Finishing Finishing Methods
WOODFINISHING
Surface Preparation
The first step to a good finish is to make sure the surface ...
Finishing Finishing Methods
Sanding
Choosing The Right Paper
There are several types of sandpaper, some are designed for s...
Finishing Finishing Methods
grain. To properly use this sander, start it while it is on the wood. If you wait until
it is ...
Finishing Finishing Methods
3. Continue on using 220 or 240 grit. On most woods the scratches left by 220 or
240 grit pape...
Finishing Finishing Methods
point where it should be removed. Take a pin and prick one of the globs of glue,
if the bliste...
Finishing Finishing Methods
Furniture repair
As an introduction, a few words about the author of this column. While I now ...
Finishing Finishing Methods
the finish. The procedure described above simply removes the very top layer of
finish, getting...
Finishing Finishing Methods
people that made the stuff know more about it than you do. They put directions
on the can so y...
Finishing Finishing Methods
Cleaning May Restore Furniture
Furniture eventually reaches a point where it needs more than d...
Finishing Finishing Methods
• Dip fresh cloth into clear, warm water, wring cloth and wipe surface.
• Finish by wiping sur...
Finishing Finishing Methods
Furniture Finishes
There are as many different ways to classify furniture finishes as there pe...
Finishing Finishing Methods
Polyurethane - A clear finish. Positives - More durable than either varnish or
lacquer, and ea...
Finishing Finishing Methods
Filling The Pores Of Wood
I often receive e-mails with the subject title "In search of a glass...
Finishing Finishing Methods
Filling The Pores With Paste Filler
Paste filler is a much quicker way to fill pores than usin...
Finishing Finishing Methods
However, others still need thinning. The filler should be thinned to the
consistency of heavy ...
Finishing Finishing Methods
Filling wood grains with a paste wood filler
Some woods have an open grain that makes it diffi...
Finishing Finishing Methods
Whichever application method you chose, you should apply the filler with a
circular motion in ...
Finishing Finishing Methods
Wood stains
Wood stains should be used to enhance to natural color of a wood, rather than to
t...
Finishing Finishing Methods
become too light. Note: water stains appear to dry in about 40 minutes but a
second coat shoul...
Finishing Finishing Methods
Applying a Pigment Stain
Apply the stain with a cloth or brush and be very liberal with the am...
Finishing Finishing Methods
Making Your Own Oil Stain
Sometimes it is impossible to find a stain that is the exact color y...
Finishing Finishing Methods
commercially under the name Japan drier. It can be purchased in art supply
stores, some paint ...
Finishing Finishing Methods
EARLY AMERICAN MAPLE FINISH
Maple, if left unstained, takes on a yellow tone over time, gradua...
Finishing Finishing Methods
very old pieces. I use dark shellacs like garnet or a dewaxed dark. Apply one
coat by brush or...
Finishing Finishing Methods
Tips on Finishing Wood Furniture
Each piece of solid wood furniture is an original, the result...
Finishing Finishing Methods
• Stain one surface at a time, and do the corners and uneven areas first. Do
these areas when ...
Finishing Finishing Methods
Touching Up Minor Scratches
There are a number of methods you can use to touch up scratches in...
Finishing Finishing Methods
The Touch-Up Process
If the scratch is very superficial and the finish does not have a high gl...
Finishing Finishing Methods
The method I most often use is one of adding a color to a finish to touch up the
scratch. Once...
Finishing Finishing Methods
paint in the grain. Try to connect the grain lines with the surrounding grain and
feather in t...
Finishing Finishing Methods
Super Smooth Oil Finish
Many woodworkers like to use oil finishes instead of lacquer, varnish,...
Finishing Finishing Methods
walnut. I proceeded in the same manner as described above, but this time the
results were much...
Finishing Finishing Methods
wet sand until you feel enough of the paste has been worked down into the
pores.
4. There will...
Finishing Finishing Methods
Finishing Oily Woods
Traditionally, some of the world’s most colorful woods like rosewood, tea...
Finishing Finishing Methods
1. Shellac Sealer / Natural Resin Varnish Finish.
If you are going to be finishing a piece of ...
Finishing Finishing Methods
3. For A Natural Look- Simply Wax
When I have to finish a decorative wooden object that will n...
Finishing Finishing Methods
French Polishing
French polishing is one of the classic finishes for wood. Although French
pol...
Finishing Finishing Methods
Once the first coat of Shellac is dry, apply a second coat. Then, once this is dry
apply the t...
Finishing Finishing Methods
of today's medicines. The Shellac has excellent adhesive properties and can be
polished to a h...
Finishing Finishing Methods
Penetrating wood seal
Penetrating seal gives a natural finish when little labor is desired. It...
Finishing Finishing Methods
• Let stand one or two days until perfectly dry.
• Smooth with fine sandpaper or pumice stone ...
Finishing Finishing Methods
Procedure
• Use flat oil paint or undercoat thinned according to directions.
• Dip brush one-t...
Finishing Finishing Methods
• Use a coat of white synthetic resin seal, liquid white wood filler, white flat
paint or enam...
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Finishing methods

  1. 1. Finishing Finishing Methods WOODFINISHING Surface Preparation The first step to a good finish is to make sure the surface the finish will be applied to is free of all defects such as dents, gouges, scratches and milling marks. Most finishes bring out the natural grain and beauty of the wood. Unfortunately, they may also magnify any defects that may have gone unnoticed. What appears to be a minor defect on raw wood will stand out like a sore thumb when a stain or finish is applied. Common Sense. Surface preparation should begin before the project is assembled. A fair amount of common sense should be used during construction. For example: any surface that can't be easily reached after assembly should be sanded before assembly. In general attention to detail such as tight joint lines and excess glue squeeze out should be addressed during construction. Excess stain will accumulate between poorly fitted joints and will appear as unsightly dark lines when the finish has been applied. The glue squeeze out should be left to dry and then removed by using a scraper. During construction I am constantly asking myself, "How will this affect the surface when I apply a stain or finish"? Ask yourself this while you work. Mill Marks If you wish to build a quality piece of furniture, I recommend buying good quality lumber, free of knots, sap, blemishes etc. If you do so, about the only defect you will have to deal with on the board will be mill marks. When boards are run through a planer, the rotating planer knives take shallow bites out of the wood. Mill marks appear as a series of repeating raised bumps that run across the grain of the board. If the knives are very dull, the marks really stand out, but more often they are less pronounced, in some cases invisible to the naked eye. It's important to note that mill marks are present on every board that has been run through a planer, regardless of quality or source. Sometimes mill marks are very hard to see. If you don't detect and remove them, they will really stand out once a stain or finish has been applied. The best way to sight mill marks or any other minor flaws or defects is to use reflected light. Position a lamp above the work surface at about a 30 degree angle to the surface. You will be surprised when the marks you could not see before now look like mountain peaks and valleys. Overall, the best way to remove mill marks and other minor defects like small surface scratches is by sanding. zaini@selectvest.com Wisdom Management Services (M) Sdn. Bhd. 1
  2. 2. Finishing Finishing Methods Sanding Choosing The Right Paper There are several types of sandpaper, some are designed for sanding finishes like lacquer and varnish while others are best for sanding raw wood. Garnet Paper is an orange colored sandpaper that is made of a natural abrasive. It is excellent for sanding raw wood. Another type of paper that is favored by furniture and cabinet makers for sanding raw wood is Aluminum Oxide paper (sometimes known as production paper). This is the standard brownish colored paper found in most hardware and paint stores. Aluminum Oxide is a man made abrasive and will last a little longer than Garnet paper. Either of the two will produce excellent results. The types of paper you want to stay away from for sanding raw wood are the Silicon Carbide (Wet or Dry) paper which is black in color, and the light gray colored papers which are lubricated and used to sand lacquers and other topcoats. Grits. Sandpaper is graded by using a number system. The finer the paper, the higher the number. Garnet and Alum. Oxide paper range in grit sizes from 36 (Very Corse) to 240 (Fine). Choosing A Sander Over the past few years a variety of sanders have been introduced onto the woodworking market. Some work very well, while others, not so well. The three most common sanders used for surface prep are a belt sander, orbital sander (pad sander) and the most recent random orbital sander. Each sander produces a distinct surface finish. A belt sander is best used when a lot of material has to be removed from the surface. For example when glued up boards have to be leveled. It is a dangerous tool, make one mistake and you may wind up ruining the workpiece. Even though a belt sander removes stock quickly, I don't think it's worth the risk. The belt sander leaves straight lined scratch pattern. While orbital sanders do not remove stock like belt sanders, some of the heavier models like the Porter Cable Model 330 Speed Bloc will do a great job of removing scratches and milling marks when a piece of 80 grit sandpaper is mounted to it. These sanders leave small orbital scratch patterns that are nearly invisible to the naked eye. When using an orbital sander, don't press down too hard on the worksurface. Let the weight of the machine do the job. Although you can initially sand across grain make sure you take your last passes with the grain to avoid leaving scratch marks on the stock. The random orbital sander is the machine I most often use. Because it creates an orbital as well as revolving motion, it removes stock much quicker than a pad sander and at the same time leaves a scratch pattern that is almost swirl free, even when sanding across zaini@selectvest.com Wisdom Management Services (M) Sdn. Bhd. 2
  3. 3. Finishing Finishing Methods grain. To properly use this sander, start it while it is on the wood. If you wait until it is running at full speed before you set it on the work, it may gouge out the surface. Sanding Sequence Many woodworkers believe that if you sand the work to a super fine grit, you will achieve a better finish. This is not true. The only purpose for sanding is to remove mill marks, tool marks, other defects and to smooth the surface. When sanding, sandpaper leaves small grooves relative to the grit size of the paper you are using. By sanding with progressively finer grits you are making these grooves smaller. Once the grooves are small enough so they can't be seen with the naked eye, you do not need to go any further. While it is not necessary to progressively sand using every available grit, you should not skip too many grit sizes. Use a grit that is just small enough to remove the grooves left by the previous paper. I usually use 100 grit to remove milling marks and any other surface defects, then move to 180 to refine the grooves and finish up with 240 grit. If mill marks are very pronounced, I will start with 80 grit, then use 120 and finish with 220. Sanding up to 220 or 240 on most woods will make the grooves small enough so they are naked to the invisible eye. However, there are some species of wood that may require sanding to a finer grit before the grooves are not visible. SAFETY NOTE! PLEASE WEAR A RESPIRATOR OR FILTER MASK WHILE PERFORMING ANY SANDING OPERATION. Sanding should proceed as follows: 1. Remove mill marks and other surface defects using 80 or 100 grit paper. 2. Once mill marks are removed, move up to a medium grit paper (120 or 180 grit). This will refine the scratch pattern. To see if you have removed all of the deeper grooves left by the previous grit paper, first blow off the sawdust then mount a lamp above the worksurface (at about a 30 degree angle). The reflecting light will show any deeper grooves that may have been left. Continue to sand until all the deeper grooves are removed. zaini@selectvest.com Wisdom Management Services (M) Sdn. Bhd. 3
