I have stripped two walnut dining room chairs from an old time wood
bending shop in North Carolina - not a complete restoration job, but
enough to show the character of the wood and look good in our cabin.
I have thought in terms of a few coats of an oil finish. Here in Seattle
we have Pro Fin which I have used on living room chairs, but I dont
like it that much because it chalks up with age and has to be redone.
1. What oil finishes would you recommend?
2. Is the Minwax Polycrylic worth considering?
Thank you very much in advance.
Lacquer = nitrocelluose dissolved in a liquid (lacquer thinner) which is
made from various liquids, all made from petroleum. It dries by evaporation
of the liquid and will re-dissolve in the same. Deft Clear Wood Finish is
one brand and is meant for brushing.
Varnish = a resin - alkyd, phenolic, polyurethane, et al - normally in a
petroleum base liquid though some are available in water; they dry by curing
and evaporation, will not re-dissolve.
Never worked that way for me. Takes repeated applications.
I used it often for priming bare new wood before painting and
old weathered wood before repair and painting.
Except for the weathered wood it was probably a waste of time.
Think it hardened that up and kept it from soaking up too much paint.
But I liked doing it anyway. Smelled good.
I was always wiping it on worn tool handles too.
When I built an oak display case I used it as a finish.
Takes forever to get a good sheen that doesn't want more oil.
Then a year later it wants more oil to get it glowing again, and
starts to darken.
I still miss the smell and wiping and rubbing it in, but I won't buy
For those chairs I'd use clear poly varnish.
They won't suck up moisture that way and can take some abuse.
Just me. A million ways to finish them.
Depends on how much work you want to do.
An oil finish such as linseed, tung, etc. may look nice but will not
provide much protection. You might want to get the best of both worlds -
oil first for looks, let it thoroughly dry / cure, and then apply a film
finish. Readily available nitrocellulose lacquer drys very fast but can
yellow over time. Polyurethane and similar varnishes are already amber so
take it into account in the way the piece will look when finished. Water
based finishes such as Polycrylic do not impart any color but you should use
some shellac to isolate the Polycrylic from the oil. The water based
finishes also dry / cure pretty quickly.
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