Suggestions for red oak finish

Page 1 of 2  
All,
Had planned to use a tung oil finish on red oak to be used as a model display stand - indoor use only, and after reading the many posts on the use of this product - and those called tung oil finishes, not confident this is the best way to go.
Desired end result is a low lustre, rich finish that can be completed in a reasonably brief period of time.
From my limited understanding, a poly finish is not preferred.
The wood has been stained using Minwax's wood finish product.
I have a can of Bartley's gel varnish - although will likely have to destroy the can's lid to get it off.
Any and all recommendations are greatly appreciated.
Regards,
Doug
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Douglas R. Hortvet, Jr. wrote:

The gel varnish may give you what you want -- test on a piece of scrap. You might try a natural Danish oil, that will give a low luster, but not sure how it will interact with your stain. If you use any oil or penetrating finish, be aware that oak will bleed the finish for quite some time after application, so make sure you make periodic checks to wipe up any weeping pores or you will have dried oil beads (happened to somebody who lives in my neighborhood).
--
If you're going to be dumb, you better be tough

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"Douglas R. Hortvet, Jr." wrote:

Personally, I would get a pint of boiled linseed oil and a pint of turpentine and some wiping rags.
Cut BLO with turps per instructions on can and wipe on, wipe off per instructions.
Johnson's paste wax after BLO/turps dries (20-30 days) is optional.
Have fun.
Lew
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Decide how the stand will be used and maintained, then tailor your finish to suit that need. If it is to be dusted and cleaned frequently, tung oils and their cousins are not the way to go as they will not fill any pores in the oak. This means that once the fine dust gets in them over a period of years, you won't get it out.

Why? With today's modern finishes, I would hate to live on the edge of difference between some of resin finishes the these days. After application, I can't tell the difference between a regular long oil varnish (not talking spar here) and poly after they dry. Usually, the poly is harder, but not always.
Don't be spooked by those that simply parrot what they hear about the correct way to finish projects. If you see a nice poly job with the proper sheen you will be surprised how warm and soft it will feel.

If this is the oil variety, mind Mark's post above about beading and drying. That particular stain can easily take a couple of weeks to completely dry if you are in humid conditions. Wiping, brushing or padding a finish could be your undoing as the solvents in the finish will lift the stain colorants up into the finish.
And since the above types of application are usually performed with thinned finishes raising the VOCs and making it "hotter", it can easily remove your stain job.

If this is a model stand for viewing of your work, why not use lacquer? This is the traditional finish for furniture, and all kinds of other mill work. You can buy the lacquer in rattle cans and spray it on, and second coat in under 1/2 hour. Build the finish where you want it. Allow it to dry hard for a couple of weeks and you can knock down the gloss to the desired reflectivity with scotch brite pads.
Unless you buy upper end steel wool, I wouldn't use sw unless you clean it first in naptha or something similar. Sw is treated from the factory with different kinds of waste oil to keep it from rusting; this can end up on your project.
An alternative is to buy some poly semi gloss in rattle cans. This is easy to spray. You have to wait a long time for recoats, but the long working makes it easy to control the finish application.
When I need a quick finish on a small project, I use rattle cans, and have found them to be very satisfactory.
Spraying would keep you from lifting the finish as well. However, if you use poly spray unless you wait until the stain is completely dry, you can still see some of the beading Mark referenced, even when sprayed. With lacquer, the finish will dry so quickly that it doesn't bead the stain unless you really LOAD up the material when spraying.
Good luck!
Robert
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

And to the OP, keep in mind your conditions if you're going to spray. Being the idiot I am, one time I used a can of blue spray paint in my living room to paint some cast iron legs for a work bench. It wasn't until I was finished I noticed that most everything in my living room had a bluish tinge to it.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Fri, 26 Dec 2008 23:57:37 -0600, "Douglas R. Hortvet, Jr."