  4. 4. Finishing Finishing Methods 3. Continue on using 220 or 240 grit. On most woods the scratches left by 220 or 240 grit paper will be small enough as not to be seen by the naked eye. If you can still see scratches under reflected light, move up to a finer grit usually 280 grit. Sanding Method Regardless of the type of sanding machine you use, there are some basic rules to follow. Many texts and articles tell the reader never to sand against the grain. This is not always true. When you first start to sand using coarse paper it may be necessary to remove a lot of material because you have to remove mill marks and level the surface. Initially sanding against the grain will remove stock much quicker. Once mill marks are removed and the surface has been leveled, finish up by sanding with the grain before moving up to a finer grit. Also there are some cases where you are forced to sand against the grain. One such case is at a joint line where two pieces of wood meet at an angle. In this case it is also o.k. to sand against the two pieces, just make sure you finish by sanding with the grain up to the joint line. Removing excess glue squeeze out. As mentioned previously, you should use a good amount of common sense during the construction process. Removing excess glue squeeze out is a perfect example of this. Many woodworkers have a number of theories about how and when to remove glue squeeze out. One theory I do not agree with is to remove the glue while it is still wet by using a damp cloth. By doing this, you are forcing the glue down into the pores. Furthermore, if you use a damp cloth, you are thinning the glue out thus it will penetrate even deeper into the pores of the wood. This method also makes it difficult to determine if all of the glue has been removed. If the glue has not been totally removed in some areas, it will act as a sealer and prevent a stain or finish from penetrating into the wood. When the stain or finish is applied, the area in question will appear light and blotchy. Another method that works much better is to let the glue set up before removing it. As white or yellow glue dries, it first starts to skin over and form a blister. If you don't wait long enough before removing the glue, the skin will break open and deposit wet glue onto the work surface. If you wait about 45 minutes to 1 hour, the glue should be dry enough to remove easily with a paint or glue scraper. There is a way to test the glue in order to determine if it has setup to the zaini@selectvest.com Wisdom Management Services (M) Sdn. Bhd. 4
  5. 5. Finishing Finishing Methods point where it should be removed. Take a pin and prick one of the globs of glue, if the blister breaks and fresh glue comes out it is not yet ready to be removed. Wait a while longer. If the glue is left to dry hard it could be difficult to remove, however not impossible. I would still recommend using this method over the method of removing the glue with a damp cloth while still wet. A good paint scraper is the best tool for glue removal. The scraper should have a solid blade and sharp edge. It should also have a large heavy handle. Some Final Tips! Removing Sawdust. Use a tack cloth to remove sawdust from the worksurface. Lightly wipe the surface, don't rub hard or press down or the resin in the tack cloth will be deposited on the worksurface and may contaminate it. Start the finishing process immediately after the surface has been prepared. Humidity in a shop can start to raise the grain and if you handle the workpiece too much after it has been sanded, the natural oils in your hands may also contaminate the workpiece. Hinges, pulls and other hardware. Drill all mounting holes for hinges, pulls and other hardware before you sand and then mount the hardware to test the fit and location. Once satisfied remove all hardware before you start to sand. Do not remount the hardware until the whole finishing process is complete. zaini@selectvest.com Wisdom Management Services (M) Sdn. Bhd. 5
  6. 6. Finishing Finishing Methods Furniture repair As an introduction, a few words about the author of this column. While I now do furniture repair and refinishing only as a hobby and for a "sideline" income, I worked at it full-time for a number of years, both in furniture stores that had their own shops, as well as establishments whose sole business was to repair and refinish furniture. I make no claim to being an authority on furniture periods or styles, but I do know a little about furniture work, which I’ll try to pass on in these columns. I have learned over the years there’s a lot of mystery associated with furniture repair and refinishing (probably promoted by those in the business!) that needn’t be. Hopefully, some of the "tips and tricks" you read here will bolster your enthusiasm for what can be a very rewarding and productive hobby. If you have any specific questions, address them to me at the Enterprise, with a self- addressed, stamped envelope, and I will answer. If your question has enough general appeal, I’ll use it in this column. Unless your home has recently been entirely refurnished, you’ve probably got at least one piece that has a "watermark" that ugly white blotch left from water standing on the surface too long before it was wiped up. It may be just a few dots, or a ring left by a glass or planter. If the mark is white there’s good news (Black watermarks are another problem we’ll deal with later). To fix 1 piece of furniture, or 15, you’ll have to spend about $10.00. You’ll need 0000 (called four oh) steel wool; Turtle Wax polish and Scratch remover for cars (This product has a very fine abrasive mixed in with the wax which will let you get a super shine.); some clean rags, and some oil. Whatever oil you cook with will work, Puritan, Wesson, etc. makes no difference. Pour about 1 teaspoon of oil directly on the watermark. It should fade considerably and may disappear. Don’t be deceived, it’s still there. Rub the mark gently with the steel wool, moving with the grain of the wood, not across. After a minute of this procedure, wipe it clean to see how much of the mark you have removed. Repeat this procedure, using as little pressure as necessary to scratch the surface, until the mark is gone. Apply the Turtle Wax according to the directions on the can. This will remove the abrasion marks left by the steel wool You’ll have to do the entire surface in order to get a uniform sheen, so be ready for some work when you start to remove that mark on the dining room table! On a large piece, there’s a lot of "elbow grease" involved, but not a lot of expense. There are other products that will work as well as Turtle Wax, but that’s the one I use. Just be sure it’s not a polishing or rubbing compound. Those products have an abrasive grit that’s much too rough for furniture finish work. A little background: 99% of factory made furniture is finished with lacquer, which will absorb standing water, and in some cases of constant high humidity, directly from the air! The white marks are caused by water that has become trapped in zaini@selectvest.com Wisdom Management Services (M) Sdn. Bhd. 6
  7. 7. Finishing Finishing Methods the finish. The procedure described above simply removes the very top layer of finish, getting rid of the water(mark). Furniture stripper The primary requirement for furniture work is patience. Nowhere is this characteristic needed more than in stripping furniture. Let’s see if we can make this messy task any easier. First, what do you need? Specific items will vary from piece to piece, but the following list should get you through most jobs. You’ll need stripper, of course. What kind? You basically have two options, and then two choices within each option. Here are the options. If you’re really keen on the environment, you’ll want a water-base stripper. They work fine, and as the label suggests, you can wash the residue off with water. The downside is that using a water based stripper means you must. sand the piece completely before you do anything else. A solvent based stripper doesn’t raise the grain of the wood, but you have to be more careful with it. Sanding is kept to a minimum. Whether you choose water or solvent base, your next choice is going to be liquid or semi-paste. Liquid usually strips faster, but the semi-paste is excellent for adhering to vertical surfaces and carved material to remove the old finish from all the cracks and crevices. Other items you’ll need include a flexible blade drywall knife, 3", with a dull edge and slightly rounded corners. No, you can’t buy it that way, except for the 3" and flexible part. Dull the edge and round the corners slightly with a file. This will help prevent gouging the wood when you scrape off the old finish. Steel wool, both XX and 00 grades, to help remove what the putty knife doesn’t get, as well as to work on carvings and legs. Industrial grade rubber gloves. The kind sold for washing dishes won’t last - don’t bother. When I worked where cotton rags were plentiful and cheap, that’s what I used. Now I use paper towels, and buy them in the 12 pack when they’re on special. If you’re using a solvent base stripper, you’ll also need some lacquer thinner - a quart will be plenty. Get a natural bristle brush, not synthetic, preferably the cheapest one you can find, 2" wide, for applying the stripper. Lots of old newspapers to cover the floor under and around the area you’re working in and a quart of paint thinner. If you buy a length of 1/4" or 5/16" dowel rod and cut it into 5-6" lengths and then run both ends through a pencil sharpener, you’ll have some great tools for digging in cracks and crevices that won’t chew up the wood. Some disposable foil pans for pouring the stripper into and catching the mess as it comes off will also be handy. Now what? A well-ventilated, well lit and well ventilated area to work in; old clothes that you can afford to throw away if necessary; and patience. Every stripper I’ve seen says put it on (in such-and-such manner) and let it stand for at least 15 minutes...and nobody does. Read the directions and follow them. The zaini@selectvest.com Wisdom Management Services (M) Sdn. Bhd. 7
  8. 8. Finishing Finishing Methods people that made the stuff know more about it than you do. They put directions on the can so you’ll get good results and use their product again, instead of something else. If you don’t have a watch, borrow one. Time yourself when applying stripper. It will save you a lot of work and frustration in the future. By the way, the paint thinner is used to clean the piece before you do anything else. Stripper won’t cut through grease, oil, or wax. Paint thinner will remove them all. The lacquer thinner is used as a final wash (with solvent strippers) after you’ve finished stripping. It will remove the last traces of stripper (so it won’t attack the new finish) and will neutralize any left in the cracks and crevices. zaini@selectvest.com Wisdom Management Services (M) Sdn. Bhd. 8
