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  • Red Oak--How to finish?

    I just purchased the book, “Fantasy & Legend Scroll Saw Puzzles” by Judy and Dave Peterson published by Fox Chapel (thanks BobD, you publish some good books). Some great puzzles are in there. I am very anxious to start one; I’m going to do the Hippogriff for my grown son for Christmas. This will be my first hard wood project. I'm thinking of doing it in ¾ or 1 inch Red Oak. My question is how do you finish this type of wood? I would like a high gloss finish and of course red. Do I put any stain (...and I’m not so sure about the applying the stain part) on it or just sand it out and put on high gloss polyurethane? I am going to try the finial sanding with brown paper sack. I do want it to look very good being for Christmas and all.

    Thanks,

    Bill
    Last edited by wwalker47; 06-27-2005, 04:55 PM.
    -Bill

    My saw is a DeWalt788 Measure twice; cut once; count fingers after cut

  • #2
    Red Oak

    There are so many ways to finish hardwoods.
    I prefer not to use a stain, unless it is like a segmentation project.
    I like waterbased polyurethane. It is easy to clean up and the paperbag sanding works well. It also dries quite quickly. I just picked up a magazine on finishing and I may see things differently after I read it. But for now I have had great success with the poly.

    I also like to use tung oil to enhance the grain, I havent tried tung oli with the waterbased poly and I am not sure if it would work... maybe someone with a little more finish can help there
    CAЯL HIRD-RUTTEЯ
    "proud member of the best scroll sawing forum on the net."
    Ryobi SC180VS scroll saw EX21

    Comment


    • #3
      Bill

      I am not sure what kind of puzzle this is. I am guessing it is a free standing type. This is why you want to use a thicker wood. Well you can use 3/4" and do not use 1" way to expensive. Here again choosing oak it would be ashame to color the wood. But if you decide to do this you can use a dye and you say it has to be red. I would use the RIT dyes which you can get in any food store or Walmarts or crafts store and mix it with denatured alcohol. I would not use water because water on oak will leave black stains. After you dye it and you may have to dye it a few coats depending on the intensity of the color you are after. You then can coat it with a gloss poly or lacquer. Another way to add color is to paint it but this hides the grain more. You can use a high gloss poly paint which you can get at any Home Depot or Lowes. Good luck.

      One other thing cutting 3/4" oak and wanting to use it for a puzzle can be tricky but make sure when cutting not to put sideward presure and let the saw do the cutting.
      John T.

      Comment


      • #4
        I have done, and some other's here have done the Unicorn (mine without the horn). I just sanded it down (Hard Maple) with 1500 grit. Mostly because I was giving this too a 5 year old girl. You never know if it will find a 'mouth' and I hated the idea of any finish on it.

        I agree not to stain the red oak. If anything, a polyurathane would probably be best.

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks for the advice and answers. Yes, it is a free standing puzzle. As I said I wasn't too sure that staining a hard wood was a real good idea, so I won't. You see I am use to using pine so much that when I want a dark finish I do stain. No, the puzzle doesn't need to be red I just thought it would look good in that color, actually the one in the book is, If I can remember correctly, is cut in walnut, and that looked good too.

          I know hard wood is more difficult to cut than the soft woods, what kind of advice do you have on the cutting part? Is a number 5 blade too small?

          Thanks,

          Bill
          -Bill

          My saw is a DeWalt788 Measure twice; cut once; count fingers after cut

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by wwalker47

            I know hard wood is more difficult to cut than the soft woods, what kind of advice do you have on the cutting part? Is a number 5 blade too small?

            Thanks,

            Bill
            Depends on how sharp your turns are going to be... the kerf on a bigger blade may give you unwanted space or movement in the puzzle.

            Comment


            • #7
              For me, I like a spray finish for irregularly-shaped pieces. I've been using Deft spay finish, which they used to call lacquer but now they call finish, with a lot of satisfaction.

              As for cutting thick hardwood, think of it as thick, hard wood and make up your mind that you're going to cut slowly. Let the blade eat the wood and don't push too hard. A number 5 may be a little undersized for 3/4" oak, but you're making a puzzle and you don't want a big kerf. Experiment with a bigger blade, but you'll probably compromise on the 5 or 7 for a reasonable kerf.

              More important than the number of the blade with thick wood is the type of blade. A skip tooth is better than, say, a crown tooth, because with the chips and dust trapped inside all that thickness of wood, you need the space between the teeth for the dust to inhabit. I do a lot of thick maple and walnut cutting and I've settled on a skip tooth PGT blade. This has reverse teeh at the bottom to give a clean cut on the underside. I usually use a #7 or 9 because in what I have been doing lately I don't care about the size of the kerf.

              When using this blade, remember it is aggressive and it also has a great tendency to pull the workpiece off the table and slam it up and down. This happens most when you (1) push too hard, (2) push to one side or the other instead of straight into the blade, or (3) let your mind wander and don't keep a good grip on the piece.

