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  • inquiring minds want to know

    I was looking over the number of posts in the forum and I see that the finishing posts seem to number less.
    I am not sure if many people don't finish the projects, know what they are doing, or are just to afraid to ask.

    I have been using MinWax Tung oil lately, and I still havent quite got the hang of it.
    I have seen some beautiful pieces finished with Tung oil. I guess I will have to work on the buffing of it.

    I tried dipping the fretwork the other day, I do like the way that works.
    I also use water based poly products, I like the water clean up. and I dont mind sanding with 320 between coats, I have also used the crumpled paper bag with some success.

    I am asking the finishing Gurus, what are the advantages of BLO as a finish.
    I do recall in highschool, back when woodworking tools were made of stone, we used linseed oil and shellac., Are these finishes of the past?
    When do you use varish?

    Do any of you use wax as a finish?

    Thats about it for now. I will be asking lots about sandpaper soon.
    "proud member of the best scroll sawing forum on the net."
    Ryobi SC180VS scroll saw EX21

  • #2
    Carl, most of my work is fret or fret like. I like dipping in tung oil then once dry, I apply one or two light coats of tung oil on the outer face surfaces. I have also used the same method with "Wipe on Poly" like products. I tried linseed oil but did not like the smell or results.

    Creator of fine designer sawdust.


    • #3
      Linseed oil is in heavier use than a lot of folks realize. There are "Tung Oil Finishes" that contain it and it is the primary ingredient in the Danish Oil products that I have seen details on (you didn't really think they squeezed it out of Danes, did you?). I have used a spirit BLO (half and half) mix a lot. It takes a few coats over a few days and it does have a smell for a while. I do dip and drip with an old large cake pan. I mix a jar for the project and our it back in after each coat. I don't put enough in to submerge (I don't do thin stuff much) but flip it over a few times, then pour off and wipe off.


      • #4
        I like to dip my fretwork items in Tung oil in an aluminum cake pan with
        one edge of the pan squeezed in a "V" so I can pour the Tung oil back
        into the can when I am done.

        Larger items get Boiled Linseed Oil first as it really bring out the grain in
        the wood. I top coat with clear shellac, sand with 320 grit paper, and
        apply a good paste wax.

        So I really use and like all three: Tung oil, shellac, and wax.


        • #5
          If I were not always late with my work, I would use oil, probably a tung-oil-based varnish like Waterlox. But you can't deliver your work for a full week because of the smell. When I'm running late, I use Shellac alone. It dries fast and leaves no smell. Deft and Krylon lacquer are good, in that regard, but the smell in the air (as opposed to on the piece) gets into the heating system and goes all over the house. I wouldn't use those again unless I had a real spray booth with external venting and a good respirator.

          I used to use a water-based polyacrylic on my instruments, but I haven't tried it on fretwork.

          Tung oil, Walnut oil, Linseed Oil, or any other pure oil I've tried doesn't give a hard finish except after many applications over a long time. During that time the surface is a dust magnet, too. That's why they put driers and solids into Danish oil, Waterlox, Watco, and other oil-based finishes.


          • #6
            For scrollwork in hardwoods, I typically dunk in Danish oil and spray a few coats of Deft over it.
            On my furniture pieces, depending on its intended use, I'll use Danish or Tung Oil, varnish, shellac, polyurethane, beeswax or some combination thereof.

            Scrollsaw Patterns Online
            Making holes in wood with an EX-30, Craftsman 16" VS, Dremel 1680 and 1671


            • #7
              I'm curious. Since the discussion involves just about every kind of "finish", whatever happened to "rub on" tung oil that was used for a "hand-rubbed" finish? It did that because you used your hands to apply it and rubbed it into the wood. Formby's used to make one kind that I used on several furniture projects long ago. And, yes, I still have my hands and they work. Was that just before we all became paranoid? I haven't seen any in awhile and Formby's still sells its other products. Along these same lines is the old question of the combustion problem with BLO. We used it a lot in art classes (painting) but it did stink and took forever to dry. The BLO soaked rags and brushes were susceptible to spontaneous combustion. Isn't it still that way?
              Old Mooner


              • #8
                Formby's still makes Tung Oil. I've got a can that I use on certain projects. I also use BLO mixed with Mineral Spirits, 1oz BLO to 3 ozs MS. I dip or wipe it on 1/8" ornaments and blow off the excess with the compressor after 5 minutes.
                Any oily rag is susceptible to spontaneous combustion under the right conditions. I put mine outside to dry before I throw them away.