  9. 9. Finishing Finishing Methods Cleaning May Restore Furniture Furniture eventually reaches a point where it needs more than dusting and polishing. Many old pieces simply need to be cleaned to restore them. Removing the original finish of a valuable piece, if it is in good condition, would destroy much of its value and character. Different kinds of furniture call for different cleaning methods. Wood furniture may be finished with oil, varnish, lacquer or shellac. For these finishes, use a good cream furniture polish or a furniture cleaner-conditioner. These may be commercial products or you may make a cleaner-conditioner by mixing together the following ingredients: • 1/4 cup gum turpentine • 3/4 cup boiled linseed oil Pour the turpentine into a glass container that has a tight lid. Add the linseed oil and mix well before using. You can store the mixture indefinitely in a sealed container. Caution Use sparingly on shellac finish. To find out if finish is shellac, sponge a spot that will not show with denatured alcohol. The finish will soften and come off if it is shellac. To use cleaner-conditioner: • Work in well ventilated room. • Protect work area with layers of paper. • Assemble equipment: o Cup or small flat can o Saucer or pie tin o 3/0 steel wool pads o Old toothbrush o Old clothes • Pour hot water into cup or can placed on saucer or pie tin. • Shake cleaner-conditioner and pour enough into cup or can to cover surface of water. Do not stir. • Dip cloth into oily mixture floating on surface of hot water. • Rub on small area. Avoid getting excess moisture on places that have been glued. • Use toothbrush on carved areas and grooves. • For areas that appear to have a buildup of dirt, dip 3/0 steel wool pad into the cleaner and rub lightly with the grain of the wood. zaini@selectvest.com Wisdom Management Services (M) Sdn. Bhd. 9
  10. 10. Finishing Finishing Methods • Dip fresh cloth into clear, warm water, wring cloth and wipe surface. • Finish by wiping surface with a clean dry cloth. Important note Discard mixture when the water becomes cold. Do not reheat — the mixture is inflammable and it will become gummy. Flat painted surfaces Painted furniture is relatively easy to clean. Paint cleaners are sold commercially in liquid, powder and paste form. A good cleaner for flat paint is soap jelly. It can be made by dissolving three tablespoons of white soap flakes in one cup of boiling water. To increase its cleaning ability, add a teaspoon of ammonia or two teaspoons of borax. If the surface to be cleaned requires scouring, add 1/4 cup of whiting. Glossy finishes To clean glossy enamel and other painted surfaces that have a glossy finish, use a cloth wrung out in hot water, or hot water containing one teaspoon of washing soda for a gallon of water. Rub gently. Soap-free detergents also may be used. Trisodium phosphate and many of the commercial cleaners dull the finish of glossy paints and soap leaves a film. Leather on furniture may be cleaned by washing with saddle or castile soap and water. Use as little water as possible. Wipe off soap traces with a clean, damp cloth and, when thoroughly dry, polish briskly with a soft dry cloth. Avoid using furniture polishes, oils or varnishes on leather because they could make the leather sticky. If leather appears dry, apply a small amount of leather dressing with fingertips. Rub until the dressing is completely absorbed. Leather dressing can be purchased or you can make one using the following ingredients available at most drug stores: • 60 percent pure neat's foot oil (in small container) • 40 percent anhydrous lanolin (in larger container) To mix, warm the container of lanolin in hot water until the lanolin is melted. Slowly add neat's foot oil, stirring until blended. zaini@selectvest.com Wisdom Management Services (M) Sdn. Bhd. 10
  11. 11. Finishing Finishing Methods Furniture Finishes There are as many different ways to classify furniture finishes as there people to make up the classifications. For furniture, let’s break finishes down into two classes, with subgroups. The two classes being clear and opaque. Clear finishes would include lacquer, shellac, varnish, tung and Danish oil, linseed oil, as well as polyurethane. Opaque finishes would include paint (both oil and latex), as well as some lacquers. Neither of these lists is all inclusive, but it covers the range of what you’ll commonly find on furniture. Another way to classify finishes is by the way they "set up". Lacquer and shellac set up purely by drying; they do not change chemically. The solvent for either one will dissolve the finish. I sometimes use lacquer thinner as a stripper on pieces finished in lacquer; it’s easier, less hazardous, and more economical. Both of these finishes are also anhydrous; they will absorb water. These white water marks generally can be removed fairly easily (see" Furniture Tips and Tricks", June). Other finishes change chemically when they dry. Paint, when dry, cannot be restored to a useable liquid; neither can polyurethane or varnish. Your choice of finish when redoing a piece is determined by a number of factors; use, appearance, and value being the foremost considerations. You wouldn’t want to use shellac on a dining room table top - it’s too fragile to hold up. If you’ve got a piece with pretty grain and a nice natural wood color, you probably wouldn’t want to paint it. In short, there are hundreds of variations you can use when finishing a piece of furniture. Consider what’s important to you - durability, beauty, ease of maintenance, etc., in selecting the finish you use. Here then are the more common finishes available to the home owner, with what I perceive as their attributes and faults. Lacquer - Clear finish best suited for showing off wood grain. Positives - Available in a variety of sheens, from flat to high gloss. Easily applied with brush or aerosol. Dries quickly (with a brush, you have to work quickly.) Most brands require no substrate sealer. Damaged finishes can usually be repaired without stripping. Negatives - Easily scratched and susceptible to water damage. Lacquer is the finish used on 99% of all commercially manufactured furniture with a clear finish. Varnish - A clear finish. Positives - Much more durable than lacquer. Slow drying (allows more time to work). Most minor damage can be repaired without stripping. Negatives - Slow drying time allows dust motes to settle in finish. Tendency for beginners to ‘over-brush’ when applying the finish, resulting in brush marks in the dried finish. Although you can handle a varnished piece the next day, varnish hasn’t cured completely until about a month later. zaini@selectvest.com Wisdom Management Services (M) Sdn. Bhd. 11
  12. 12. Finishing Finishing Methods Polyurethane - A clear finish. Positives - More durable than either varnish or lacquer, and easier to apply than varnish. Negatives - Improperly applied finish usually must be stripped, unlike lacquer or varnish which can many times be "worked on" without stripping. Extremely difficult to repair scratches and chips - repair is not for the amateur. Sometimes difficult to strip. Shellac - A clear finish rarely used as such today except in restoring period furniture. Positives: brilliant shine . Negatives: Highly susceptible to damage from almost any liquid, including alcohol (mixed drinks will cut right through it), fruit juices (ditto), even water will damage it if left to stand. Shellac is used primarily today as a sealer and under coat. It can be used under lacquer or varnish, as well as some polyurethanes. Latex Paint - Positives: Easy to apply, easy to clean up. Suggested for any painted furniture where extreme wear or abuse is not a factor. Negatives: Sometimes difficult to clean a piece entirely when stripping. Repairing chips and scratches on older pieces may present a color match problem. On raw wood a primer is necessary. Oil based Paint - Positives: Extremely durable. Suggested for children’s furniture and any other application where severe abuse may be expected. Negatives: Same as latex paint with the addition of a somewhat messier cleanup. Tung/Danish oil - Positives: inexpensive, easy to apply, durable, water-resistant. Negatives: A smooth finish takes a good number of coats. Slow drying. zaini@selectvest.com Wisdom Management Services (M) Sdn. Bhd. 12
  13. 13. Finishing Finishing Methods Filling The Pores Of Wood I often receive e-mails with the subject title "In search of a glass smooth finish" or something like can't get level finish on oak. The problem lies in the type of wood you are working with. It's much easier to obtain a glass smooth surface on some woods like maple, cherry and birch, because the pores in these woods are relatively small and uniform. Therefore, when you apply a topcoat finish such as lacquer, varnish or poly, the first one or two coats will usually be enough to fill the pores and level the surface. After that, it's just a matter of applying a few more coats to build the finish to obtain enough protection and depth. Other woods like oak, ash, mahogany and walnut have pores that are larger and not as uniform, therefore even if you apply several coats of finish, it will probably not be enough to fill the pores to the point where they are level to the surface of the wood. However, some finishers do use this technique of applying one coat of finish, letting it dry, then sanding it back down, applying another, sanding back ect.... until the pores have been completely filled by the finish. This technique is labor intensive and time consuming, but I do use it in certain situations for example: when surface I am finishing has contrasting colors, whether it has been stained with different color stains or has inlay work or just different types of wood with contrasting colors. Filling The Pores With The Finish Many finishers use a commercial sanding sealer to fill the pores. I don't recommend this. Sanding sealer should be used to make the first coat sand easier. The sealer will stiffen wood fibers so that they will stand up for sanding. Most commercial sanding sealers contain zinc stearate (a mineral soap). This makes the finish easier to sand. The stearare makes the finish easier to sand by softening it and here lies the problem. If you use multiple coats of sanding sealer to fill the pores you will weaken the overall finish. I have found that the best thing is to use the finish itself to fill the pores. Take some of the finish you are going to use and reduce it about 25 percent with the proper solvent. If you are using oil based varn. or oil based poly, use mineral spirits. Next, apply a number of coats, letting each coat dry and then sanding back with 220 or 320 grit paper wrapped around a flat cork or wood block. If you have stained the wood, be careful not to sand too much or you will cut into the stain. Here it is best to build up a number of coats first before you start to sand. When the finish in the pores builds up to the same level as the surface, the pores have been completely filled. To make sure the pores are filled, shine a light down so it reflects off the surface at about a 30 degree angle to the surface. Look for any small pits. If you see any pitting, the pores have not yet been completely filled, go back and apply more coats. Once no pitting can be seen the pores will have been completely filled. You now can apply your finish. zaini@selectvest.com Wisdom Management Services (M) Sdn. Bhd. 13