              Comment


              • #8
                Staining red oak

                Bill.....you can get a nice effect on red oak by staining it with Minwax Red Mahogany. With small pieces such as a puzzle you can dip them right in the can of stain, let them dry a few minutes then wipe the stain back off. The only problem is that some brush on poly's do not work well over Red Mahogany. I've used water based, fast drying, spray poly with good results.
                If it don't fit, don't force it....get a bigger hammer!!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Bill,
                  I cut 10 or maybe it was 11 puzzles by those same people (the Nativity scene) using poplar. Terrific pattern, by the way. I cut one in red oak. It was pretty tricky, because the blade wants to bend a bit more - you really gotta go slowly, and keep an eagle eye on that blade - if it begins to slant, slow down even more, and let it come back to perpendicular (loosen your hold just a bit). I didn't do any more in oak because the grain was pretty coarse, and the pores in the wood seemed to detract from the pattern. So choose yer wood carefully.
                  Before I cut, I sanded the wood top and bottom - I went down (or up) to 400 grit - that is almost polishing the wood. Then cut it out carefully with a reverse tooth 5 or 7 Flying Dutchman blade, and used fine sandpaper just on the sharp edges to barely take off that knife edge.
                  I came to scrolling from carving, and I feel that a high gloss is an affront to the wood, so if you really want high gloss, stop reading here. I dipped the darker pieces in a minwax stain, dried them, and then dipped everything in Watco. (Danish Oil Finish). After a coupl'a days, sanded with a paper bag and a quick dip back into the watco. Coupl'a days to dry, and put them together to sell/give away.
                  I'm thinking that if you get too much finish (like a spray-on gloss) on the matching faces of the puzzle, fitting together may be a bit of a problem.
                  Puzzles are about my favorite projects so far. Good luck on your project - I know that your son will love it!
                  Sandy

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    This forum is so good I can’t believe it, everyone is so kind and full of good advice.



                    Sandy- Thanks for your input. This got me thinking and maybe I don’t want to do the puzzle in Red Oak. Is Poplar a hard wood and easer to work with? Will it stain well? How about Ash? I could leave that natural. After all how could a million baseball bats be wrong? I haven’t been doing scroll sawing very long as you can tell by my elementary questions.



                    Thanks again for everyone’s input and help.



                    Bill
                    -Bill

                    My saw is a DeWalt788 Measure twice; cut once; count fingers after cut

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      good wood

                      I love working with maple, must be a Canadian thing I have used poplar and it does cut well and is quite strong.
                      I am not sure how it takes a stain.
                      Maple takes stain well and is strong!
                      CAЯL HIRD-RUTTEЯ
                      "proud member of the best scroll sawing forum on the net."
                      Ryobi SC180VS scroll saw EX21

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Poplar (or aspen) is a soft "hardwood". (As a forester, anything with broad leaves is considered "hardwood". Pines, spruce, etc. are considered "softwoods".)

                        Maybe there is a better quality poplar wood out there than what I have used, but what I used I found too much trouble to bother with - not in the cutting, but in the finishing ~ The only way I could get a smooth finish was to first varnish the piece, then sand - otherwise it wouldn't smooth down.

                        Ash I think would work well - it should be easier to cut than the oak.

                        One tip on staining that I picked up from an "expert" at one of the woodworking shows I attended - whenever you stain something, flood the piece of wood with the stain, don't just brush it on. That is supposed to give a more even color to your project.

                        T
                        Theresa

                        http://WoodNGoods.weebly.com

                        http://woodngoods.blogspot.com

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Poplar

                          Bill.....Poplar is a good wood for scrolling. It's classified as a hardwood but is not near as dense as oak or walnut. If you select a nice clear piece of poplar it will stain almost any color you could want. The only problem is that most poplar boards will have shades of brown, green and purple in the wood that get darker the longer they are exposed to the air. You just have to be careful to pick out good clear stock. Maple is also a good choice. Ash is a good wood but is harder than a woodpecker's lips!!!
                          If it don't fit, don't force it....get a bigger hammer!!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Bill,
                            I find poplar to be a medium density hardwood. What I get is not the same as aspen, which is even softer, and very light in color. It (poplar) is pretty durable for the puzzles with some detail in them. I think the Watco (danish oil) hardens them up a bit more. It might not be durable enough for a puzzle with a lot of detail that would get hard use, like by kids. You do need to choose your board - just find one that is light in color, with close grain. Or take your pattern with you, and try it on the wood. You might find an interesting streak of color - green, brown, pinkish, or even burgundy that would look good, for instance, on the tail or mane or sumthin'.
                            As for finishing, I buy mine at Home Depo or ocassionally Lowes, and it has always finished up really spiffy - after the Watco it is smooth and wants to be touched - has that nice wood feeling.
                            I think ash or maple, or walnut, or even cherry would all be good choices, too. If you have a real hardwood dealer nearby, you could just look around. Just avoid the "softwoods" - the ones from evergreens or needle-bearing trees - like pine, fir, cedar, juniper, spruce - you probably get the picture.
                            You might get enough wood to cut it twice - I find that each one varies, and then you could pick the best one for son (and the other to some other lucky person),
                            Good luck with whatever you try, and let us know how it comes out.
                            Sandy

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Poplar, Aspen and Cottonwood are all members of the same family, Populus. There are approximately 15 different species, all of which are sometimes referred to as poplar, so one needs to be careful when ordering by mail to insure you're getting what you think your getting. Fortunately most DYI stores carry them so you can get a look see. The ones here differentiate between Aspen and Poplar (some do not).

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