Sunday, January 14, 2007

Finishing the Finish

Finally the table is glued up and I am at the dreaded stage for most woodworkers which is what finish to apply. There are many choices between using oil (tung, linseed), varnish, lacquer, shellac and on we go. Part of the difficulty with finishing is that I can conceptually see how things are built....the reason I like woodworking. But when it comes to finishes which is chemical reactions...I loose all understanding. Maybe why I did not do well in Chemistry.

I did a number of sample pieces of wood which I could not really tell a difference on. I tried clear and amber Shellac and for some reason did not like the Shellac. Many woodworkers seem to rave about Shellac being the next best things since sliced bread but I did not get too excited. I also tried boiled linseed oil(BLO) directly and mixed with mineral spirits 50/50. That looked fairly good. I also tried Watco Danish Oil which is a wiping varnish that also looked good. To be honest, I really could not tell much of a difference.

My wife liked the BLO with no mixture so I decided to do an approximate 70/30 mixture of BLO and Mineral Spirits. She liked the darker color even though I believe it is going to darken up over time with the BLO. I have put one coat on so far and will probably add another couple of coats and give it a final rub down with paste wax.

This is my first piece of furniture that I have made that will actually be inside our home. It is very exciting to see it coming to a completion. Here is a picture of the first coat on our kitchen table (the garage is too cold to finish in). I have to say I have a great wife to let me use the kitchen table as a finishing table.

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