Have a piece of red oak, perhaps 12 x 12 x 3/4 which I put a few holes into
to mount a small circular barometer.
Wood has a beautiful grain, that I would always like to see.
Several folks at HD and Lowe's said the "best" way to finish it off,
and still be able to see the grain, is a clear Min Wax Poly Urethane.
Do you agree ?
If the clear Polyurethane, what's the best way of applying it, please ?
A piece of cloth from an old T Shirt ?
My finger ?
A really high quality brush ?
A cheap brush ?
One of those throw away foam brushes ?
One coat enough ?
If not, how to handle; sand after dry, and then apply another ?
I'm really a novice at wood finishing, and would be very appreciative
for any hints.
Do you have a few scraps of the same wood to play around with ?
Poly will enhance the grain - some stains will make it pop !
.. then poly to protect it. Also beware - some stains will also
enhance the defects - like poorly sanded spots or end grain.
Read the product label for application instructions.
No, not really, altho it depends on the look you want. Do you want
really, shiny, plastic-y coating look or a more subtle shine?
For the novice, the essentially foolproof solution I'd suggest would be
to use a wiping oil instead; I've used the original Minwax oil (in the
red can) for 50 years...it you do just flood the surface and wipe then
buff. Add a few extra coats for extra luster; finish off with a good
paste wax if want a little more shine yet.
There's no worry on brush marks, the no-see-um flying by and getting
stuck in the wet surface and it doesn't look like polyurethane (a big
plus in my book :) ).
It does have a slight amber color to it that adds a little warm tone; w/
red oak I think it works well...if the section you have has very open
pores there will be a little collected in them that will take some time
to dry and may be a little seepout that need to rub down later. You can
fix this first with a sanding sealer coat first to fill the
pores...won't change color but will fill the pores so aren't quite so
Poly is the easy way out, not the best.
You can use wiping oils, like Danish oil. Takes a few coats over time
to get it really nice. You have to let it cure between.
If I use poly, It takes a while to do it right. Put on a thinned coat.
Next day, put on a second coat. After 24 hour, sand, put a third coat.
Now you wait 4 weeks. Yeah, really, 4 weeks. Lightly sand with 220
grit. wet sand with 400 grit. rub with pumice. rub with rottenstone.
Wax, usually 2 coats.
There are also fillers you can use with read oak to get it smoother.
I have a lot of red oak. You get a nice effect with cherry stain,
wiped on and off with a rag. It is just enough to brighten up the
grain. Then a couple of coats of poly with a good brush will do it.
You can thin the first coat about 50:50 with mineral spirits to get
better penetration and a smoother coat. Some say it is not necessary
because you will be sanding between coats anyway. I usually do tho.
My favorite wood finishing product is called "Deft". It is basically
a brushing lacquer and is available in a spray can.
It is self leveling and will dry quickly enough so as to minimize dust
imperfections. It is available in gloss, semi and satin.
If you like the color of the wood, then there is no reason to stain
Deft is available at Home Depot:
I am not at all fond of polyurethane, to me, it looks like you have
dipped the wood in plastic.
I like linseed oil for a slightly glossy natural wood finish - any
"drying oil" will work the same . For best effect you rub the stuff into
the wood with your fingers . Rub it in until it gets warm , let it sit
for a while , wipe off excess and let it dry for a couple of days .
Repeat ... repeat ... repeat until you get the glow you want . This
gives a very "warm" finish but it's a lot of work , and most won't
invest the time and effort . Those folks are better off using urethane
or other varnish type product .
I had my entire upstairs done in 3/4" x 2 1/4" red oak two years ago.
It's a beautiful (my favorite) wood.
I used a water based sealer, and a clear satin finish on top. This
reall brought out the warm qualities of the wood, without darkening or
giving a plastic finish look.
I used Bona products. Here's the satin finish.
Of course, it depends on how your unfinished wood looks.
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