Wood Finishing

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Don_S

Wood Finishing
« on: 24 Feb 2019, 08:18 pm »
What are your favorite wood finishes?  I am getting a new audio rack built from walnut. The builder showed me a cutting board made out of the same wood (same tree) and finished with something+beeswax.  WOW! The grain in the wood I am getting is spectacular.  He did not recommend beeswax finish for audio equipment.

I want something that will bring out the grain.  Darkening a little is OK, maybe even good. But I do not want a built up finish like varnish. The beeswax looked a little "wet" and that was good. I have used tung oil and Osmo hardwax oil in the past. I may choose one of those again but I thought I would check with others for their experience.  Both of those products proved satisfactory but I do not think they displayed grain the best and have a somewhat "dry" appearance.

The only tubes in my system at this time are small signal tubes so heat should not be a problem.

Thanks for any suggestions.

WGH

Re: Wood Finishing
« Reply #1 on: 24 Feb 2019, 08:37 pm »
Waterlox Original Sealer Finish is the best, it is a thin tung oil sealer/finish that all us woodworkers use. I finished my mesquite speakers with Waterlox.
https://www.waterlox.com/


srb

Re: Wood Finishing
« Reply #2 on: 24 Feb 2019, 08:52 pm »
I have used Danish Oil finishes (mostly Watco) for many years, and it seems to bring out the grain and figuring more than than all other oil stains I've used.  They are made with Tung oil, coloring and a varnish-type component.

But they are not really suitable for bar tops, tabletops or other surfaces that might be exposed to water and alcohol.

However, on my audio rack I decided to put a poly finish over the danish oil anyway for durability when sliding equipment around, and used synthetic fine and polishing pads to give it a natural-looking satin finish.

In my experience, the key to a good danish oil finish is to give it three coats, power sanding each coat into the wood with a finishing sander and #600 wet/dry paper.  After the final coat is applied and allowed to soak in for 15 - 30 minutes, it is wiped dry so that no pigment is picked up by the wiping rag.

After curing for at least 72 hours, it can be further protected and enhanced with a protectant, and for that I've been using Howard's Feed-N-Wax which is a beeswax and orange oil mixture.

My go-to Watco color is Medium Walnut, and even thought they make clear and an assortment of colors, the Medium Walnut has amazingly given me the color I want on most all hardwoods - Oak, Cherry, Mahogany .... and even Walnut!

It sounds like the Waterlox that WGH recommends is a similar product, and no question he's finished a lot more wood that I have!

audioengr

Re: Wood Finishing
« Reply #3 on: 24 Feb 2019, 09:36 pm »
In the remodel I did in 2015, I used Minwax stain/finish combination after using their stain blocker on all doors and trim.  Always use stain blocker before a stain/finish to eliminate streaking and get an even stain.  Sand first, then wipe with clean cloth, then stain blocker, then minwax stain/finish, then additional coats of clear finish if you need it.  If the minwax is good enough, stop there.

If you must have a glassy finish, then use multiple coats of lacquer over the stained wood and sand with fine sandpaper between coats.  If you don't do this, you will never get a glassy or smooth finish.

Steve N.

Peter J

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Re: Wood Finishing
« Reply #4 on: 25 Feb 2019, 12:00 am »
Second on Waterlox. It looks especially good on Walnut.  Easy to apply, although I do it a little differently from instructions. It's got just enough orange-ish color to make the heartwood of walnut look terrific.


This was finished with their satin sheen.




randytsuch

Re: Wood Finishing
« Reply #5 on: 25 Feb 2019, 04:53 pm »
Not sure if this will work in your case, with someone else building it.

But in the few projects I've made, I like to get a piece of scrap wood, and then sand down like I will the final project (so wood is just like it will be in the project)
then tape off sections, and try different finishes.  Then you can see what the finishes look like, and pick the one you like best.

I've only made small projects that take a long time, so I can do this.

EDIT:  as an aside, I wish I could get Waterlox.  In Calif, there are lots of air quality regulations, so I either have to get the low emissions versions, or can't get at all.

2nd EDIT:  Shellac on top of oil is an option, but if you don't like lacquer you may not like shellac either.  Shellac will give some protection, should be enough for an audio rack.  IMHO, either one is better than a poly finish.  Poly's have the reputation for plasticky looking finish. 

