Finishing highly figured bubinga?


I made a box out of pomelle bubinga. It didn't show very well with just oil, so I left a few weeks hoping it would improve, but it didn't. Today I sanded it with 600 and put on a few coats of wipe on varnish. Doesn't improve any.
I took another piece of the same wood, sanded it to 600 and put mineral spirits on it. The figure was extraordinary.
So whats going on here? Did the oil kill the figure somehow?
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Toller wrote:

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I haven't had much luck with the oil finishes on some woods with figure. When applied, sometimes the oils muddy the figure and darken it to the point of making it hard to see.
Your key here is minimum penetration, as shown by your success with mineral spirits. Try using a good laquer on a scrap of your wood, sanded exactly as you have sanded and prepared your box and see how it works. I'll bet you'll be pleasantly surprised.
To >paraphrase< an old saying and one of the long lost members or this group, "practice finishing on a scrap or practice finishing on your project... which one makes sense?"
This is great advice always, but with all the different kinds of wood available to us now, it seems more timely than ever.
Robert
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nailshooter wrote: "To >paraphrase< an old saying and one of the long lost members or this
group, "practice finishing on a scrap or practice finishing on your project... which one makes sense?"
I am going through a lot of good scrap! Tom
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Tolier,
I think what is happening here is the hardness of that wood combined with the 600 sandpaper you are blocking anything from getting into the wood.
If you are putting mineral spirits on (a solvent) the finish does not last does it. Once the spirits evaporate you loose all grain. The reason the spirits are working is because it is more solvent (is absorbed better).
Sand with 320 and try it again with your choice of finish. I bet you will see a marked improvement.
Roy
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I took a piece of scrap (if you can call a piece of bubinga that cost $10 scrap) and put shellac on it. The figure came up a bit, but not as good as the mineral spirits. I then put some varnish over the shellac and it was pretty good; way better than the oil (BLO)
On the original piece, the one with oil and two coats of wipe on varnish, I put on another two coats. It is looking better. Maybe with another two coats it will be acceptable. However, I like the color of bubinga with BLO on it more than without; but maybe amber shellac would have the same effect.
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I never liked to spray as I don't have room or equipment, or knowlege to do a good job. I asked a painter friend of mine if he knew anyone who would do a good job, and followed his recomendation. A good spray lacquer looks way better than any hand rubbed oil finish that I ever did. I have taked several figured pieces to them, and when they come back, I can see all sorts of things that weren't visible before the spray went on. You do need to find a spray artist though. Ask around. robo hippy
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