I'm building a small chest out of white oak with a lid made of walnut
and white oak.
I have used a number of different types of finishes so far, but I'm
still mostly a cluesless newby, so I would apreciate some advice (or
direction) on what sort of finish I should use.
It will be used outside in historical recreationist camping
(S.C.A.), so it needs to be somewhat weather resistant, and not look
I would guess laquer? Should I stain the oak at all? I know that
walnut shouldn't be stained, but a tough of color in the oak would be nice.
One more thing, please. I've used grain filler on red oak projects.
Should I use this on the white oak?
Thanks for your advice.
Don't stain the oak. Get a can of Shellac and it will look beautiful. Watch
the date on the bottom of the can when you buy it. It's only good for a
little over 6 months. Looks great on oak and walnut.
But, I could cover the shellace with laquer to protect it maybe? I
wasn't sure that this was possible. But I DAGS and find an article by a
Mr. "George Utley" (Isn't there a Newhart character by that name?) that
talks about it.
www.homesteadfinishing.com has an article about selecting a finish
that probably would help. Don't believe lacquer or shellac are
suggested for outside use.
On Wed, 28 Jul 2004 19:20:36 -0400, Jim Helfer
So don't use walnut then. Not a period timber.
OTOH, the main timber of the SCA is plywood, so I guess anything solid
is an improvement.
Medieval repro is an interest of mine (you might be interested in a
long series of posts of mine to rec.org.sca on the historical
introduction of shellac).
So for authenticity, I'd use polyurethane.
Just to clarify that, simple authenticity is easy - no finishing at
all. It just didn't happen.
Shellac is a great finish and I use it a lot. But it's not authentic,
it doesn't look right (maybe a very thin application, dulled with
rottenstone afterwards), it's not especially water resistant, and it's
not mechanically strong against getting humped around campsites.
So what I use is one or two _maximum_ thin coats of gel poly (I use
"Patina" in the UK). This is blatant cheating, but it has good weather
resistance and such a thin coating of it is damn near invisible.
This is always a tough call. Are you making a reproduction that looks
like new, or that looks like an original piece looks today / after
many years of service ? Remember that even medieval furniture was new
once (although remember Monty Python's sage advice - "You can tell
he's the king, he hasn't got much shit on him")
Personally I never stain oak and very rarely dye it. If I colour it,
it's ammonia fuming every time. The way oak darkens with age is
through oxidation and that's the same as ammonia does to it. Use
vapour fuming for a brown oak, or wet solutions brushed on to turn it
the real black of "Jacobean" oak.
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