When it comes to finish, my ignorance will show through every time. I read
about all these neat finishes but it generally involves mixing and things
I'd rather not get into. I recently made one of those curved bandsaw boxes
for my sister out of red oak and it turned out very nicely. I don't want to
put a coat of stain and poly on, but I also don't want to get into mixing
different things together. Is tung oil or Danish oil any good? What can be
used for bringing some sheen without using poly. - I'm looking for a decent
finsih to show the wood but it doesn't have to be overly durable given the
nature of the piece. Really looking for some advise here.
Shellac, Tung Oil, Danish Oil, varnish, and lacquers all look good on
red oak, depending on the look you're after.
Check out Flexner's book for everything you ever wanted to know about
<(Amazon.com product link shortened)74375076//ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl14/103-5997910-6893431?v=glance&s=books&nP7846>
Many libraries have this book as well.
One more point, favorite finishes come about by trial an error. Spend
some money on some small amounts of different finishes, play on
prepared scrap, and develop your own favorites! <G> Try some tung
oil, lacquer, shellac, etc...
It's oak. Damn near anything looks good on oak. I'm no big fan of
Danish oils (oil & varnish mixes), but I do like either shellac or oil
I hate poly, and I really hate poly on small boxes. Always difficult
to find a way to support it when drying, without leaving some mark
I'd oil it, then maybe wax over that.
Use a commercial finishing oil, which is tung + thinners + driers.
It's easier and quicker to work with. Apply it thin, on kitchen paper
towel, and buff gently after 20 minutes. Repeat a few times, with a
few hours between.
Then ignore it somewhere warm for a few days.
Then wax. Use a furniture finishing wax (Liberon's black bison), not a
cleaning / polishing wax. Apply it with a brush. Use something like
a shoe polish brush, short stiff bristles, or a cheap craft-shop
stencilling brush for small stuff.
Oak has surface pores, which you can either fill or not fill.
Unfilled looks good with oak, shellac generally looks better if you
fill them. Fill them completely before finishing, as you can spend
years trying to fill them later.
There's more than one way to skin a cat...
...but I still prefer the electric belt sander.
Paste wax designed for wood. Easy to apply, the piece can be used right away
after and it's impossible to screw up the finish. You can get dark or light
coloured wax. I use it frequently for smaller products. I use a variation of
the wax that Lee Valley Tools sells.
I have worked for the USAF for over 30 years, and make a lot of flag
boxes and shadow boxes for people changing station and retiring. I work
almost exclusively in red oak and walnut. My favorite finish for red
oak is a wood filler from Woodcraft. The brand is Behlen. It is oil
based and I use the "natural" color. It is very thick and needs a lot
of mixing before each use. Wipe it on, and as it starts to get hazy,
wipe it off. It fills the wood grain very well and leaves a nice golden
oak tone. Buff with 0000 steel wool and wipe on a coat of Minwax wipe
on three coats of satin poly, with another steel wool polish between
coats. Final step is to use my random orbit sander and some auto polish
to buff the surface. Woodcraft carries some hook and loop foam pads
that have a very short "bristle" that gives a nice sheen and leveling to
the wood. It takes very little time to achieve a surface that feels
like wood, and looks like you spent many hours working on the surface.
Drying time takes three to five days for any particular piece, but only
about 15 min per session. It is important to let the filler dry for 24
hours before first coat of poly.
Another method, if you are not interested in the golden oak look is to
sand to 220 grit, apply a coat of sanding sealer and give a final
sanding to 220 or 320 again. This replaces the wood filler step above.
It gives a very smooth surface with no coloring effect. I do not like
the look as well because it is very white or light, but the feel is the
Hope this has been of some help. Highly recommend you take some scrap
and try different finishes if you have not used them before. It will
take some time, but will be well spent unless you want to try something
on your project only to find you don't like and have to sand a lot and
V.E. Don wrote:
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