First, be aware that most "Tung Oil" finishes don't use tung oil, or have so little tung oil in them that part is irrelevant. Your product could be a wiping varnish, an oil finish, or an oil/varnish blend.
Second, the open pores of oak, as others have mentioned, will leak the oil back until that oil has fully cured.
There is no one "best way" to finish. There are tradeoffs in terms of time and effort. For my taste, using an oil or oil/varnish finish is about as easy as it gets. But it doesn't look as good after a period of time, and you may find you want to reapply the oil now and again.
So, my preference is to apply a topcoat, often after using an oil or sometimes a stain. I use stain less often than many will, but usually I want something to bring out the grain.
If you want a very smooth surface, you can flood the suface with your chosen oil finish and wet sand it with some 400 grit wet/dry sandpaper. The dust/oil slurry will fill the pores. And should take care of the "leak back" problem. Here's a write up someone did on that approach: http://www.masterartisan.com/article/Editorials/Super+Smooth+Oil+Finish
You can get a low lustre on a poly surface, or any other topcoat, including your gel varnish (if formulated to be a "gloss" finish), by "rubbing out" after the finish has cured, using a grey scotchbrite type pad or wet/dry sandpaper. http://www.homesteadfinishing.com/htdocs/rubbingout.htm .

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
n Fri, 26 Dec 2008 23:57:37 -0600, "Douglas R. Hortvet, Jr."

I'm surprised no one meantioned shellac. Shellac seals and dries very quickly. It shows off the grain too. Applying several coats doesn't take long either. I'd use a 2lb cut with pad applicator. You can lay at least 3 coats per day with very light sanding between coats. In three days, it is done and dry enough for delivery: although, give it a month before any furniture wax.
Otoe
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I like shellac as well, though I'm not sure if I'd use it as my finish. For a model stand, it'd probably be fine, but I like something that is a little more impervious.
I like to stain, apply a thin coat of shellac to seal the pores and act as a barrier coat, then use a satin finish brushing lacquer. Lots of warmth, no bleed out in porous woods, and it's a fast finish.
R
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

First choice for red oak (or cheap #2 white pine) is amber shellac.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

First a very light coat of shellac to close all the pores of the wood. Then (and whooda thunkut) Minwax Poly Urethane. Several thin coats - at least 7 and the final coat can be wet sanded with 800 grit wet or dry paper with a mist of water. This will be a high coat as smooth as glass and hard as a rock. Just a suggestion since the call me Minwax Mac besides Jummy. LOL!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Jimmy Mac wrote:

Was it C-less that called it min-whacks? I know he loved polyurinestain.     :-)     j4
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Mahalo J! I never liked the polystain garbage but the poly itself was good stuff! Good to hear your voice out there!
J
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Everyone,
Many Thanks for the great suggestions - there just is nothing better than to benefit from the experience of others.
Of all the recommendations, the shellac and spray lacquer finish sounds best to me.
The wood has several linear areas extending the full length that have very open grain - bigger than pores, IMO.
Will shellac fill openings in the grain that are deep enough to catch a finger nail?
What about specific manufacturer / product recommendations - are there products to avoid or specifically try to use?
Realize this will certainly be the result of individual experiences - which are infinitely better than mine, which are none.
Checking the Minwax products - see they have a clear brushing lacquer - however no spray lacquer.
Again - my sincerest Thanks to everyone for their valuable comments, which will be retained for future reference.
Regards,
Doug

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sun, 28 Dec 2008 10:09:13 -0600, Douglas R. Hortvet, Jr. wrote:

I haven't tried it myself, but others have used pumice mixed with shellac to fill pores. Apparently the pumice becomes transparent.
--
It's turtles, all the way down

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Used in French polishing, turns the wood surface to a fine slurry which mixes with the shellac and fills the pores. Just as easy to wet sand between coats with 320.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

