Question about Red Oak

I've pretty well weened myself off of pine except for some trinket stuff and have mainly been using red oak. After running it through the planer and getting it sized. I start with 100, 120, 150 & 220 grit using the PC RAS. The wood feels pretty smooth but after the finishing is done I can run my hand across the wood and feel the texture or the grain of the wood. I'm wanting to build the A&C Library desk that David Marks built and a rough surface on a desktop would not work. Is there something else I need to do or should I use white oak? Thanks, Mike
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Mike S.
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$$@sbcglobal.net says...

You can sand some woods, mahogany, walnut, oak, comes to mind, all day long and it is still not going to be smooth. Unlike, say maple, the cell structure is such that those woods are open pored. No matter what you do the raw wood is always going to be what you see now.
With an oil finish it usually doesn't matter since most of the time you are looking for a natural feel and look to the wood.
For a surface finish you have to fill the pores to the point where they are level with the surface of the surrounding wood. The process is a matter of applying a pore filler and sanding it back until the whole surface is level. Without, of course, sanding all the filler off. It may take more then one coat.
For a filler you can use a one or two pound cut of de waxed shellac, a very thin version of the finish you are going too use, or a commercial pore/wood filler.
If you are going to stain it is usually best to stain first but then you have to be very careful not to sand through the stain when leveling the filler.
If using a commercial filler you have to be careful and either select one that approximates the color you want to achieve or a clear filler.
I usually opt for crystalc clear drying filler
http://store.yahoo.com/squaredrive/finishing-supplies---equipment - crystalac-clear-paste-filler.html .
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MikeG
Heirloom Woods
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On Sun, 22 Aug 2004 12:57:52 +0000, Mike S. wrote:

There was a neat finishing method for open grain woods like oak in a Fine Woodworking about a year ago. Varnish is fooded on to the surface and then sanded in. The sandpaper make an oak sawdust slurry with the varnish, then you wipe off the excess. Repeating the process with 180, 220 and 300 is sand paper. Once the grain is filled you could continue to build and polish coats.
Tigger
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As Anthony mentioned wet sanding works great, here is the link to the article in Fine Woodworking
http://www.taunton.com/finewoodworking/pages/w00117.asp
I work mainly with oak and walnut and this method works great. You get a nice silky smooth surface with the grain showing nicely.
Rick

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Thanks for the info, if I go with the spar varnish technique from FWW should I stain it first since the varnish will be clear? Also Going to several websites they use varnish and poly interchangable. The same thing with different names?? Thanks
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Mike S.
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Mike, A BIG warning about 'Spar' varnish . . . it NEVER gets HARD. It is supposed to remain flexible so the 'spar' can move without breaking the weather-sealing finish.
Also, Spar, and most of the other varnishes are NOT 'clear', but actually amber in tone. Again, this is part of their function - to protect weather-exposed wood from UV damage, while allowing the wood itself to be inspected for any physical damage.
A number of the 'interior use' varnishes are both clear and lack UV additives. These are typically 'short oil' varnishes - and DO cure 'hard'.
However, for your use - the writing surface of a desk, as I understand it - I use & recommend a Poly {water-based or Acrylic is my personal choice}. They tend to finish so clear that they are considered 'cool' in tone. {some people add an amber tint to 'warm' them}. While they have NO UV inhibiting qualities at all, they do dry/cure amazingly hard. I finished the top of a 'working' cabinet for our kitchen about 6 years ago. Maple, with the pore's filled, and about 4 thin coats of 'PolyCrylic'. {applied with my usual 'varnish technique' of finer & finer sanding between coats} Looks like the day it was finished.
Regards & Good Luck, Ron Magen Backyard Boatshop
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you sure about that? <http://compliantspraysystems.com/enduro_water_base_coatings/exterior_interior_poly.htm

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'Bridger', There are almost always some 'specialty' products, with specific application techniques, high cost, or other factors. Or something that 'just came out last week'.
I try to point to products that I have had DIRECT experience with, are commonly available, and usually not that expensive. That being said, it's always nice to get info on some special material or product. The computer has 'fed' my packrat habit. I've got several disks filled with notes, web-sites, & scanned images of stuff for 'future reference & use'.
Thanks, Ron Magen Backyard Boatshop
SNIP While they have NO UV inhibiting qualities at all,

<http://compliantspraysystems.com/enduro_water_base_coatings/exterior_interi or_poly.htm>
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$$@sbcglobal.net says...

Spar varnish can, because it is a long oil varnish, be problematic if you want to rub it out. I don't remember if you mentioned what you are building but if it isn't for outdoors there is no real reason to use spar varnish. It won't hurt anything if you do, it's just a pain in the ass to get too a high gloss.
Not as much of a pain in the ass as poly is though. Yes, by generally accepted definition, poly is s varnish. A surface finish consisting of a drying oil, a thinner/carrier, and resins. The difference from the low test stuff is that the resins in poly form a stronger bond making it more scratch and spill resistant. Also brittle and, as previously stated, a pain to rub out.
The low test stuff is bad enough without the problems presented by either spar or poly varnish. If the application doesn't call for that much protection your better off not using either.
Truth be told, if the application doesn't call for that much protection my advise is to avoid varnish completely and, depending on the look you want, go with shellac or lacquer, preferably Danish.
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MikeG
Heirloom Woods
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Actually with the wet sanding technique used in the FWW article you do not get a gloss finish at all. You wind up with a satin finish and silky smooth.
As far as varnish and poly being interchangable I don't know. I've only been woodworking for just over 2 years since I retired and there is a lot I don't know about finishing. I tried this technique because 1. I liked the idea of being able to keep working in the shop and not having to worry about a little dust getting on the finish (I don't have a separate room for finishing) and 2. No extra equipment was needed over what I already had.
Haven't tried staining as I liked the results on oak by itself. With the sanding afterwards not sure what it would do. Will have to give it a try on some scrap pieces to see.
I'm sure there are things this technique and varnish will not be suitable for but so far I like it.
Rick
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Poly is varnish. Just a urethane versus alkyd or other resin to harden the oil.
I'm not a fan of slurry sanding. With red oak you can use an oil-based filler which will give a fast and crisp fill, and can use it with your oil-based stain.

I
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you could use pore filler to solve your problem.
David
Mike S. wrote:

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AND, you sand between coats. I havent mastered the scraper, but scraping would help. What you feel are tiny fibers raised by the sanding and varnishing. Once there's a coat or two of varnish, they get sheared off and covered. Getting a glasslike finish takes time and effort! Waterbased poly is great for drying, just a few hours and you can sand, but oilbased has a nice color and builds thickness faster. The oilbased has to dry at least overnight. I've used a lot of waterbased, just out of laziness. It's easy to clean up!
Oilbased can be sanded with fine steel wool to produce a smooth surface but waterbased will rust the minute steel wool bits left behind, they say on the can. The things I've been happiest with were done with oilbased poly and steel wool. I think the steel wool shears the fibers like a scraper.
Wilson

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