finishing hardwood: newbie question

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Just finishing my first project with red oak. I love the color and grain, and would like to seal/protect the wood while adding as little color as possible to the wood. I would like it to be protected so that I don't have to refresh the sealant very often if at all.
Thanks,
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What exactly IS the project?
Dave
newman wrote:

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I used Tried and True brand varnish oil on some oak and was very pleased with it. There are other choices that may be more suitable, depending on what the project is being used for.
--
Ed
http://pages.cthome.net/edhome/



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Well, that would mean water based poly. Not that I ever used it; I like the effect of oil on wood.
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As a relative newbie myself, I don't have a specific recommendation for an oak finish without a stain, but I've had good luck with polyurethane gel from Rockler over stains, and over unstained birch ply. It was easy to use, and I found it emphasized the grain of the birch ply without noticably changing the color. (Remember to sand lightly between coats, because oil-based polyurethane can't bind to itself.) I just finished a spice rack of red oak, and I found a light-colored pigment stain emphasized the grain and really brought out more color of the wood, without making it look artificial or anything. Overall finishing recommendation: I have Flexner's finishing book, and I highly recommend it - it is very helpful for understanding what's actually going on with several different kinds of stains and finishes. Good luck with your project!
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Opinions will vary, but mine is to sand with 220 grit sandpaper, wipe on unscented baby oil, rub it in with the grain using 0000 steel wool, wipe off with dry cloth. After that, I could wipe my hand on it, but not appear to pick up any residue.
I was really impressed the first time I tried this. After finishing, I wrote on a small section with a pencil, then used a dry rag to easily wipe the pencil marks off. Every six months if I remember, I lightly wipe on a new coat of baby oil and wipe off with a cloth.
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newman wrote:

I used Minwax Antique Oil -- whatever is in it... :-) and then a few coats of wax on the clock. It dries fast and is really convenient when you have to finish in a hurry. Wipe on -- wait a _few_minutes (5 to 10) the wipe off. Give it an hour or two and re-coat... They recommend waiting 24 hour to re-coat. For wax I use the Johnson paste wax -- for flooring. Buffs up beautifully. You get a small shift to gold/amber but it shows much nicer than the photos. Between coats you can use very fine steel wool (00 to 0000) and before waxing. Because it dries fast you do not have a big issue with dust pickup.
Red Oak Clock http://woodwork.pmccl.com/Business/productsbusiness/productsclocksandlamps.html
Same on the stool: http://woodwork.pmccl.com/Business/productsbusiness/productsfurniture.html
--
Will
Occasional Techno-geek
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Laquer. SH
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Well, whatever you do will change the color. Red Oak which is pinkish to beige when raw will turn more towards yellow/gold with any finish. Just get any part of it wet with water or mineral spirits to see what the finished color will look like.
Depending on your available equipment and what the project will be used for (ie is it a table or a picture frame?) will determine what finish is best.
Any oil finish will darken the color even more than a film finish AND need to be renewed eventually. Read this months Fine Woodworking magazine for a great technical piece on oil finishes (I think that's where I read it).
Lacquer is fast to spray (dries in 20-30 minutes) and can be gloss to satin, your choice. Not as durable as some other finishes (somewhat brittle) but pretty good. Sorta repairable. Nice for furniture, not the best for table tops or high wear/contact areas. Used alot in commercial applications because its fast but won't last as long as some others.
Shellac is a natural finish. Not sheen controlled in the mix, must be managed with steel wool or polishing for satin/gloss respectively after application. Mixed/thinned with alcohol. Dries as fast as Lacquer. Can be sprayed but better brushed or ragged on. Not very impervious to liquids, especially water or alcoholic beverages. Very repairable. Historicially used on some of the finest furniture. Not great for table tops where food/drink may be served.
Polyurathane is slower drying (some newer ones are faster) and available gloss to satin. A little harder to apply well and harder to sand/polish because its so fricken hard. Spray, brush or wiped on (in my opinion wiping is the easiest way to get great results as a hobbiest). Very impervious to liquids. Not really repairable. Good on anything but best when wear is a concern like floors, doors, table tops, furniture in the kitchen.
Varnish is also slower drying and the hardest to apply well. In my experience it is more like paint than any of the other finishes. Best brushed but can be sprayed. Hard as shit and fricken waterproof/sunproof in some forms (ie marine varnish). Never tried to repair but assume as bad as Poly in this department. Good on boats, exterior doors and also used on furniture (send the flames boys).
Hope this helps. Of course all of this is IMHO and YMMV ;^)
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On 2 Jun 2005 09:37:36 -0700, the inscrutable "SonomaProducts.com"

The waterborne finishes won't darken the wood much, nothing like the oil-based finishes will. I prefer the darker look on oak.

Varnish is simple to apply (warmed and/or thinned a bit) but does take a long time to dry. It's my favorite finish of all, and every finish I use nowadays has at least some varnish in it. (Watco, Waterlox, T&T Varnish Oil...Oops, not shellac. Almost every one.)

