Sunday, 25 May 2014

Finishing: the beggining of the end or the end of a beggining?

It's funny, to me at least when I tell someone that the current project is being "finished tomorrow", they are generally surprised when I add, so it'll be ready to collect/deliver in a week. :-)
Finishing could take weeks, but finished is a point in time. Sometimes it's fun to deliberately use the same word for two meanings in the same sentence. Rarely is it understood.

To me the finishing of a project could take a few minutes, or it could take longer than the actual build. I like to use various finishes, from paint or wax, to oil or beyond with a french polish which could easily suck you in to hours and hours of hand rubbed shellac and de-nibbing alone.

 Turpentine for the beeswax, Meths for the french polish. Even Mod Podge can be used as a varnish.


I like to turn items, some to just turn, and some to sell. I recently watched a video from the drunken woodworker, David Picciuto. He did a great video on his own oil/poly mix, where he mentioned that people who like to buy handmade wooden items like the tactile feel of a silky smooth finish. This to my mind is absolutely right, and a reason I myself like to play around with wood and experiment! 

It got me to thinking about making up my own oil based, varnish mix that I could use on pieces, without having to buy-in yet another product, just use up what I already have sitting on a shelf "going off". I HATE TO WASTE ANYTHING, in particular money!!

It always makes my sulk a little when you look at all the oil finishes out there, Danish, walnut, tung, raw linseed, boiled linseed, walnut, teak, mineral, chopping board, butcher block. The list seems endless - not to mention confusing, thanks to all the marketing hype! I generally stick to what I know and like....

A reasonable selection of various oils.

Linseed oil, relatively easy to get, and cheep. raw linseed is great, I use it to not only to finish wood, but also mix it with beeswax and gum turpentine to make furniture polish, see the video on this, and as a lubricant when french polishing with a rubber.  But I "know" not use boiled linseed oil on oak, as it can blacken the timber. 

Walnut, vegetable and olive oil I like to use on my chopping boards. Some time ago I tried a couple of brands of "food safe" and "butcher block" oils. I saw no noticeable advantage to their use over the oils from the kitchen cupboard, but if you're going to sell the chopping boards, it's best to cover your back! personally, if i'm going to cook with olive oil and eat it in my salad dressing, a little spec on my cheese sandwich is hardly going to hurt!

I've never knowingly used either Danish or Tung oils. At least I never bought a can labelled as such, but I'm aware that deck oils and other outdoor oils are generally tung based. and they are far more waterproof than linseed - which is all but useless in this respect.

Now Polyurethane, I'm not a huge fan, it reminds me of the sort of post-war, mass produced spray-on finish you find that looks rather like plastic. Not the sort of tactile, "pick me up and hold me" type finish I talked about, but indulge me for just a moment......

I'm thinking of taking my linseed oil addiction, and polyurath-hate, dilute with a suitable solvent - Probably White spirits, but possibly Naptha. and see if i can't do what David did, and mix up my own bionic super batch of genetically enhanced oil based, poly-enhanced, pick me up and hold me durable finish. If nothing else It's gotta be worth a giggle. You see people posting Videos on YouTube, and Pins on pinterest with recipes and and how to's. So let's give it a go! I'll let you know how I get on! and maybe post a video, and pin! So make sure you follow me and Subscribe!

The calm before the storm?


And hey if it all goes wrong, I'll go try some Pure Tung oil, or Danish oil!