  14. 14. Finishing Finishing Methods Filling The Pores With Paste Filler Paste filler is a much quicker way to fill pores than using a finish. Do not get this product confused with wood fillers or wood putties, it is a completely different type of filler. Unlike wood putties, paste filler should not be used to fill nail holes or cracks in wood. Also called grain filler, paste fillers contain some type of binder like varnish and finely ground quartz like silica to add bulk (so it will fill quickly) with talc sometimes added and a pigment to add color. You can purchase paste filler in several colors, natural (which is similar to a light tan like maple), walnut, red mahogany, brown mahogany, dark brown oak, white, black and more. You can also tint the filler by using japan colors (if you use an oil based filler) or water colors (if you use a water based filler). Paste filler is not clear so if you are filling a dark wood don't use the natural and expect it to blend in, it will not work. It is best to use a filler as close to, or tint the filler to the desired color. If you want to accent the grain a little, make sure the filler is slightly darker than the color of the wood. This will make the grain stand out more. At What Point Should You Fill It really depends on two factors. Is the wood going to be stained? If so, what type of stain, pigmented or dye stain? If you are not going to stain, first, apply a wash coat of whatever finish you are planning to use. Take the finish and reduce it 50 percent with it's suggested solvent and apply one coat. Let dry, but do not sand. This will seal the wood and prevent it from changing color too much when you apply the filler, especially if you are using a filler that is darker than the wood. The pores once filled, will be the color of the filler but the wood should only be slightly darker. You can also use the filler as a stain by not applying a sealer coat. The filler will not only fill the pores but also color the wood slightly. If you are planning to use a pigmented stain, it is best to fill first, then stain. If you stain first, then fill, when you rub off the excess filler you will also be removing much of the pigment. I believe it's best to use a dye if you are going to both stain and fill. There is less chance of the dye and filler bleeding together and the dye will not obscure the grain as a pigment will. First, stain the wood using an aniline dye or NGR stain. Next, apply a wash coat (same as described above). Let the wash coat dry, but do not sand, then apply the filler. This method will enhance the contrast between the pores and surrounding surface. Applying The Filler One of the keys to the application is to make sure the filler has the proper consistency before you apply it. Most fillers come pre-thinned and ready to use. zaini@selectvest.com Wisdom Management Services (M) Sdn. Bhd. 14
  15. 15. Finishing Finishing Methods However, others still need thinning. The filler should be thinned to the consistency of heavy cream. If necessary, thin slowly, adding thinner a little at a time and stirring well. The filler should be just thin enough to flow off the stick. You can thin oil based filler with either mineral spirits or naphtha, water based filler should be ready to use, but if you need to thin use water only. If you have never worked with paste filler before, I suggest you start with the oil based type and thin it (if needed) with mineral spirits. The oil based filler thinned with mineral spirits will set up slower and give you more time to work. If the filler sets up too quickly and sits on the surface too long, the excess will be very hard to remove and you will have to dampen a rag with solvent to remove it. this often pulls the filler out of the pores and you have to start all over again. Thinning with naphtha makes the filler set up quicker, only use this solvent once you get used to working with filler, it will speed up application time. Water based filler sets up very quickly. Apply the filler with either a old stiff brush or pour it on and work it down into the pores with an old credit card or piece of plastic laminate. Work on small sections about 2 ft. square. Do not try to apply filler to the whole piece. By the time you finish, the filler would have dried so hard, that it will be very hard to remove. Let the filler sit until it hazes over (turns dull). Then, using a coarse cloth like a piece of burlap, wipe off the excess working against the grain, trying to cut the filler off at the surface. Once most of the excess is off, take one last pass with a piece of lint free cheesecloth lightly wiping with the grain. Then let the filler dry overnight. The next day, inspect the surface by shining a light down onto it. You should be able to detect any filler that has remained on the surface. using 320 grit paper, lightly sand with the grain to remove any of the remaining filler that is on the surface. The light should also detect any pitting. If you see any pits, this means the pores are not completely filled. You will have to apply the filler a second time in order to completely fill the pores. This is rare and only needed when the pores are exceptionally large. After the filler has been applied, you may then proceed with the application of your finish. IMPORTANT NOTE! PASTE FILLER SHOULD ONLY BE USED UNDER TOP COAT FINISHES SUCH AS LACQUER, POLYURETHANE, VARNISH, WATER BASED FINISHES ETC. DO NOT USE UNDER PENETRATING FINISHES SUCH AS OIL VARNISH BLENDS LIKE WATCO DANISH OIL, TUNG OIL, OTHER PURE OILS OR THIN OIL WAX FINISHES. PLEASE TEST ALL THE ABOVE PROCEDURES ON SCRAP BEFORE YOU APPLY THEM TO A GOOD PIECE OF WORK zaini@selectvest.com Wisdom Management Services (M) Sdn. Bhd. 15
  16. 16. Finishing Finishing Methods Filling wood grains with a paste wood filler Some woods have an open grain that makes it difficult to produce a smooth finish. To avoid this problem it is necessary to apply what is known as a grain filler prior to the application of wax or polish. In this article, Mac Simmons describes how to get the best finish using paste fillers. Take a look at your skin; the small holes you can see in it are called pores. If you were to look at different species of woods you will find that some woods have no pores (or "grains"), some have small pores and others have larger pores. Woods with small pores are known as "closed grain woods" while woods with larger pores are classed as "open grained woods." Depending on the wood you are using and the type of finish you are trying to achieve, you may have to fill the wood's grain to get a satisfactory finish. Closed grain woods are normally not filled and in some cases, neither are open grained woods. It really depends upon the type of finish that you want. However, to achieve a "Piano Finish" (or Full Finish) it is necessary to fill these grains using a wood paste. A full finish is when the grains of the wood are completely filled and then leveled with the wood's surface, making the wood easier to finish with less coats of wax (or whatever the final finish is). By filling the wood grain you will save both time in finishing and money on your materials, because when the grain is filled (and therefore the filler and the wood's surface are smooth and level) you will use less coats of the elected finish (wax, varnish or whatever). Paste Wood Fillers are made up of various materials such as Calcium Carbonate, Barium Hydroxide, Barlite, Silica and, in the case of colored paste fillers, paste colorants are added for colors. There are two different types of filler: Oil-based and water-based fillers. Oil pastes have an alkyd added to the filler, while water based fillers include a glycol. Oil type fillers take longer to dry than water-based fillers and can be cleaned up using Naptha (for water-based fillers, you can dilute or clean up with water). Paste wood fillers come in different colors and can be used to either match the wood's natural colors, or as a contrasting color, depending on the finish that you are trying to achieve. As well as the colored pastes, you can also use a natural paste. This is typically used on lighter colored woods and can also be mixed with other oil-based fillers to make other colors. Further, you can add universal colorants to the oil-based fillers (particularly the natural filler) in order to more closely match the color that you want. For water-based fillers you can add dry powder pigment to make your own colors. Having chosen the type (and color) of filler, it is time to apply it to the wood. The preferred technique used to apply the filler varies depending on who you talk to. The filler can be applied with a brush, spread out with a plastic scraper or a cloth. zaini@selectvest.com Wisdom Management Services (M) Sdn. Bhd. 16
  17. 17. Finishing Finishing Methods Whichever application method you chose, you should apply the filler with a circular motion in order to ensure that the filler is successfully packed into the grain. As you first apply the filler you will notice that the filler has a glossy sheen that begins to dull after a few minutes. Once the filler dulls it begins to harden. At this time, you should remove the excess paste before the filler becomes too hard as it is very difficult to remove then. Because of the limited time before the paste dulls, it is important to work on a small area at a time. To remove the excess filler, use a plastic scraper, an old towel or a nylon scrubbing pad (experiment with all three to find one that suits your style of working). Remember, the more filler you leave on the wood, the harder it will be to sand off the wood later. It is best to practice on a scrap piece of open grained wood before you try applying the paste for real. This will allow you to get used to how the paste wood fillers really work without risking your latest project. As well as testing the filler paste application technique, take the time to sand off this scrap piece of wood. This will allow you to test the final finish (wax or whatever) to make sure that the end result is what you expect. In many cases, depending on the size of the open grains and the type of wood you are using, you will have to do two fillings in order to get the filler level with the surface of the wood. Once you have filled the grains and removed the excess filler, sand the surface smooth and then clean up the surface with a tack cloth to remove sawdust or other residue. You are now ready to either stain the wood or apply your clear coating (varnish, wax and so on). You can apply almost any type of finish, but if you have any doubts, consult the manufacturer of the paste. zaini@selectvest.com Wisdom Management Services (M) Sdn. Bhd. 17
  18. 18. Finishing Finishing Methods Wood stains Wood stains should be used to enhance to natural color of a wood, rather than to try and hide or obliterate it. If the latter is your goal then the best bet is to use paint, not stain. There are various types of stain and choosing the right one can appear to be a rather confusing decision. However, what it really boils down to is the following: • it should be easy to apply • must be compatible with the finish you have in mind • must dry within a reasonable amount of time • should maintain its color without fading Most wood stains are designed to soak into the wood, but there are exceptions to this rule. Most notably, external wood stains form a thin film on the surface -- not unlike paint -- in order to protect the wood. This is why most stains that you'll find your local store are classified as indoor stains, not outdoor ones. However, many indoor stains are suitable for use outside as long as the wood is subsequently protected by several layers of varnish. Water Stains Water stains come as a powder that must be mixed with water. These are the cheapest of all stains but are not typically available in the large home improvement stores. Instead, you will probably have to buy them through a mail order finishing supplier. These stains are only supplied in a few colors -- Vandyke crystals (brown), mahogany (warm brown) and nigrosine (black) -- are the most common. To attain the particular color that you need it will be necessary to mix these three together. To change the depth of the color, adjust the powder to water ratio. Applying a water stain Apply the stain to the wood with a cloth or paint brush. A brush is best if you are staining carvings, moldings or any other irregularly-shaped item. However, a cloth holds more stain and, for flat surfaces, is much easier to use. Before applying the first layer of stain, lightly wet the wood. This will help to produce an even spread of the stain. Make sure that you have enough for the whole job: it is far better to throw away the excess than it is to try and match the previous batch's color precisely. Don't pour the stain on, but be very generous its application. Water stains dry very slowly, so you should rub-off the excess stain using a paper towel or a lint- free cloth. Once the stain has dried, apply more stain to any areas that have zaini@selectvest.com Wisdom Management Services (M) Sdn. Bhd. 18
