How hard is this finish compared to just a straight polyurethane? I
love this stuff and I'm using it on my latest project but I'm not sure
if I need a topcoat of straight poly to enhance durability (it's a
bench that will have bags and what not placed on it)
Good question :) It's pretty much the only finish I've used and has
given me great results each time I've used it. It enhances the color
of the wood, makes it feel silky smooth and gives it a lot of depth. I
figured just using straight poly wouldn't pop the grain of the walnut
& birdseye maple as much as first using the oil/poly mix and then
using a protective coat of poly. Bad idea?
Poly/oil leaves a soft film; which you probably don't want under poly.
On some woods (butternut for instance) I use Linseed Oil under poly. Since
oil doesn't leave any film, it doesn't do any harm.
Walnut would probably be a bit darker with oil then poly, but I doubt you
would see any difference from just poly on maple.
Urethane is a resin. It is mixed with an oil vehicle in greater or lesser
proportions to harden the finish. If Sam's is a long-oil varnish, which the
advertising seems to indicate, it will give a more flexible, though softer
film than a short-oil/urethane varnish. You can put oils over oils with
impunity, though they want a mechanical bond you create with sanding.
Since oil is the vehicle in any oil-based (poly)urethane, it's only a matter
of oil color which would make a difference in the tone of your walnut.
Minwax seems to be soy, which is lighter than linseed.
Why, indeed ... re-read the original post.
This particular finishing method/technique imparts a unique luster/patina to
the wood that, thus far in my experience, can only be obtained by
handrubbing the oil/poly finish with loving care, then following up with the
oil/poly/wax mixture ... probably one of the reasons why Sam chose to use
it so often.
Keeping that fresh "hand rubbed" look is a "once a week for a month, once a
month for a year, once a year forever" proposition.
Despite the fact that the finish should match the intended use, vis a vis
durability, is it any wonder that someone would reasonably want to at least
explore the possibilities of a seal coat that keep the look, but result in a
bit more durability/less work?
Count me, as well as Damian, in that category ... ;)
As I said, I have historically resisted the temptation for reasons already
stated, but wonder nonetheless.
Maybe it's time to do a little experimentation .. right, Damian? ;)
I don't put poly "on top" of anything. The use of shellac on top of a
oil/poly finish, as a possible top coat if the need ever arose, was _my_
I admit I don't know the answer ... and it appears I'm not the only one. ;)
Are you now talking about the original he uses on the chairs? This is
the stuff with wax, or are you talking about his long oil line?
I'd bet on the long oil there would be no problems. But if you did
the one-two punch and put the beeswax stuff on top as additional
finish, that would be something I wouldn't be a project on.
I'd bet that the key is how much beeswax there actually is in the
product. The beeswax mix seems to stay pretty soft, making me thing
that there is plenty in it to do some damage to a subsequent finishing
I refinished a table top that had candle wax dripped on it, and
cleaned it with naptha. I could still see the wax, but not much. I
brused some blond dewaxed on it and it held on. I was never sure
though.. not 100% anyway as to whether the shellac just "bridged" the
droplets or if it actually adhered.
It seemed to adhere, and the finish that went over it went on fine as
well. But I would sure go the route you guys are though, and try it
out first on a piece of similar wood.
The original is simply an oil/poly mixture, hand rubbed with multiple coats.
The oil/poly/wax mixture is considered an extra, final step (or an ongoing
future application to refresh the finish), which would not be necessary if a
seal coat, like shellac, could be applied.
I've never had the need to apply a seal coat on top of the oil/poly finish
(and it may never even come up), but have always been curious as to whether
it would work?
That's the question.
I would suspect that is the case also ... but that step could be left out
with no detriment to the oil/poly finish.
That's certainly the prudent way to find out. I have never had the
opportunity to find out, but, it would nice to know if the need arose.
I don't use it on things subject to a lot of knocks. Lots of turnings,
shelves, things like that, but nothing big. Not sure why it wouldn't do, I
You might run into a problem with adhesion if there's a full surface finish
Someone over on the FineWoodworking boards brought up the point that
Maloof uses this finish on his chairs which I'd imagine would get
about as much abuse as I expect this bench to get (i.e sat on every
now and then and bags placed on) so perhaps the finish would be fine
as it stands. Thoughts?
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