Varnish is MUCH easier to repair than poly. Sand and re-brush it. Not a prob. It sands easily but does tend to gum up the sandpaper more quickly. Don't sand until it's REALLY dry. Use a stearated paper and clean any residues off prior to brushing again.

YMWV, TYVM.
-- "Not always right, but never uncertain." --Heinlein -=-=- http://www.diversify.com Wondrous Website Design
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This is true Sea-less -- most folks don't let the varnish, or lacquer for that matter, cure long enough prior to anything but between-coats scuff sanding. Off onto a different area of varnishes and lacquer - but to level and buff to a high gloss one ought to wait as long as possible for the finish to fully cure. I go by a rule of waiting at least 30 days and will hold off longer if I can put off the final rubbing out.
If the varnish or lacquer sanding dust collects into little pills and gums the paper instead of merely turning to a white powder then the finish is still too soft to effectively sand.
--
Owen Lowe
The Fly-by-Night Copper Company
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wrote:

More left out than the C with Larry, it seems. Varnish being a term to describe resin in a liquid makes those products containing resins like urethane as much a varnish as those containing alkyd resins, phenolics, copal , etc.
Shellac is even called "spirit varnish" elsewhere in the world.
Confusing.
Two things happen with a finish - solvent evaporates, and finish cures.
For cures, oil takes longest, even with siccatives. Lacquer and shellac take time to develop as esters form, and water-based stuff least of all.
Mostly the directions are written on the can.
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On Fri, 3 Jun 2005 07:09:55 -0400, the inscrutable "George"
KMAH.

I made the distinction between the poly/urethanes and other varnishes if you read my post again, Least.
-- "Not always right, but never uncertain." --Heinlein -=-=- http://www.diversify.com Wondrous Website Design
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George says...

You're a riot, George. Lacquer and shellac are evaporative finishes. Nothing forms as they cure. Varnish and polyurethane polymerize as they cure. Read much?
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Snicker. Going out of your way to look a fool versus looking it up again?
www.metacrawler.com
If you can read, you'll learn a lot about how lacquers and such cure.
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George says...

George, if you had been born a girl, we could call you Miss Information. But all joking aside, you appear to be a clinical psychiatric case. In this instance you are ass wrong, and most of the rest of your posts are arguments over minute technicalities and semantics where your points are dubious at best, and your attitude arrogant and abusive. But as Billy Joel once said, 'you should never argue with a crazy ma-ma-ma-ma-man', so I shan't do so any more. Welcome to the shit list, Georgie. You'll get no more benefit of the doubt from me until your posts are more rational and your attitude more civil. Toodles Napoleon, Jesus, Einstein, or whoever you think you are.
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again?
Now that the children have plugged their ears, stomped their feet and left the room, the curious might look at a fairly comprehensive article at http://www.woodzone.com/articles/wood_finishes.htm or http://www.taunton.com/finewoodworking/pages/w00060.asp
Of course, they've got it all wrong with their definition of "Varnish," and all lacquers are created equal....
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George says...

Yikes, you are bizarre. Neither of those articles say anything about lacquer and shellac forming esters as they cure (quel surprise, eh?), nor do any such articles exist, because it was a false statement. I could be wrong though, maybe you aren't nuts. Maybe you're just a 12 year old here talking out of his ass. I doubt you have ever cut a piece of wood in your life.
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wrote:

This is true enough George - though in current day conversation the term "varnish" usually refers to alkyd resins and "poly" refers to the urethane resins - being that these two resins are the most commonly and widely available. Perhaps I/we shouldn't be so sloppy in our terminology.
--
Owen Lowe
The Fly-by-Night Copper Company
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On Fri, 03 Jun 2005 00:32:26 -0700, the inscrutable Fly-by-Night CC

I may be sea-less but we have a nice river here in GP, Owie. I got to see the little hydroplanes race last weekend. That was fun. I can't believe they're so much louder than the uncorked headers on the V-8s of the sprint and marathon boats. But to see one of those hydros and then think back to when I was standing 100' away from the big muthuhs on Mission Bay (Sandy Eggo) makes me laugh. Miss Budweiser was about 5n times larger and sported a jet turbine engine putting out about 150 times as much power and moving over twice as fast; 75mph vs. Miss Bud's near-200mph. They deserved their name, the Thunderboats. An oldie: http://www.thunderboats.org/80bud.shtml http://www.thunderboats.org/2004/tricities/slides/2004_tri_cities_009.html
Oh, to stay on topic, these probably have an epoxy resin finish rather than varnish or lacquer.

Yabbut, who ever heard of waiting more than 20 minutes between coats? Nearly every finishing problem (other than staining crap) I've heard of has been caused either by improper prep work or by the person NOT waiting for it to dry properly, generally the latter. SWMBOs nag, life calls, and the project is instantly ruined, at least for a while.

Ayup.
-- "Not always right, but never uncertain." --Heinlein -=-=- http://www.diversify.com Wondrous Website Design
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