I need a bit of help. A friend of my just sent me an e-mail from his
deployment in the MidEast and told me he is coming home on mid tour leave.
While here he has been asked to build a presentation humidor for his
commander. Making the box is not a problem - of course taking it from
humid Alabama to the arid MidEast is something to be factored in (read
plywood for the top and bottom)
What I need help with is the finish. I was thinking of using Watco Oil and
doing the 7 coats and sanding with progressively finer grits and finishing
it all off with a good coat of Briwax.
Am I good to go or is there a better finish?
You are, of course, using unfinished Spanish cedar to line the interior?
FWIW, Leon has been using an impressive product made by the Lawrence
McFadden Co that, judging from what I've seen he's finished with it, makes
me think it would make an excellent and natural finish for the exterior of a
humidor made with most hardwoods.
Maybe he'll chime in here.
Having never built one before but chiming in, I think, like a cedar chest
the interior woods should probably be separate/and or semi floating, make
that Spanish Cedar. For the rest of the box I would completely seal "all
surfaces inside and out", except for the Spanish Cedar with a "varnish" that
will help prevent wood movement due to climate changes. The Lawrence
McFadden Gel varnish produces a great finish that is simple to apply. I
would recommend 6 or more coats. Each coat after the first should not take
over 3 or 4 minutes to apply and typically you can apply as many as 3 or 4
coats each day. With this varnish, there are no runs or drips or problems
with finishing in a dusty environment. Typically this finish is dry to the
touch in 5 to 10 minutes. It should be wiped on and almost immediately
wiped off and left to dry for a few hours and then repeat. Apply to one
section and wipe off the excess before doing another side or section.
As a side note, this particular brand varnish is oil based but does not add
so much of that golden hue that most oil based varnishes will add.
This is the only place that I have seen the product sold. In case lots it
is about 1/2 price.
Yes, that's it. I don't go to great lengths to avoid dust other than wiping
the work table down and removing all dust from the project of course. I am
not concerned about normal dust in the air.
Typically 3 or 4 minutes after wiping off the excess it is dry enough that
any dust that falls will not stick.
Keep in mind they now manufacture Bartley's Gel Stains and Varnishes but the
Lawrence McFadden gel varnish is better IMHO.
Know what I like about this Group, stuff like the three of you just posted.
Yes, we are using unfinished Spanish Cedar for the inside. I had not
thought of finishing the inside or floating the cedar. Will do both.
As for the finish, thanks. One can always use a new choice.
The important thing to remember for a glass smooth finish is to wipe it down
with a clean cotton cloth while the surface is still wet. If the rag grabs
or feels draggy you have waited too long to remove the excess, in that case
immediately apply more gel varnish and wipe it off. This stuff will spoil
you. Most all gel varnishes work this way but the Lawrence McFadden stuff
seems to be a few cuts above IMHO. I have been using gel varnishes since
the late 80's. LMcF recently obtained Barleys stains and varnishes, those
were my favorite until I strictly by accident ran across Lawrence McFadden.
Thanks, Leon, for the extra word. If you had not told me, I probably would
have tried to cover too large an area and wondered why this "stuff" just
wasn't working. Let you know how things work out. But it will be a couple
of weeks until my friend gets back from the big sand pile. But I do have
all the bits and pieces on order, so all should be ready for him when he
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