Finish on Oak

When it comes to finish, my ignorance will show through every time. I read about all these neat finishes but it generally involves mixing and things I'd rather not get into. I recently made one of those curved bandsaw boxes for my sister out of red oak and it turned out very nicely. I don't want to put a coat of stain and poly on, but I also don't want to get into mixing different things together. Is tung oil or Danish oil any good? What can be used for bringing some sheen without using poly. - I'm looking for a decent finsih to show the wood but it doesn't have to be overly durable given the nature of the piece. Really looking for some advise here.
Don
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hobby.
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That wasn't my point, I meant that I was hoping for something that didn't have that traditional "plastic" look. It would definately be easiest, just not the end result I really want.
Don

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shellac.
lacquer.
dave
V.E. Dorn wrote:

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Minwax brand "tung oil" finish is not bad. It is a oil varnish blend. Tony D.

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wrote:

Shellac, Tung Oil, Danish Oil, varnish, and lacquers all look good on red oak, depending on the look you're after.
Check out Flexner's book for everything you ever wanted to know about finishing:
<(Amazon.com product link shortened)74375076//ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl14/103-5997910-6893431?v=glance&s=books&nP7846>
Many libraries have this book as well.
One more point, favorite finishes come about by trial an error. Spend some money on some small amounts of different finishes, play on prepared scrap, and develop your own favorites! <G> Try some tung oil, lacquer, shellac, etc...
Barry
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wrote:

Isn't that the _fun_ ? 8-)

It's oak. Damn near anything looks good on oak. I'm no big fan of Danish oils (oil & varnish mixes), but I do like either shellac or oil finishes.
I hate poly, and I really hate poly on small boxes. Always difficult to find a way to support it when drying, without leaving some mark somewhere.
I'd oil it, then maybe wax over that.
Use a commercial finishing oil, which is tung + thinners + driers. It's easier and quicker to work with. Apply it thin, on kitchen paper towel, and buff gently after 20 minutes. Repeat a few times, with a few hours between.
Then ignore it somewhere warm for a few days.
Then wax. Use a furniture finishing wax (Liberon's black bison), not a cleaning / polishing wax. Apply it with a brush. Use something like a shoe polish brush, short stiff bristles, or a cheap craft-shop stencilling brush for small stuff.
Oak has surface pores, which you can either fill or not fill. Unfilled looks good with oak, shellac generally looks better if you fill them. Fill them completely before finishing, as you can spend years trying to fill them later. -- There's more than one way to skin a cat...
...but I still prefer the electric belt sander.
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Very detailed replies - thank you, it definately gives me more options.
Don

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Paste wax designed for wood. Easy to apply, the piece can be used right away after and it's impossible to screw up the finish. You can get dark or light coloured wax. I use it frequently for smaller products. I use a variation of the wax that Lee Valley Tools sells.
http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.asp?SID=&ccurrency=1&page 091&category=1,190,42950

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There's always paste wax. Furniture wax.
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Several coats of Watco natural Danish oil applied as directed followed by about 3 coats of a good paste wax.
It doesn't get any less complicated then that.
Good luck.
--
Mike G.
snipped-for-privacy@heirloom-woods.net
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I have worked for the USAF for over 30 years, and make a lot of flag boxes and shadow boxes for people changing station and retiring. I work almost exclusively in red oak and walnut. My favorite finish for red oak is a wood filler from Woodcraft. The brand is Behlen. It is oil based and I use the "natural" color. It is very thick and needs a lot of mixing before each use. Wipe it on, and as it starts to get hazy, wipe it off. It fills the wood grain very well and leaves a nice golden oak tone. Buff with 0000 steel wool and wipe on a coat of Minwax wipe on three coats of satin poly, with another steel wool polish between coats. Final step is to use my random orbit sander and some auto polish to buff the surface. Woodcraft carries some hook and loop foam pads that have a very short "bristle" that gives a nice sheen and leveling to the wood. It takes very little time to achieve a surface that feels like wood, and looks like you spent many hours working on the surface. Drying time takes three to five days for any particular piece, but only about 15 min per session. It is important to let the filler dry for 24 hours before first coat of poly.
Another method, if you are not interested in the golden oak look is to sand to 220 grit, apply a coat of sanding sealer and give a final sanding to 220 or 320 again. This replaces the wood filler step above. It gives a very smooth surface with no coloring effect. I do not like the look as well because it is very white or light, but the feel is the same.
Hope this has been of some help. Highly recommend you take some scrap and try different finishes if you have not used them before. It will take some time, but will be well spent unless you want to try something on your project only to find you don't like and have to sand a lot and start over.
Bill
V.E. Don wrote:

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Thanks, that sounds like it's definately worth trying - off to Menards.
Don

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