Randy

Don_S

Re: Wood Finishing
« Reply #6 on: 25 Feb 2019, 05:23 pm »
Thank you everyone.   Looks like several recommendations are for tung oil-based products.  I already have some Hopes pure tung oil.

https://www.dtep.com/hc02001.htm

If I use tung oil I might thin the first coat with paint thinner but that is nasty to work with due to the odor.

I had considered staining the walnut first and still might go that way.  I asked the builder to save me some scrap pieces to try different finishes on.  I may have to sand them down first.

On my existing maple rack I used Osmo hardwax oil and then a coat of Minwax finishing wax on the top shelf. It was a lot of work rubbing most of the wax off again so only a little remained but I did like the results.

I have to be careful what I use as far as how hard I have to work to wipe off whatever I apply. I am undergoing physical therapy for my shoulder.  My dominant arm is half asleep while I am typing this.

Interesting story about the wood I am getting.  It is Claro walnut (California walnut) from a tree that fell down near a local river. It is probably 100% California walnut vs grafts found in orchards. My builder harvested wood from the tree using a massive chainsaw mounted on rails. Now he has to plane and join the boards.  I saw the slabs with bark on them waiting to be worked. Not kiln-dried but aged.

https://www.wood-database.com/claro-walnut/


Bob2

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Re: Wood Finishing
« Reply #7 on: 25 Feb 2019, 05:27 pm »

This is what I use...

To get this.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000BZZ5C2/ref=ox_sc_saved_title_1?smid=A1AUFI5NHGNZ61&psc=1

It can be brushed on but I spray it.
Dries very fast. Can be wet sanded and buffed. Touch ups are invisible. 

randytsuch

Re: Wood Finishing
« Reply #8 on: 25 Feb 2019, 05:29 pm »
For sanding, I have a decent Milwaukee ROS, loop/loc pad, and I bought this stuff
https://www.amazon.com/Mirka-9A-232-AP-Abranet-5-Inch-Discs/dp/B005EG0AFA

They seem to last a long time, and really easy to switch to finer grit to work you way down to a smooth finish.

galyons

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Re: Wood Finishing
« Reply #9 on: 25 Feb 2019, 05:42 pm »
Sounds like the sample you saw was finished in  Tried & True or similar. I use T&T finishes on all of my audio equjpment. Old school. Low, to no toxicity.   Easy to maintain and touch up.  A bit of elbow grease is required, but it produces a classic finish that highlights the character of the wood.

Cheers,
Geary

Don_S

Re: Wood Finishing
« Reply #10 on: 25 Feb 2019, 06:18 pm »
Sounds like the sample you saw was finished in  Tried & True or similar. I use T&T finishes on all of my audio equjpment. Old school. Low, to no toxicity.   Easy to maintain and touch up.  A bit of elbow grease is required, but it produces a classic finish that highlights the character of the wood.

Cheers,
Geary

Quite possible.  T&T is available at Woodcraft Supply and my builder used to work there.  Maybe he still does but his commute would be 50 miles each way since he moved.

Rusty Jefferson

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Re: Wood Finishing
« Reply #11 on: 25 Feb 2019, 07:16 pm »
I use rubbed oil finishes infrequently compared to film alkyd finishes, but when I do, I like finishes from this company. http://www.sutherlandwelles.com  They have a product called Hard Oil/Hard Oil Sealer on the products page. Nice to use. Very controlled build/sheen. They also sell a variety of other Tung Oil finishes.

Don't need to be afraid of film coatings however.  When I finished my rack off several years ago I used 3 thin coats of varnish (2 gloss, 1 satin) on the Walnut legs, and the same schedule with waterbase on the Maple shelves. The Walnut has the characteristic brown/red color with plenty of grain showing, and the Maple won't yellow. Plus, 5-6 years on now and it still looks new. Don't have to re-oil it to keep it looking nice over time.

 




Don_S

Re: Wood Finishing
« Reply #12 on: 30 Apr 2019, 04:18 pm »
I received my rack yesterday. Excellent fit and craftsmanship. Now it is time for me to apply the finish. I do not like the look of a built-up (varnish) finish.  I also don't trust myself to do it right. My right arm and shoulder do not always work the way I would like and motor control suffers.