  19. 19. Finishing Finishing Methods become too light. Note: water stains appear to dry in about 40 minutes but a second coat should not be applied for at least 12 hours. Oil dyes usually come ready mixed and are classified by the type of wood they most closely match (such as oak, mahogany and so on). These color names should be used as a rough guide only and should not stop you from experimenting. For example, the bird table (Vol. I, Issue 8) was stained with a cherry-based color, even though it was made out of pine, thus giving it a deep red color more in keeping with its new habitat. To lighten the color of a particular dye, thin it out using an appropriate solvent. Oil dyes are well suited to outdoor applications as they take an average time to dry (between 30 -40 minutes); water stains dry too slowly and alcohol stains dry too quickly for large applications. Applying an oil dye Oil dyes can bite deeply into uneven grain, such as is found with beech, and this can produce an uneven, patchy finish. To overcome this problem it is imperative that the wood be prepared carefully and is well sanded. Oil dyes can be applied using a brush or a cloth. Alcohol-based stains are the choice of most professional woodworkers because of the wide range of colors available. They are sold in powder form and must be mixed to the right color. Because they are alcohol-based, these stains can also be mixed with shellac polish for color matching and minor touch-ups during the polishing process. Alcohol stains dry very quickly (typically in about five minutes) and are therefore ideally suited to spray application. However, the fact that they dry so quickly can also cause problems and a patchy finish is not unknown. Applying an alcohol-based stain As mentioned above, the best way of applying this stain is to use a spray gun. Apply the stain sparingly, or the dye will be removed by the polish. You can also dip with alcohol stains, ie put the object into the container of stain. The best approach to this is to dip the object in and leave immersed for about five minutes. Whichever application method you decide to use, it is a good idea to add a little transparent French polish to the mix as this will help to adhere the stain to the wood. This type of stain is made from finely ground pigments. These do not dissolve as dyes do. Pigment stains add a semi-opaque color to the wood and are best used to disguise the original look and feel of the wood (such as on low-grade lumber). zaini@selectvest.com Wisdom Management Services (M) Sdn. Bhd. 19
  20. 20. Finishing Finishing Methods Applying a Pigment Stain Apply the stain with a cloth or brush and be very liberal with the amount of stain applied. However, once the entire surface has been coated, wipe off any excess stain with a soft lint-free cloth. Otherwise the end result may be patchy. Wax stains are essentially a ready-made mix of finishing wax and a particular stain. One very popular wax stain is an "antique" pine wax. Because this is a wax stain it cannot be used under any other type of finish, such as a shellac. Think of the wax stain as being a short-cut solution, combining the stain and waxing process into one. As such, it is not as good a solution as using a separate stain and wax or shellac. Once you have applied a wax stain, there really is no going back: sanding down the waxed surface (in order to remove the layer of wax) is not recommended as the wax simply clogs-up the sand paper. Therefore, these stains should only be used in extreme cases when you really cannot use another product. Applying a wax stain Apply the wax stain as you would a normal finish coat of wax (see Wax option in Finishes Department). zaini@selectvest.com Wisdom Management Services (M) Sdn. Bhd. 20
  21. 21. Finishing Finishing Methods Making Your Own Oil Stain Sometimes it is impossible to find a stain that is the exact color you need. This is especially true if you are building a piece of furniture and want to match the color to an existing piece. No matter how many colors stain manufactures offer, these companies will never be able to supply us with the infinite number of color combonations needed to suit every job. When I ran into this problem, I always remember saying to myself, "If I only knew what was in this stain, I could make it myself". Over the years through research and a lot of experimentation, I have come up with an excellent home brewed pigmented oil stain which I would like to share with you. Most commercial pigmented oil stains contain a few basic ingredients. First I will list each of these ingredients and give you a brief description of what purpose each serves in the make up of the stain. 1. Pigment (Color) The pigment is what actually gives the stain its particular color. Toady most pigments are synthetic finely ground powders. Years ago artists and cabinet makers made their own pigments by drying and then grinding natural materials. For example: to make a red pigment, an artist would take red rose petals, let them dry out completely and then grind the petals to a fine red powder. 2. Vehicle. Something needs to be added to the pigment in order to carry it onto the workpiece and distribute it evenly across the surface. If you were to apply a dry powder, it would be impossible to evenly apply it. The vehicle most commonly used in an oil stain is some type of petroleum based solvent. In many cases this is a mineral spirits. 3. Binder. If the stain just consisted of pigment and vehicle, it will not work very well. You see because the vehicle is a solvent it will evaporate shortly after the stain has been applied to the surface. When that happens, the pigment will return to its powered form and just blow off the surface. Therefore, we need to add something to the stain formula to hold the pigment in the pores and on the surface of the wood after the vehicle has evaporated. An oil is usually used to accomplish this task. Most commercial manufactures use linseed oil, however some use tung oil and market their stain as a tung oil stain. Linseed oil will never evaporate, thus it will hold the powered pigment in place. Also, because linseed oil is thicker than a solvent, it will add more body to the stain. 4. Drier. Last, stain manufactures add a drying agent to the formula to help it dry quicker. Usually this is some type of metallic drier like cobalt. This is sold zaini@selectvest.com Wisdom Management Services (M) Sdn. Bhd. 21
  22. 22. Finishing Finishing Methods commercially under the name Japan drier. It can be purchased in art supply stores, some paint stores and some mail order woodworking supply houses. The following formula should yield about 1 quart of oil stain. You do not need to add Japan drier to this formula because because the Japan color and boiled linseed oil contain drier. If you want the stain to dry a little quicker, you can add some additional Japan drier, but no more than 1/2 ounce. If you add too much drier, the stain will not work properly. 1.Vehicle. Quart of mineral spirits or pure gum turpentine. This will be your vehicle that will carry the pigment onto the surface. Either of the two solvents will work well, but if you want to reduce the odor of the stain, use mineral spirits. 2.Binder. 7 Ounces of boiled linseed oil. Boiled linseed oil will be your binder to help keep the pigment in the pores and on the surface of the wood and also add body to the stain. Use boiled linseed not raw linseed oil. Boiled linseed oil has Japan drier added to it and will help the stain dry quicker. Raw linseed oil will never dry. 3.Pigment Max. of 4 ounces of Japan color(s). Japan colors are very similar to the oil paints that artists use to paint pictures (the type that are sold in tubes in art supply stores). The main difference between artists oil paints and Japan colors is that Japan colors have driers added to it. Japan colors are also finely ground pigments suspended in a linseed oil base. However, Japan colors are too thick to use as a stain directly out of the can. They are available in many colors including earth tones that will match the natural colors of many woods, and are also available in brilliant colors like reds, greens, yellows and more. Any of these colors can be intermixed, but you should not use more than a total of 4 ounces of Japan colors to the formula. Adding more Japan color will start to make the stain too thick and it will be hard to apply. Remember, the Japan color and boiled linseed oil already contain driers, therefore you do not need to add any Japan drier. However, if the stain is not drying properly, or not quick enough, you can add some Japan drier, but NO MORE THAN 1/2 Ounce. zaini@selectvest.com Wisdom Management Services (M) Sdn. Bhd. 22
  23. 23. Finishing Finishing Methods EARLY AMERICAN MAPLE FINISH Maple, if left unstained, takes on a yellow tone over time, gradually deepening to a darker yellow-reddish brown. This is the color that you see on maple pieces in museums and is the color most cherished by collectors. Figured maples are the most striking, since the figured areas deepen in color against the lighter wood surrounding it. Step One - Staining To match antique maple finishes start with the undertone color. I use a honey- amber water dye available from suppliers of dry dyes. Other names like Early American Maple or Honey-Maple will work. Whichever dye you work with, it should be a predominately yellow tone with a hint of red and black. Before dyeing, sand the wood up to 150 grit and raise the grain by sponging it with distilled water. When dry, sand with 220 grit. This minimizes the raised grain from the application of the dye. The concentration of the dye should be such that it leaves the wood a honey-straw color when applied. It's impossible to give precise mixing instructions since all dye powders vary in concentration. The best I can say is that I usually start with the manufacturer's recommended mixing ratio and then dilute that by the same amount of water. If this is too light add more dye. If it's too dark, add more water. Apply the dye by flooding all surfaces with dye by brush, rag or spraying. Let it dry several minutes, then blot up the excess. This is where practicing on sample is important. The goal of the dyeing operation is to establish the primary undertone of color. The color of the wood when dry should be light straw. Let the dye dry at least 8 hours and then scuff sand the surface very lightly with 320 grit sandpaper before proceeding to the next step. Step Two - Oiling This step adds depth to the dye and kicks out figure in the wood. Apply a small amount of a drying oil like linseed or tung to the surface of the dyed wood. About a thimble full per square foot is all that's needed. Don't flood the surface. Wipe the oil on with a rag and let it dry several hours before proceeding to the next step. Caution: Always dispose of the rag by soaking it under water then letting it air dry on the side of a trash can. Step Three - Sealing The wood needs to be sealed before glazing. I use one or two applications of a two lb. cut shellac made from dry flakes. If you use only one coat of sealer, the subsequent glazing step will darken the wood significantly. Two coats of sealer and the glaze has less of a tendency to "take". You will need to experiment to get the feel for the difference. I usually use two coats when I want a very subtle color change from the glaze and one coat when I want a dark "dirty" look similar to zaini@selectvest.com Wisdom Management Services (M) Sdn. Bhd. 23
