I've just about completed the high chair I've been working on and tell the
truth I've nervous about the finish. It's looking good with it's rock maple
and walnut accents and I'd hate to mess it up. It needs a good durable
finish that's easy to clean up. I need something fool proof since this
isn't the time to experiment. Any suggestions? Remember, baby, food, easily
"If you are arrogant, who's going to care if you're the best?"
Suggestion #1: Practice on scrap material left over from the project
Suggestion #2: Reread #1. <G>
I'd go with a high-quality, urethane product thinned 50/50 and wiped
on. Waterlox's Urethane Varnish comes to mind. Woodcraft sells it at
$18-20 qt. At times, you may need to do everything short of hose this
thing down, so I'd stay away from finishes that are easily damaged by
wet sponges and cleaning products.
*Short* of hose it down? Been awhile since you had babies, hasn't it? :)
Sometimes you'll have to get the fire department to come out with one of
their big hoses just to get the crud off the thing. :)
I'd definitely go with some kind of indestructible, high quality poly also.
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < email@example.com>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
I disagree with the wipe on poly. I made a high chair and put at least 8
coats of wipe on poly on it and the kid is 22 months old and the high chair
looks like crap. I'm going to refinish it when the kid is out of it so his
parents can keep it as an heirloom. Stay away from wipe on poly for the high
I disagree, this IS the time to experiment, just not on the project. Test
your finish and technique on scrap first. Plan your approach to your
project carefully before you begin. And take your time when you do the
application. A couple hours with a good book on finishing (e.g. Jewitt's
book) now will make you a lot more comfortable.
For your project, I'd go with thinned poly.
And, most importantly, devise some sort of seatbelt. You'll be amazed how
the little ones can wiggle and squirm and dive off high chairs.
I'm afraid I have to buck the trend here. I'd go with a Danish oil and paste
Fool proof to apply and rejuvenate. If you don't let the collateral damage a
rug rat can cause when eating, splashes, food shrapnel, etc. sit for hours
it won't cause any damage to the finish that can't be easily repaired with a
new coat of wax or oil. Get it right off and just a rewax of the eating
surface once and awhile should suffice..
No guarantees of course and I can't deny that a varnish would be far more
bullet proof but harder to apply but it is the way I would go.
Note, I've had five of my own and a grand child.
Done a little bit of finishing. If you are reticent about the finishing
process, I would go with wipe on poly or oil and wax finish. The poly is
tough but hard to repair; the oil is easy to repair but not as tough. Both
are easy to apply - no brainers.
My favorite oil is - http://www.triedandtruewoodfinish.com/varnish.htm and
yes, I get $15 for every recommendation.
Someone else mentioned that this is the time to experiement. I agree.
Get a piece of maple and sand/plane it just the way you did the high
chair, and then execute the complete finishing schedule. I used to be
deathly afraid of finishing and then I dunno... I just changed my
attitude about it and adopted it as every bit as interesting as the
rest of the woodDorking hobby (shaping, planing, sawing, etc.)
I'd be inclined to use shellac, with either boiled linseed oil (BLO)
or walnut oil as an undercoat. BLO gives a bit darker amber hue.
Thin the oil 1:1 with turpentine or mineral spirits, wipe it on and
then wipe off all you can, pretty much immediately. Use a 1.5# cut of
shellac (you can use pre-mixed stuff like SealCoat - by Zinsser, and
cut 1:1 with alcohol or mix your own using flakes) and wipe it on with
a rag. Someone else mentioned books by Jeff Jewitt. I second that.
Now, there's a reason to use shellac on something like a high chair.
Dewaxed shellac (as in either flakes or the Zinsser SealCoat) isn't
bothered by water or baby food. It's much more durable than oil/wax,
and ridiculously easy to repair. It's also foolproof to apply. If
you hose it up, you can simply strip it off with alcohol. Simple!
The fact is, there are no invincible finishes, and so anyhting you
choose is a compromise. My experience as a (former) finish supplier
has made me a firm believer in repairability being a huge
consideration when contemplating a finish.
For lots more, try googling on "shellac rub-out" "shellac brushing"
and so on.
My two cents.
After you sand/plane the piece of scrap, run some shallow table saw kerfs,
making several areas you can finish independently without the finishes
intermingling. I did this for SWMBO -- put a different finish on each of
the 4 sections and let her choose what she wanted. ;-)
I'd like to add that writing each finishing step on the back of the
test board is also a good idea. Having the steps written down makes
problem solving or repeating the success much easier.
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