I just put the 4th of probably 5 coats of Watco Danish Oil (natural) on the
cherry high chair for my 8 month old son. I was a little anxious about the
oil finish due to the words of woe regarding blotchy cherry finishes, but I
was NOT going to stain cherry, so I had at it. I must say, the results thus
far are awesome. The armrests and footrest, as well as a few places on the
legs and cross members, have some really neat wavy figure. The color in
general is pretty even, but more importantly to me, it looks really nice.
Anyway, I'm now debating how to protect the finish, since it will definitely
be exposed to a lot of moisture (in various forms, I dare say). I had been
planning to use a wipe on poly on the tray, and try some gel varnish on the
rest seat and arms. For the base I was going to try to get away with simply
Does anyone have any experience putting protective topcoats on a oil/varnish
finish? Will the gel varnish provide much protection over the danish oil?
Should I do wipe-on poly on the whole chair?
Thanks for your help!
Think it might be time to try water-based poly if you haven't used it
before...a little more $$$ but it goes on nice, dries quick allowing more
coats than oil based in the time allowed, low fumes and pretty good self
leveling even with the throw-away foam brushes. Have used it (Minwax brand
which I think also owns Watco) on top of Watco with no problems. Realize it
looks pretty crappy when first applied (milky) but that goes away so don't
On Tue, 27 Apr 2004 01:44:01 GMT, "Mike in Mystic"
I've added thin, wiped-on coats of Waterlox Urethane over
Waterlox oil/varnish (original) with good results. I don't see why
you couldn't do the same over Watco, but I'd try it on scrap or an
inconspicuous place first.
that's a good idea, Barry, I'll look for it. I'm not sure if I've ever seen
Watco Urethane, but I haven't ever tried to find it before. I have some
wipe-on poly on hand and I tried it on some test pieces and it seemed very
easy to work with. The water-based suggestion isn't bad, either. I used
polyacrylic from General Finishes on some of the other baby furniture and
was happy with it. Those were pickled, though, not oiled, and the finish
was water-based as well.
On Tue, 27 Apr 2004 11:39:53 GMT, "Mike in Mystic"
Woodcraft in Manchester has both the Waterlox Urethane, and Watco's
Wiping Poly. The Waterlox stuff has to be cut with mineral spirits to
make it wipable, but I think either gives a better finish than
Minwax's versions. I'm not sure if it's in the Woodcraft catalog.
The Manchester store carries quite a few items that are not franchise
Waterlox includes the idea of adding a thin coat of poly over their
"Original" finish in a data sheet I also picked up in the finishing
dept. at Woodcraft.
If you have five coats of Danish oil on the piece and it looks good I
wouldn't bother with anything further.
Just put about three coats of a good paste wax on it and be conscientious
about cleaning up the tray. The nice thing about an oil finish is that it
can be rejuvenated by a new application of wax.
One of us is confused.
Danish oil IS a top finish. It does not make sense to put anything over it.
If you wanted varnish as your TOP finish, you should have started with
Having three different finishes on your chair won't help it any.
Or is there a deeper thought here that is going right over my head.
If there is anything going over your head it was unintentional, because I
have no clue about this myself. This is the first time I've used Danish oil
on it's own. I followed a recipe for an antique maple finish that involved
some waterlox over a dye stain, which was than sealed with shellac and then
a glazing stain was applied, and more shellac and finally some more waterlox
and wax. Since this was my only experience, it didn't seem to far-fetched
to put things over the top of Danish oil.
Anyway, my main goal is to achieve the color and visual appearance of the
oil finish, but to have a very durable and water-proof surface. That's why
I am/was considering some wipe-on poly or other options on top of the oil.
At this point, however, I think I might follow Mike Hide's suggestion and to
just put several coats of wax on the piece and see how it goes. If I find
it problematic to avoid water spots or whatever else might happen, I suppose
I can think about other finishes at that point, right?
I think a high chair is analogous to moldings in a bathroom. Do you guys
just oil and wax woodwork used in those types of environments?
The wax would mainly be used to give it a bit of luster and sheen. Isn't
this what wax is used for, as well as some protection (albeit minimal)?
I've only continued to add coats of the oil/varnish because the color seems
to be slightly affected with each one, becoming more rich and changing the
overall affect, albeit subtly. I'm really going by a few things I've read,
which suggest to do a couple of flood coats of the oil, then a third coat
with wet sanding using approx. 600 grit paper, and then a few more "surface
enhancement" coats to obtain the final color/properties. I was a bit
skeptical about the effect after the first two, but it has definately been
observable. The wet sanding made the surface extremely smooth and pleasant
to the touch. The last coats of oil were less effectual, but it goes on so
quickly and all that I didn't see why not. There were a few areas where the
luster changed noticeably, too.
Other than that, why wouldn't you wax the surface?
On Tue, 27 Apr 2004 17:20:18 GMT, "Mike in Mystic"
I have seen those instructions also, but believe that they usually
come from the manufacturers of the finishing products <g>. I suspect
that they would suggest immersing the object to be finished if they
could get away with that approach.
In my experience, the "flooding" just wastes lots of material.
Also, oil finishes of the sort you are using need time to polymerize
(harden) between applications. Without that, many woods will just
drink in as much finish as you would care to apply. I doubt that such
an approach hurts anything (other than the wallet) but it surely does
not help either.
By the way, one of the great virtues of an oil finish is the ease with
which it can be touched up at a later time should it become necessary.
Have fun, and enjoy your project,
Yeah, I wonder the same thing from time to time. The rationale seems to
make sense, but probably is only necessary with particularly "thirsty" wood.
Well, by flood coat I didn't literally pour the finish onto the wood and
walk away. I did apply a liberal amount to coat the surface, and waited
about 20 minutes and wiped off the excess, which wasn't particularly
plentiful. I then waited 16-24 hours and did the next coat. Maybe I didn't
emphasize that earlier, but I did wait what I felt was a reasonably long
time between coats. Each day I felt the wood to make sure it was dry, and
it always felt just fine to me. Not sure if that means it was fully
hardened or not.
Well, putting wax on isn't stopping the re-oiling is it? Wiping the surface
with mineral spirits or something would remove the wax and allow for
reoiling, or at least that's what I've always thought.
Thanks, I am having fun. It's going to be a lot of fun to see my little guy
sitting in the chair, no matter what coating he's sitting on hehe.
On Tue, 27 Apr 2004 12:27:20 -0700,
You lose me when you say "coupled with a topcoat."
Would not that topcoat keep out any "grime."
Also, are we talking furniture, or farm implements? I ask because it
would seem that the issues of "grime that can penetrate into the wood"
would depend on the actual use.
All the best,
On Tue, 27 Apr 2004 18:33:41 GMT, "Mike in Mystic"
one thing to consider when using very heavy oil coats, such as
immersing the part: hardening oils need oxygen to do their thing.
because of the cellular nature of wood, there's plenty of oxygen
inside of the wood for the oil that penetrates to cure. however, if
you completely saturate the wood (and it takes a *lot* of oil to do
so) it can take a very long time to dry.
On Tue, 27 Apr 2004 18:33:41 GMT, "Mike in Mystic"
I neglected to read that last comment of yours...
I have made furniture on and off for about forty years.
About three years ago I made a bed for my (now) five year old son.
There is little to it. It was made of stained fir 2 x 10s because it
was to be a temporary piece.
It means more to me than anything else I have ever made (and, more to
Know the feeling ... same with the little "prototype" bedside table of pine
my youngest daughter and I did together a few years back. She's heading for
college this fall and just looking at the thing is going to cause a flood of
memories. This is the last one out of the nest ... and I am not ready for
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