I built a shelf unit. I've been trying to match a color more or less.
I think I have that part on track. I've been mixing some dyes and I'm
getting close. While I've been fooling around with that I've also been
trying out some finishing methods.
I did manage to come up with a finish that looks pretty good to me,
but via a completely half-assed route. I'll recount what I did, and
maybe some (hopefully) gentle soul can tell me how I can do it more
I dyed the wood (red oak) with a mixture of some Rockler Trans-Tint
and some aniline dye powder, dissolved in alcohol. I used straight
alcohol due to lack of time. I wanted to try out the color without
doing the "raise the grain" step.
A week later I applied some Minwax Tung Oil Finish. I did what they
said: Apply, wait 5-10 minutes, "buff". Result: Very slight visible
"finish". The buffing seemed to remove a lot of the "oil", or
whatever it actually is.
The next evening I repeated the Minwax procedure. Same result, more or
less. It didn't seem to build up much of a finish. In addition, I was
surprised to see that the cloth I was using picked up a little of the
dye color, even on the second coat. I decided to see what would happen
if I applied the Minwax product and just left it there.
I looked at it the next night. No surprise. It was quite glossy. Too
glossy for my taste. I used some steel wool on it to take down the
gloss. I don't know the "grade" of steel wool. I bought it eons ago
for another project.
I then decided to apply some Butcher's Wax Bowling Alley Paste. (also
lying around the garage for a while) Rubbed some on. Too much, I
suspect. Waited ten minutes or so. Buffed it with a T-Shirt.
Here's what I like about the result: There's no obvious "thickness" to
the finish, like poly can tend to have. It just looks like really
smooth medium lustre wood and you can really see the color and grain.
I think I like the idea of an oil finish as opposed to poly, and the
wax really gave the scrap piece a nice sheen. But I suspect that this
Minwax product is not that great.
I also wonder about the "buffing". I did it by hand on the scrap but
the whole piece, while not overly large, will require a fair amount of
elbow grease. I saw a couple of drill attachments online. One was a
brush, the other a pad of some kind. Are any of these any good? Does
the "rotary" nature of these gadgets leave unattractive patterns in
the wax? Was the T-Shirt a good choice, or should I have used a
chamois or something else?
Responses that use words like "novice" rather than "idiot" would be