Sam Maloof Poly/Oil Hardness

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How hard is this finish compared to just a straight polyurethane? I love this stuff and I'm using it on my latest project but I'm not sure if I need a topcoat of straight poly to enhance durability (it's a bench that will have bags and what not placed on it)
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Certainly it is softer than poly. Just curious why you love it, and why you would put it under poly.
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Good question :) It's pretty much the only finish I've used and has given me great results each time I've used it. It enhances the color of the wood, makes it feel silky smooth and gives it a lot of depth. I figured just using straight poly wouldn't pop the grain of the walnut & birdseye maple as much as first using the oil/poly mix and then using a protective coat of poly. Bad idea?
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How hard is

Yes. Poly/oil leaves a soft film; which you probably don't want under poly. On some woods (butternut for instance) I use Linseed Oil under poly. Since oil doesn't leave any film, it doesn't do any harm.
Walnut would probably be a bit darker with oil then poly, but I doubt you would see any difference from just poly on maple.
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How hard

Urethane is a resin. It is mixed with an oil vehicle in greater or lesser proportions to harden the finish. If Sam's is a long-oil varnish, which the advertising seems to indicate, it will give a more flexible, though softer film than a short-oil/urethane varnish. You can put oils over oils with impunity, though they want a mechanical bond you create with sanding.
Since oil is the vehicle in any oil-based (poly)urethane, it's only a matter of oil color which would make a difference in the tone of your walnut. Minwax seems to be soy, which is lighter than linseed.
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Minwax is soy? Could be... The current gloss poly is pretty clear.
Varathane advertises that they use soy and are clearer than the rest. I always thought they meant Minwax, but I've been wrong before.
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"George" wrote in message

the
matter
George, what are your thoughts on using shellac on a well cured finish of the Sam Maloof type?
I've heard both yes and no, but have never personally tried it.
Thanks ..
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Why would you want to? What effect are you trying to obtain?
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"Toller" wrote in message

Why, indeed ... re-read the original post.
This particular finishing method/technique imparts a unique luster/patina to the wood that, thus far in my experience, can only be obtained by handrubbing the oil/poly finish with loving care, then following up with the oil/poly/wax mixture ... probably one of the reasons why Sam chose to use it so often.
Keeping that fresh "hand rubbed" look is a "once a week for a month, once a month for a year, once a year forever" proposition.
Despite the fact that the finish should match the intended use, vis a vis durability, is it any wonder that someone would reasonably want to at least explore the possibilities of a seal coat that keep the look, but result in a bit more durability/less work?
Count me, as well as Damian, in that category ... ;)
As I said, I have historically resisted the temptation for reasons already stated, but wonder nonetheless.
Maybe it's time to do a little experimentation .. right, Damian? ;)
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Exactly :) I have a piece in the shop right now with it's first test coat of poly. I'll keep you posted :)
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Not after you put poly on top of it!
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"Toller" wrote in message

luster/patina
use
I don't put poly "on top" of anything. The use of shellac on top of a oil/poly finish, as a possible top coat if the need ever arose, was _my_ question.
I admit I don't know the answer ... and it appears I'm not the only one. ;)
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I think I do. It will look like whatever the top coat is. Why wouldn't it?
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Because a piece of cellophane placed on top of sandpaper will look and feel a lot different than that same piece of cellophane placed on top of a grand piano.
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"Toller" wrote in message

it?
You're missing the point ... the main issue in question is compatibility of finishes.
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Also missing the point if the undercoats are satin and the top not.
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Are you now talking about the original he uses on the chairs? This is the stuff with wax, or are you talking about his long oil line?
I'd bet on the long oil there would be no problems. But if you did the one-two punch and put the beeswax stuff on top as additional finish, that would be something I wouldn't be a project on.
I'd bet that the key is how much beeswax there actually is in the product. The beeswax mix seems to stay pretty soft, making me thing that there is plenty in it to do some damage to a subsequent finishing attempt.
I refinished a table top that had candle wax dripped on it, and cleaned it with naptha. I could still see the wax, but not much. I brused some blond dewaxed on it and it held on. I was never sure though.. not 100% anyway as to whether the shellac just "bridged" the droplets or if it actually adhered.
It seemed to adhere, and the finish that went over it went on fine as well. But I would sure go the route you guys are though, and try it out first on a piece of similar wood.
Robert
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The original is simply an oil/poly mixture, hand rubbed with multiple coats.
The oil/poly/wax mixture is considered an extra, final step (or an ongoing future application to refresh the finish), which would not be necessary if a seal coat, like shellac, could be applied.
I've never had the need to apply a seal coat on top of the oil/poly finish (and it may never even come up), but have always been curious as to whether it would work?
That's the question.

I would suspect that is the case also ... but that step could be left out with no detriment to the oil/poly finish.

That's certainly the prudent way to find out. I have never had the opportunity to find out, but, it would nice to know if the need arose.
Thanks, Robert.
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I don't use it on things subject to a lot of knocks. Lots of turnings, shelves, things like that, but nothing big. Not sure why it wouldn't do, I just don't.
You might run into a problem with adhesion if there's a full surface finish already.
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Someone over on the FineWoodworking boards brought up the point that Maloof uses this finish on his chairs which I'd imagine would get about as much abuse as I expect this bench to get (i.e sat on every now and then and bags placed on) so perhaps the finish would be fine as it stands. Thoughts?
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