  24. 24. Finishing Finishing Methods very old pieces. I use dark shellacs like garnet or a dewaxed dark. Apply one coat by brush or spray and let it dry thirty minutes. Then take some 320 grit sandpaper and very lightly scuff sand all surfaces to knock down any raised fibers. Then follow up with a light rubbing with maroon synthetic steel wool. Step Four - Glazing Glazing establishes the final color of the wood and darkens the pores and any figured areas. I make the glaze by taking one cup of glaze and adding 2 teaspoons of burnt umber, 1 teaspoon Venetian Red and 1/2 teaspoon black. Mix the glaze thoroughly and check the color by smearing a small amount on some white paper. It should be a chocolate color. Apply it to all surfaces of the wood with a stiff bristle brush. Wipe the glaze off, leaving only enough on the surface as a thin veil of color. In corners and crevices, you can leave more glaze to simulate an aged appearance. Let the glaze dry according to the manufacturers instructions. For the Behlen glaze I let it dry 5 hours. Remember that most glazes do not dry to the touch so it's normal for the surface to feel tacky. The nice thing about glazing is that if the color is not what or if its too dark you can remove it with mineral spirits and not affect the finish underneath. Just wipe it off and apply a different colored glaze. Step Five - Topcoats The glaze needs to be sealed in with more finish. I apply another coat of a two lb. cut shellac over the glaze with a brush or spray gun. I don't use a rag since this tends to pull off the glaze from the surface. If you want an all shellac finish apply another coat or two of shellac. For more durability, apply a coat of oil based varnish or lacquer. I don't recommend polyurethane since it may not adhere well to the shellac. Step Six - Waxing When the final coat of finish is dry, rub it out using 0000 steel wool and dark wax like Antiquax Brown or Minwax. I usually thin the wax with mineral spirits to make it easier to apply. This cuts down the gloss slightly and imparts a mellow, satiny sheen. zaini@selectvest.com Wisdom Management Services (M) Sdn. Bhd. 24
  25. 25. Finishing Finishing Methods Tips on Finishing Wood Furniture Each piece of solid wood furniture is an original, the result of nature's handiwork. Every item has its own grain pattern and color, according to the character of the wood. Light and dark areas blend during the finishing process to produce the uniquely attractive look of real wood furniture. While you can paint, varnish or finish your furniture in other ways, one of the most commonly used finishing processes is staining and top coating. To help you get the best results, here are tips to help you finish your furniture using this method. Most unfinished pieces need additional fine sanding before finishing to avoid surface fuzz or roughness that will show when the stain is applied. • Always sand in the direction of the grain. • Oak should be sanded to medium smoothness with medium-coarse 120- grit sandpaper. Other woods should be sanded with medium sandpaper, generally no finer than 150-grit. • If wood fill has been used to cover nicks or holes, be sure the residue has been sanded well. If not, the area around the fill will not stain properly and may have a blotchy look. Stains contain colored pigments that often settle to the bottom of the can and must be thoroughly mixed before application. It may take as much as five minutes to thoroughly dissolve the "mud" so that the color remains consistent as the contents are used up. To apply stain, you can use almost any type of rag (cotton works best) cut approximately 10 inches square (larger ones sometimes get in the way). Foam brushes also work well. Stain can be applied in any direction, usually cross-grain first. • Read and follow the directions on each container. The manufacturer knows its products and will tell you how to get the best results. • Do a test "doodle" on the piece first on the back, bottom or other inconspicuous area check the stain color before proceeding. Once the stain on the test area has dried, apply a coat of the clear finish on it. If the stain looks evenly coated and you like the look, one coat staining is adequate. If the stain is too light or uneven, a second coat of stain may be needed before the top coat is applied. • Pine, aspen and some other woods stain more evenly if a sealer coat is applied before the stain. Check with your dealer to see if this is right for your application. zaini@selectvest.com Wisdom Management Services (M) Sdn. Bhd. 25
  26. 26. Finishing Finishing Methods • Stain one surface at a time, and do the corners and uneven areas first. Do these areas when the applicator has the most stain on it so you can get full penetration. You can then spread the rest on the flat areas. • As you stain each area, wipe with the grain to remove excess stain, then move to another area. As you finish, go back over the entire piece with a clean rag to pick up all excess stain and wipe the surface dry. Most clear top coats are designed to be wiped on. You can use a brush, but wiping helps prevent runs. Apply at least one coat of clear finish to all surfaces, both seen and unseen, to prevent cracking as the piece continues to dry out over the years. • Do one small area at a time, applying the top coat with the grain. In corners, you may need to pat the coating on or apply with a circular motion to get full coverage. Just be sure to wipe off any excess immediately with the grain. • Allow coating to dry. The surface will feel gummy if not fully dry, and drying time will vary depending on weather conditions. • Sand the dried coating with very fine #400 or #600 wet/dry sandpaper to remove any fuzz. Wipe sanded piece with a tack cloth or a rag dampened in mineral spirits to remove debris. (Be sure to dispose of the rag properly.) • Feel the piece with your hands and sand any areas that still seem fuzzy. Fuzz must be removed before applying additional coats. It will not go away until you take care of it. You are looking for a consistent sheen. If after two coats you have it, and if water protection is not a major concern, the job is done. If you have uneven sheen, apply additional coats, sanding lightly and wiping with a tack cloth between each application. If water resistance is a goal, we recommend four coats of finish on the surface area of concern, usually the top. Remember to always sand and remove debris with a tack cloth between coats. zaini@selectvest.com Wisdom Management Services (M) Sdn. Bhd. 26
  27. 27. Finishing Finishing Methods Touching Up Minor Scratches There are a number of methods you can use to touch up scratches in the finish on a piece of furniture. The method I use, depends upon how large (deep, wide and long) the scratch is. Before we discuss this method, I feel it is necessary to define exactly what a scratch is and how to determine the extent of the damage caused by the scratch. A scratch occurs when the finish and color in the finish (or below the finish) has been removed. On the other side, when not only the finish and color has been removed, but also some of the wood below, this is not considered a scratch, it is a gouge. Gouges are more difficult to repair properly, because you need to fill the void left where the wood once was and add color and finish back into the spot. I will discuss the method of repairing a gouge in a future document on my homepage. The following method described will be effective on minor scratches (NOT GOUGES). Correct lighting is an absolute necessity when you are performing touch up work. Without the right light, you will not be able to determine the extent of the damage and have a difficult time trying to match color and sheen. You must have as much light as possible around the workbench you are going to use to do the touch up. The light must be as close as possible to natural daylight and the light should not be directly over the work surface. I use two different types of light sources to help me in achieving a good touch up job. First, for the main (fixed) lighting for my workbench I use (4) 6 foot fluorescent (daylight bulbs) mounted to the ceiling above the workbench. Daylight bulbs are much better at simulating the natural daylight conditions (created by the sun) than the standard clear or cool white fluorescent bulbs found in most fixtures. Daylight bulbs will enable you to determine the true color of the area you must touch up. These bulbs can be purchased at specialty lighting stores or from industrial warehouse suppliers. Check your local Yellow Pages for sources. My secondary source of light is a regular (incandescent) light bulb that is not mounted directly over the work surface, rather above and behind the bench. See illustration below. Reflected incandescent lighting is a much more effective source for picking up minor flaws like small scratches and other defects that are normally hard to see with the naked eye under direct light. With your main fluorescent (daylight bulbs) still on, turn on the incandescent light bulb to examine the scratch and determine the extent of its damage. make sure the light is shining down on an angle so it's reflecting off the surface. Once this is done, turn off the incandescent bulb and use the fluorescent bulbs only. From here on, it is usually only necessary to use this lighting to determine color, but if needed, you can switch back on the incandescent light. zaini@selectvest.com Wisdom Management Services (M) Sdn. Bhd. 27
  28. 28. Finishing Finishing Methods The Touch-Up Process If the scratch is very superficial and the finish does not have a high gloss sheen, one of the quickest and best methods is to use a felt tip marker called a scratch remover. These markers are available in various colors such as: Amer. Walnut, Fruitwood, Dk. Brown Walnut, Light Mahogany, Med. Mahogany, Pine, Maple, Cherry, Golden Oak, Natural and more. You are almost sure of finding the correct color that you need. To use, just color in the scratched area with the pen and that's it! The one drawback about these markers is that you usually cannot apply a finish over it. The solvent in the finish will often lighten or completely remove the color left by the marker. Therefore, I only use this method when the scratch is so small that the color alone will hide it without also having to apply a finish to match the sheen. zaini@selectvest.com Wisdom Management Services (M) Sdn. Bhd. 28
  29. 29. Finishing Finishing Methods The method I most often use is one of adding a color to a finish to touch up the scratch. Once this is done, (if needed) I then use a very fine artist's brush to paint in the grain on top of the scratch. The finish I usually use is padding lacquer. This is compatible with most furniture finishes. If you make a mistake on any finish other than shellac, you can remove the finish by wiping it off with de-natured alcohol. To add the color to the padding lacquer, I use finely ground powders that are soluble in padding lacquer. These are called Blending Powders. They are available in many different colors such as: Honey Maple, Red Maple, Red Mahogany, Med Mahogany, Dk. Brown Mahogany, Blond Oak, Light walnut, Med. Walnut, Dk. Walnut and more.These powders can be inter-mixed to achieve virtually any color. Select the proper color or combination of colors of blending powder to match the background (not grain) color of the finish where the scratch is. Take a small amount of padding lacquer and slowly add the powder(s) to the padding lacquer. The powders should readily dissolve, but make sure you mix anyway. Some colors may not dissolve as easily as others. For those colors, it's best to dissolve them first in a little padding lacquer solvent, then add this solution to the padding lacquer. Experimentation is necessary here in order to match the color as close as possible. Once you are satisfied with the color, apply the padding lacquer into the scratch using a fine artist's brush. Let this dry at least overnight. The next day, examine the overall color and appearance of the touch up. If it looks acceptable, leave it alone, you are done! However, if the area of the scratch appears a little too light, and the grain seems to be missing from that spot, you must apply a second color. Using the same process, select the color or colors of blending powder to match the color of the grain. This is usually darker than the first (background color) you applied. The grain is usually more opaque than the background, so you will have to add more powder in proportion to padding lacquer than you did when mixing the background color. Mix and dissolve in the same manner as described above. Now, use a very fine (pointed) artist's brush to zaini@selectvest.com Wisdom Management Services (M) Sdn. Bhd. 29