Since many recommendations were for Tung oil-based products and I have almost a gallon of Tung oil I have decided to use it thinned with paint thinner. Maybe I will go undiluted for the final coat. I need to see how things go. Rubbed on oil finishes are more forgiving as long as the finish is not allowed to dry too much before wiping off.

Here are some pictures of my unfinished rack.  Claro walnut from local trees.  The rack builder cut the trees and harvested the wood.

















 

Peter J

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Re: Wood Finishing
« Reply #13 on: 30 Apr 2019, 05:23 pm »
Mmmm, Walnut. I can almost smell it! I imagine you CAN smell it.

Be aware that pure Tung Oil (no driers) will make for long cure times. Not really a problem, but a characteristic of the material. It's one of the things that most of the formulated finishes mentioned aim to speed up.

Don_S

Re: Wood Finishing
« Reply #14 on: 30 Apr 2019, 06:19 pm »
Peter,

I tested straight tung oil on some wood scraps and if the first coat of oil is wiped off before it gets tacky it dries quickly.  I plan to thin with at least 1 part paint thinner to 2 parts oil for the first coat. Hope's recommends 1/1.

Have you seen the price of Osmo Hardwax oil recently?  $53 for 0.75L.  :o

Peter J

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Re: Wood Finishing
« Reply #15 on: 30 Apr 2019, 11:44 pm »
To be honest, it's been years since I've used straight tung oil.   Waterlox, Sutherland Wells, and some others I'm sure. All either polymerized or somehow modified.  Polymerized will get harder and offer more protection, but perhaps you don't need that.


If it applies and appears as you want, use it. It will still impart a nice warm tone. Most all oils or alkyds will amber with age. On dark woods that typically equates to a nice patina, but as pointed out, unstained maple will start to look yellow, which doesn't flatter it at all. And there's no easy way to reverse it.


I occasionally use wax, but haven't heard of Osmo. Is must be the shizzle for the price, though!

Don_S

Re: Wood Finishing
« Reply #16 on: 30 Apr 2019, 11:58 pm »
Osmo is an oil.  Not sure why they call it "hardwax".  Very durable. It is used on floors in Europe and England.

I actually had enough left for two coats on the posts and shelf tops. Maybe even enough for the shelf bottoms too. I did thin it by washing out the can with paint thinner and putting everything in a glass jar. There was a dramatic shift in color.  Much darker now.  I will post "after" pictures after.

The closeup photographs exaggerate the joint gaps.  They are actually much tighter.

bladesmith

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Re: Wood Finishing
« Reply #17 on: 1 May 2019, 12:11 am »
Teak wood oil is great. 
Several coats. They use to cover
The decks if boats that traveled
In the open seas with  teakwood oil.
I use it on many things.. 

The options are endless.

Good luck..

Don_S

Re: Wood Finishing
« Reply #18 on: 6 May 2019, 06:05 pm »
Here is the finished rack. I had trouble capturing the rich brown color with my camera. I used natural light but it is very overcast today. Pictures came out somewhat to the red side and do not do justice to the beautiful grain and final appearance. And my carpet is really a light milk chocolate.  :(

I used two coats of Osmo HardWax Oil thinned 1/1 with paint thinner.  I used a test piece to compare it to tung oil and could not see any difference. I judged Osmo to be harder since it is used on floors. I had just enough Osmo to finish the project.   I wanted to finish the can before it spoiled.

FYI, tung oil gets a bad rap for not drying.  I think those people are using it straight or mixed with some other material (i.e. not pure tung oil). The Hope's website recommends thinning their pure tung oil 1/1 with paint thinner.  I used some that way and it dried in a few hours although I would still wait a day between coats.  It was a pleasure to work with thinned.  It went on easily and wiped off easily and seemed to give good penetration.  I used it underneath the bottom two shelves when I ran out of Osmo. I am going to use it on my next project, an unfinished microwave cart.












randytsuch

Re: Wood Finishing
« Reply #19 on: 6 May 2019, 06:22 pm »
Its a shame to cover the wood with equipment  :wink: