, rubbing out and waxing will add more shine to them than to plain oil.
--

dadiOH
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I use a mix of 33% Tung, 33% spar varnish and 34% turps on cherry with good results. Wipe on.
scott
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You've received some great ideas for finishes to try. But I'll make one VERY STRONG recommendation: Don't treat a project that you are proud of as a test piece for finishing. If you want to try out some of these other finishes (and I think I will), do it on shop furniture, or other items what you will not be upset about if they don't turn out. Use what you know on a major project.
--
Alex -- Replace "nospam" with "mail" to reply by email. Checked infrequently.

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alexy wrote:

Right on.
It's not like there's ever ZERO scrap. <G>
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Well, sometimes the project turns out that way unintentionally. <g>
I did nightstands of cherry and maple in shellac and wax, and they look pretty good three years later.
I did a cherry Shaker clock in Tried & True Original 5 years ago. Looks good, if a bit dull. Needs another coat of wax, likely.
For the blanket chest/living room table, that the grandkids hammer on, made of red oak, I used Waterlox Original - 4-6 coats. That stands up pretty well to abuse that you may encounter. And it looks pretty good on cherry as well.
I used a wiping varnish in the master bath on the cherry/maple cabinetry. Two or three coats of 1 lb shellac, then three or four wiped on coats of McCloskey's Spar Varnish, gloss, cut 25% with VMP naptha. Dead simple, low to medium gloss, and pretty durable so far, these three years.
Alexy and Barry are right. Put this aside, and build seven or eight other projects to test finishes on.
You can get by with two or three handplanes, but twenty or so is what it takes for some folks to have a little fun. Same thing for the finishes shelf. Just don't buy any more Minwax. ;-)
Patriarch, experimenter at large...
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Hi Bill,
Bill Waller wrote:

This is just my opinion, but.....I really like the effect of tung oil on cherry, allowed to dry completely followed by shellac. I have used this combination several times and I really like the results. I use super blond shellac flakes and a number of layers with a light cut. In fact, I just tung oiled a cabinet made of yellow birch and it really makes the wood turn from ordinary to nice. I've been using pure tung oil, which is really viscous, but you can also get tung oil diluted with mineral spirits. Drying time will vary.....where I live in central Texas, normally this time of year is dry and hot.....not now but perhaps later this summer, a three week drying would suffice.

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First I want to thank everyone who responded to my original query.
The piece is finished and sitting proudly in the living room. I have posted pictures of it on a.b.p.w.
After much consideration and testing the various finish options on scrap (oh yeah I had scrap). I decided, with a little help from SWMBO, to go with shellac.
The cherry was free. It came from a salvage job. I did have to plane it down to the proper thicknesses.
Again, thanks for the input. :-)

__________________ Bill Waller New Eagle, PA
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Bill Waller wrote:
| The piece is finished and sitting proudly in the living room. I | have posted pictures of it on a.b.p.w.
I saw 'em - good looking piece! Very glad you didn't go with the pink latex :-)
-- Morris Dovey DeSoto Solar DeSoto, Iowa USA http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto /
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Me too! :-) __________________ Bill Waller New Eagle, PA
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