  30. 30. Finishing Finishing Methods paint in the grain. Try to connect the grain lines with the surrounding grain and feather in the lines to blend and soften the sharp edges made by the brush. Once the grain has been painted in, let sit overnight. It best to apply a little straight (un- tinted) padding lacquer over the painted grain lines. The next day, inspect the touch up using the incandescent light. If the area looks too glossy compared to the surrounding surface, buff VERY LIGHTLY WITH 0000 Steel Wool. Do not rub too hard or you can remove the grain lines that were painted in. There are a number of other methods used for touching up scratches, but this is the one I most often use and seem to have the most success with. Padding Lacquer, Padding Lacquer Solvent, Blending Powders, Artist's Brushes and Steel Wool can be purchased. zaini@selectvest.com Wisdom Management Services (M) Sdn. Bhd. 30
  31. 31. Finishing Finishing Methods Super Smooth Oil Finish Many woodworkers like to use oil finishes instead of lacquer, varnish, polyurethane or waterbased finishes because oil finishes are much easier to apply and much more forgiving when mistakes happen. However, one of the main drawbacks of an oil finish is that one cannot achieve a glass smooth finish on open pored woods (like oak, mahogany etc.) like one can when applying a lacquer, varnish poly or other topcoat finish. When using a topcoat finish on open pored woods, you can either build up the finish by applying multiple coats and sanding back down until the pores have been filled or you can first apply a paste filler to fill the pores, then apply a topcoat finish. Oil finishes are thinner and contain much less solids than topcoat finishes, therefore it would not be practical to apply multiple coats and sand back until the pores have been filled. This would take much too long. Also oil finishes need to penetrate the wood in order to work properly. Once the finish penetrates, the solvents evaporate and the resins solidify actually making the wood itself harder. If the pores have been filled with paste filler (which is silica) a very finely ground glass, the oil finish will not be able to penetrate the filler. While leaving the pores open when using an oil finish is OK and many times even desirable on some pieces of woodwork like a chest of drawers, chair or clock, for other pieces like conference tables, dining tables, pianos, jewelry and music boxes may look much better if the pores were filled so a glass smooth finish can be obtained. In the end, it still comes down to solely a matter of taste. Many years ago, I read somewhere that one could wet sand some oil finishes to achieve a higher sheen. The article mentioned nothing about whether this was to be done with open or closed pored woods. At the time I was using an oil finish that I still use quite often today, it is called Watco Danish Oil. This finish is very easy to apply and leaves a beautiful satin to semi-gloss sheen, depending on how many coats are applied. It should only be applied to raw wood so it can penetrate properly. It is available in a natural as well as many colors such as shades of walnut, cherry, golden oak and others. I decided to run some tests using the Watco natural color on various hardwoods. I first tried cherry and maple. First I prepared the wood in my normal manner by sanding with coarse, medium and then fine paper. I then applied a generous amount of Watco Danish Oil to the surface and started to wet sand with 600 grit silicon carbide wet or dry paper. After applying 3 coats of the oil (one per day) and wet sanding each coat, I compared the wet sanded pieces with samples of maple and cherry that I just applied three coats of oil (without wet sanding). The results were disappointing. I did not see any signs of the wet sanded samples having any higher sheen than the pieces that were just oiled. If anything these pieces were a little duller than the samples that were not wet sanded. Next I ran some tests using oak and zaini@selectvest.com Wisdom Management Services (M) Sdn. Bhd. 31
  32. 32. Finishing Finishing Methods walnut. I proceeded in the same manner as described above, but this time the results were much different. The wet sanded samples did have somewhat of a higher sheen, but what was more impressive to me was that the surface of the wet sanded pieces of oak and walnut were much smoother than the samples of oak and walnut that were just oiled with no wet sanding. It was then that I realized what had happened, why the surface was smoother and why the sheen had increased. By wet sanding, the Watco Danish Oil mixed with the sawdust that was being created by the sanding. This created a sort of slurry or paste. As I continued to sand, the paste was forced down into the pores of the wood. Basically I had filled the open pores of the oak and walnut by using its own sawdust in combination with the oil which worked as not only a finish but also a binder to hold the sawdust down in the pores and level the surface. The reason why a higher sheen was achieved was simple. Once the pores are filled, much more light reflects off the surface in contrast to when the pores are open the light gets trapped in all the nooks and crannies of the open pores. The author of that article I read must have been using open pored wood. Although the sheen was somewhat higher by wet sanding on open pored wood, there was not a dramatic difference. I believe the author of that article missed the most important advantage of wet sanding. That is, of course, being able to fill the pores of wood to achieve a glass smooth surface when using an oil finish. Now the term glass smooth may be somewhat confusing. many people associate this with producing a high gloss finish. This is not true. You will not get a high gloss sheen (like you would when using lacquer, varnish or other topcoat) when using any oil finish. The term glass smooth refers to how level the surface is and how smooth it feels. The Process Over the years I have developed and refined the process of wet sanding on open pored wood. The following is the method I currently use: 1. Prepare the wood by sanding with coarse (100 grit), medium (180 grit), and fine (240 grit) sandpaper. Make sure to wipe off all sawdust after sanding. 2. Apply a generous amount (almost flood the surface) of Watco Danish Oil to the surface. 3. Over the years I have found that it is better to use 320 grit silicon carbide wet or dry paper rather than 600 grit. The 320 grit paper will create the paste quickly and the paste will fill the pores better. Immediately after the Watco Danish Oil has been applied (while it is still wet on the surface) wrap a piece of 320 paper around a sanding block and start to wet sand with the grain. Continue to oil and zaini@selectvest.com Wisdom Management Services (M) Sdn. Bhd. 32
  33. 33. Finishing Finishing Methods wet sand until you feel enough of the paste has been worked down into the pores. 4. There will still be a substantial amount of paste left on the surface. Don't wipe it off right away. Let the surface dry for about 10 minutes, then wipe off the excess paste using a lint free rag. Wipe against the grain, trying to cut the paste off at the surface, this way the paste in the pores will remain and not be pulled out. Let dry overnight. 5. Before you continue, there may be a small amount of paste that is still on the surface. This needs to be removed, if not visible now, it will be when you apply additional coats. Because this has dried overnight, you will need to sand it off. Take another piece of 320 grit paper, wrap it around a block and DRY SAND lightly with the grain. You need only to take a few passes, just enough to remove any excess paste that has remained on the surface. 6. I have also determined that in most cases wet sanding need only be done on the first application. Therefore, you need only wet sand once (in step 4). Now it is just a matter of applying additional coats of Watco (without wet sanding) until you achieve enough protection and the desired sheen. Usually I apply three to four additional coats after the first wet sanding coat. I let each coat dry overnight and very lightly scuff between coats with 0000 steel wool. 7. After the last coat has been applied, I let the finish cure about 1 week and apply a coat of quality paste wax. That's it. Try it, I am sure you will be very happy with the results. zaini@selectvest.com Wisdom Management Services (M) Sdn. Bhd. 33
  34. 34. Finishing Finishing Methods Finishing Oily Woods Traditionally, some of the world’s most colorful woods like rosewood, teak, ebony and cocobolo are often used to build musical instruments, decorative boxes, jewelry, accents and trim on furniture. Recently though, many of these woods are being used to build whole pieces or sets of custom furniture. As more are being used by not only professional but amateur woodworkers, many people are running into difficulty when it comes to finishing of these woods. The main problem lies in the natural oils and resins that are contained within woods like rosewood, teak cocobolo, etc. The oils create two main problems. 1. When oil based finishes like varnish, polyurethane, Danish oil finishes, and others are applied over the wood, the finish sometimes takes a very long time to dry. All of these type of oil based finishes dry by absorbing oxygen. The natural oils and resins contained in exotic woods will slow down the drying time by retarding the absorption of oxygen into the finish. Sometimes, if you happen to get stuck with a very oil piece of wood, the finish may stay tacky for weeks. 2. Adhesion. While other finishes like nitrocellulose lacquers, pre-catalyzed lacquers and water based finishes dry better over oily woods, the oils may prevent these finishes from adhering properly to the raw wood. Below, I have included a few different types of finishes and finishing techniques that I have had success with, but first, before applying any finish, you must perform the following steps to remove any oils that may be on the surface of the wood. 1. After preparing the wood by usual methods of sanding, clean all sawdust off the surface. 2. Using a rag lightly dampened with a quick evaporating solvent like acetone, lacquer thinner or denatured alcohol, wipe the whole surface down. This gets all the natural oils off the surface of the wood, but you must work quickly to apply your first coat of finish, for if you don’t more natural oils will bleed onto the surface. While many exotic woods are rarely stained, because the natural color of the wood is so appealing, all have to have some type of finish applied to protect against abrasion, moisture, dirt, dust and sunlight. Over the years, I have had the opportunity to try many finishes and finishing techniques over oily woods, and I have had the most success with the following: zaini@selectvest.com Wisdom Management Services (M) Sdn. Bhd. 34