                There's a fine line between woodworking and insanity, I'm just not sure which side of the line I'm on!


                • #9

                  Wow! You guys are way out front of me in the use of different finishes. I started as a carver, got a scroll saw about a month ago, and use both media in my projects. As to finishes, I apply a liberl amount of BLO (uncut) to the wood, wait about 15 minutes and wipe off excess and let dry for five days. Then I apply multiple coats of polyurathane that is cut 50/50 with mineral spirits. This process gives a good pop to the wood's grain and is simple to do. I don't use stain often as I love to see the natural grain and color come through on my pieces. Like I said, I new and open to other recommendations, suggestions, etc.

                  Cliff Hanger


                  • #10
                    I like to put a clear natural stain on my pieces, then I brush on a heavy coat of tung oil, wait about five min, then wipe off the excess, after about 4 hours I apply a second coat of tung oil by hand and hand rub it in. If a third coat is needed or spot applications I do that by hand rubbing the tung oil in also.

                    I use this for my scroll projects as well as for furniture projects.


                    DeWalt 788

                    aut viam inveniam aut faciam

                    God gives us only what we can handle.. Apparently God thinks I am one tough cookie.....


                    • #11

                      This is my scrollwork finishning,not my other furniture,or turning finishing method. I dip (if possible) the scrolled work into a cakepan of Watco danish oil.I let it soak a few minutes, then lift it out and set it on a pile of paper toweling.On pieces undippable I spreay a mist of danish oil on it,from every angle,so its dripping off it. This can be messy on large fretwork clocks, so pick a decent day and do the spraying outdoors.I spray it on with a cheap misting bottle from the dollar store or WALly world, it works great and its cheap! After the oilsoaked project sits a while,like a few minutes, I use compressed air to blow off any excess,concentrating mainly on the veining cuts. Then I wipe the surfaces off good with paper towel,and let the project sit and dry at least 24 hours. Then, I spray on a couple coats of Deft semi gloss clear from the aerosol can. after thats dry, i lightly sand with 400 grit, and apply another coat. if theres any doubt in a nice lookin finish, I will sand it again with 400, and apply another coat. I dont like finishing one project at a time, I try to let them pile up until I have enough to make it worthwhile getting all the stuff out for finishing.
                      Dale w/ yella saws


                      • #12

                        You say you put a clear natural stain then tung oil. What is a clear natural stain??? Seems a bit redundant to me.

                        I know everyone has their ways and whatever works for you go for it. Just a heads up not a good idea to put lacquer over Danish oil. The reason Danish oil is BLO, mineral spirits, and poly with some driers. You do not put lacquer over poly or poly over lacquer. Does not make for good bonding. You can get fisheye, peeling and such. Danish oil or tung oil really should not be top coated because that is a specific look. If you top coat then to me you are wasting money. Blo will give the same look as Danish oil and I know there are those who hate the smell but no oil product is good to inhale for long periods of time. You need to work in good ventalation. Seems like I just typed this stuff not long ago here in another post. Could be wrong. Nuff said carry on.
                        Last edited by jttheclockman; 01-02-2006, 03:54 PM.
                        John T.


                        • #13
                          So adding a little poly into the spirit BLO mix would make Danish? I may have to try that. I could save a lot of money if I knew which things mix well, look good and don't explode...


                          • #14
                            Hello JT,

                            I guess my statement did sound a little redundant, let me clarify it.

                            I prefer to use Miniwax Natural Oil Stain #209 to be exact, It may be just me, but I feel it brings out the woods natural colors more so then when I just apply the Tung Oil. Rather it be on cherry, walnut, ect. ect....... sorry for the confusion or redundancy of (clear natural ) stain. LoL


                            DeWalt 788

                            aut viam inveniam aut faciam

                            God gives us only what we can handle.. Apparently God thinks I am one tough cookie.....


                            • #15
                              What kind of finish do you guys use when doing a portrait?
                              I have noticed some are dark and some are light and some seem to
                              me to have no finish on them at all. I am thinking about doing a fishing portrait and the scrolled piece looks very light and the backer
                              board is black.
                              Just curious,

                              The wood I will be using is Baltic Birch Plywood.
                              Delta P-20


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