No. Shellac or any other finish will simply mirror the texture of the substrate you are finishing. And with red oak... you couldn't have picked a tougher wood to try to smooth out. The tubules are deep and large, and while many finishes will easily span the pores, they will not fill them on their own. The exception being of course, that you use the classic approach of applying several thick built up coats that you will cut down later with a buffer or using the french polish method.
Make no mistake, the shellac or any other finish will help mitigate the texture of the pores, but it won't go away by a long shot. If the project isn't too big, apply the shellac, let it sit for a couple of days, then sand it smooth. Apply a couple more coats in the same fashion, sanding all coats with at least 220 grit quality sandpaper, cleaning with mineral spirits in between sandings. Carefully sand with the grain.
Resist the temptation so sand with anything higher than 320 grit. With finishes that resolvate (dissolve into each other rather than simply adhering) there simply isn't any need to do so. If you finish "balls" or "rolls" up under your sandpaper (wrapped around a block, right?) you need to give your finish more cure time. The lacquer will not melt into the shellac, so make the last coat of shellac as smooth as you can.
Apply the lacquer over the final shellac coat. I wouldn't put less than three coats of lacquer over this. You will be surprised how well the shellac/lacquer combo will hold up.

Personally, I have had great experiences with Deft lacquer for years. It sprays well and has a good quality nozzle on the can so it will lay out a nice finish. After using spray can, if there is material left in the can remember to turn it upside down and spray out the remaining material in the pickup tube and the nozzle. It will spray almost pure air when the nozzle is clean.
I have also used the newer Rustoleum clear lacquers and the best aspect of them is they dry really hard for a lacquer. The coats build nicely and it is easy to apply.
I would personally stay away from the water borne stuff in a spray can as no one I know has had any luck with them yet. I read (although I haven't used them) that there are problems with the applicators, with recoating, and with witness lines.

You are in pretty good hands around here. There are many that do finishing here (like me) professionally as part of their business. Read through the archives of the group and you will find all kinds of methods and experiences on finishing.

I wouldn't tackle brushing lacquer unless you have a really small project. Brushing lacquer requires patience, the right equipment and the right technique. I have used a lot of brushing lacquer, but only if it is a smooth, featureless surface like a door. Even then, I pad it as brushing a couple of larger pieces out was a real pain.
I still remember my first brushing of lacquer as it was a disaster. I was used to "long oils" and paints that gave you plenty of time to go over any brush strokes or holidays left behind.
Not so with the lacquer. For me, it was like brushing on warm taffy. The first few brush strokes were great, after that it was all down hill. Everything started to dry immediately, any attempts at repairs "on the fly" were disaster, and the brush became a clump of semi dried resins. I found out at that time any brush strokes, holidays, or bugs can only be sanded out after a proper curing time.
After I learned how easy lacquer was to spray, I have never brushed anything since that time (25 years?).
Good luck on your project and let us know how it came out.
Robert
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

<snip>
Keep'em coming, Robert ... your book is taking shape, on my hard drive!
--
www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 10/22/08
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote

If you use an oil based finish the easiest, old-fashioned, low-tech solution to filling the pores in red oak or other open pored woods is plaster of Paris... After the surface is hand planed/sanded apply the plaster of Paris, let it dry, sand it off, vacuum and tack rag the surface, and then apply your oil based finish. The plaster of Paris becomes transparent with the oil.
Note that this will not work for filling gouges and other defects as the plaster will show up if it's too thick. For grain filling and minor surface defects it works just fine. Obviously, try some samples to get a feel for this before doing, say, the top of a large table. ;~)
If you are using stain play with the plaster before and after staining to see what works with your combination of wood, stain and finish.
I find this is a lot faster than applying myriad thick coats of finish and sanding them smooth as the plaster dries fast and sands quickly.
John
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

LOL!!!
Hey... send me a copy when it's finished!
Robert
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Robert and others,
Thanks again very much for the great advice.
Bought the shellac and spray lacquer this afternoon.
The shellac is by Zinsser and is 3 lb cut - so must thin to get to a 2 lb cut as suggested by Otoe.
Was rather damp and cool in Houston area today - so will get underway tomorrow.
Certainly realize that most if not all procedures can sound much easier than what it actually takes for a correct / proper execution and the desired end results.
You mention letting the shellac coats sit for several days - although the can says re-coat in an hour. Rather imagine that is the VOE speaking i.e., Voice of Experience.
Will report back when done - or have gone astray.
Regards,
Doug

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.