  35. 35. Finishing Finishing Methods 1. Shellac Sealer / Natural Resin Varnish Finish. If you are going to be finishing a piece of furniture that is going to get a lot of use, (like a table) you will want to use some type of topcoat finish that will protect it against abrasion, as well as spills, dirt and dust along with making it easy to maintain. This finish has worked well for me. After wiping down the surface with quick evaporating solvent, (acetone, lacquer thinner) apply two thin coats of shellac. I use 3 lb. cut clear shellac and reduce it 50/50 with denatured alcohol. Apply the two coats by either spraying or brushing with high quality natural or china bristle brush. Let first coat dry about 2 hours before applying second coat. This will seal the surface and prevent any more natural oils in the wood from bleeding back to the top. Let these two coats dry at least 2 days. Lightly scuff sand the shellac with 400 grit paper. And wipe dust off surface. Next, apply 2 to three coats of a natural resin varnish. DO NOT USE A POLYURETHANE OR ANY VARNISH THAT HAS POLYURETHANE IN IT. IT MAY NOT ADHERE TO SHELLAC. I use a varnish manufactured by H Behlen & Bro. This is called Behlen’s Rock Hard Table Top Varnish. It is a natural resin varnish that contains no poly. Reduce each coat approx. 20 percent with Behlen’s Rock Hard Reducer. This works out to 4 parts varnish and 1 part reducer. I use a foam brush to apply this varnish, but if you are used to using a bristle brush and get good results, stick with it. Let each coat dry at least 24 hours (longer if you are in a humid area). Scuff sand very lightly with 320 grit paper between coats. After the last coat is applied, if the sheen does not look even, you may apply a few additional coats until you achieve a uniform sheen. This is a gloss varnish, if you wish to obtain a semi-gloss or satin finish, simply wait about 2 weeks for the finish to cure and then rub out with 600 grit paper and rubbing oil or use 0000 steel wool or Scotchbrite or Sunbrite (these are synthetic non-woven abrasive pads that replace steel wool. Purchase the fine type. The light gray color is usually equivalent to 000 or 0000 steel wool. If desired, you may also apply a coat of high quality paste wax after rubbing. 2. Shellac / Wax Finish On furniture or wooden objects that don’t need maximum protection such as a wall clock, dresser or just trim, I have often just used a few coats of shellac and the applied a coat of paste wax over it. After wiping down the surface with quick evaporating solvent, (acetone, lacquer thinner) apply four thin coats of shellac using the same mixture and process as described in the previous process. Let the four coats of shellac dry at least 3 days, Then sand lightly first with 320 grit paper to remove any dust nibs and smooth out any brush marks. After sanding with 320, use 600 grit to smooth the surface and leave a mellow sheen. Wipe off dust and apply a coat of high quality paste wax such as Briwax or Antique Wax. Apply the wax with a soft lint free cotton cloth, let it haze over, then buff it out with a clean cotton cloth. This technique will yield a very mellow, low luster finish that is beautiful not only to look at but to touch. zaini@selectvest.com Wisdom Management Services (M) Sdn. Bhd. 35
  36. 36. Finishing Finishing Methods 3. For A Natural Look- Simply Wax When I have to finish a decorative wooden object that will not be handled much, therefore needs little protection but also has to look and feel as close as possible to its natural appearance, I simply apply a paste wax only. Here the color of the wax is important. If you are finishing a lighter colored wood such as teak, use a natural or clear colored paste wax so the natural color will not change much. On the other hand, if you are finishing a darker wood, such as rosewood or cocobolo, I suggest you use one of the colored colored waxes, such as Briwax. If you use a light colored wax on dark woods, the wax may build in the pores and make the pores appear light. Dark wax will blend in better with darker woods and even accent the pores. Briwax comes in a number of colors. Along with clear, it is available in Dark Brown, Light Brown, Antique Mahogany (reddish brown good for rosewoods), Golden Oak and other colors. REMEMBER. ALWAYS TEST FINISHES AND FINISHING TECHNIQUES ON SCRAP BEFORE USING THEM ON YOUR GOOD WORK. zaini@selectvest.com Wisdom Management Services (M) Sdn. Bhd. 36
  37. 37. Finishing Finishing Methods French Polishing French polishing is one of the classic finishes for wood. Although French polishing came to the fore in the late 19th century, the underlying premise of using shellac has been used for nearly 4000 years. In this article we offer advice on one particular French polishing technique, there are certainly many variations. Shellac is sold as a ready to use coating in most paint and home improvement stores and is usually sold as either a clear (blond) or amber (orange) color. These ready to use variations come pre-mixed with Denatured Alcohol. It is also possible to purchase "pure" shellac flakes that you can mix yourself. The advantage of this latter approach is that it has a longer shelf life than the premixed variations as once the alcohol and flakes are mixed together the wax has life-span of about 12 months (depending on the temperature). The "pure" Shellac flakes come in various types of flake and, as standard contains a natural wax. However, while the inclusion of this wax can make sanding easier, in some cases the shellac does not adhere to the wood surface too well. To address this issue, you can also buy a de-waxed version of some Shellacs. When mixing - or buying - shellac you should look for the number of "cuts." Each pound of Shellac flakes that is added to one gallon of Denatured Alcohol equates to one pound cut. So, for example, if you were to dissolve three pounds of flakes into one gallon of Denatured Alcohol, the result would be a three-pound cut. Normally Shellac is not used over a three pound cut, but some manufacturers sell "ready to use" four or five pound cuts. These should be reduced to a three pound cut (or less) before application. Note: if you are spraying the Shellac you should typically use a two pound cut, but do so at your own discretion having consulted the instructions proved with your spray equipment. When first learning the art of French polishing, we recommend that you use a ready for use Shellac. You will also need to buy a bottle of Denatured Alcohol and a good paintbrush, as it will be necessary to brush on three thin coats of Shellac. Most ready to use Shellacs are three-pound cuts and you should reduce this down to two lots of 1 1/2 pound cut by doubling the amount of Denatured Alcohol. To begin the process, use the brush to apply the Shellac to the wood ensuring that you apply a good even coat to the entire surface. This first thin coat (the "spit" coat) will dry very quickly under most conditions. [Note: If it does not dry within an hour then the Shellac is probably bad and should be replaced. Remove the sticky Shellac surface by applying more Denatured Alcohol.] zaini@selectvest.com Wisdom Management Services (M) Sdn. Bhd. 37
  38. 38. Finishing Finishing Methods Once the first coat of Shellac is dry, apply a second coat. Then, once this is dry apply the third coat. Once you have added all three coats, leave the Shellac to dry overnight. The next day, use a 600 wet and dry sandpaper to smooth out the Shellac and then wipe off the sanding dust with a tack cloth. You now have your base coat for the French polishing. Mixing the French polish used within the pad comes down to an individual's choice. When first learning we recommend that you continue to use the 1 1/2- pound cut that we used to created the base coat above. However, as you become more proficient at this technique you may wish to experiment with lesser and greater cuts. Take a soft, lint free cloth - such as cheesecloth - and fold it into a ball (called the "pad" or "rubber." Now apply the Shellac to the pad so that it is moist, but not dripping, with Shellac. Tap the pad in the palm of your hand in order to disperse the Shellac; the aim is to make sure that the entire front of the pad is damp. We recommend that you consider wearing surgical-type rubber gloves before beginning this process as it can be quite messy. The best way to comprehend the act of French polishing is to imagine that the wood's surface (with the base coat on it) is an airport landing field and that the pad is a plane. What you are going to do is to practice allowing the plane (the pad) to touch down on the field and then immediately take off again, without stopping or even slowing down (if you were to stop you would damage the base coat). As you "land" slide the pad across the wood's surface and then take off again, working from left to right and then from right to left, overlapping each stroke as you apply it. Slowly work up from the bottom to the top and then start at the bottom again, ensuring that you have enough Shellac on the pad so that the strokes are uniform. You can add a little lemon oil or cream polish to the pad to help make it slide easier (although you should be very sparing with the oil). Once you are satisfied with the wood's finish place the pad in a jar and close the lid tightly. Allow the Shellac to dry for at least a couple of hours and then take out the pad again. Add Denatured Alcohol to the pad and tap it in the palm of your hand to disperse the alcohol to the front of the pad. Then lightly pad over the wood's surface again. This process is known as "spiriting out" and serves to remove the oil as well as further evening out the Shellac finish. The result will be a far glossier, smoother finish. Shellac resins come from the Coccus Lacca bug, indigenous to Thailand and India, and are actually the insect's resinous secretions. Ironically, for a finish that has such as dubious start in life, Shellac has many applications in today's world. The resin provides a non-toxic, thermoplastic coating that is approved by the food and drug industries as a coating on fruits (where the resin prevents molds and spores) and drugs (where it acts as a slow release enteric coating on many zaini@selectvest.com Wisdom Management Services (M) Sdn. Bhd. 38
  39. 39. Finishing Finishing Methods of today's medicines. The Shellac has excellent adhesive properties and can be polished to a high gloss or rubbed out to a satin or flat sheen as desired. PREPARATION FOR REFINISHING Finishing wood enhances its natural beauty and protects it. A good finish is usually thin and does not give the appearance of being enclosed in glass. A good finish depends on preparing the surface properly. Careful work takes time and good finishes can't be hurried. Work leisurely and enjoy the results. Oil finish This is one of the most beautiful finishes for woods of good color and grain such as walnut, mahogany and cherry. This finish does not require stain because the linseed oil darkens the wood. If enough rubbing is done, the finish does not show scratches or water marks and is heat resistant. This may require three weeks to several months, but the furniture may still be used during the process. Procedure • Make a mixture of two parts boiled linseed oil and one part turpentine. • Warm mixture by placing container in a pan of hot water. Use cold mixture on grooved surfaces to avoid setting too quickly. Do not heat over direct flame. • Apply oil generously with brush or cloth, rubbing into wood until all the oil is absorbed and continue to rub in oil until surface stays moist for several minutes. • Let stand for 5 to 20 minutes. • Wipe off excess oil with soft, clean lintless cloth. Particular care should be taken to get all traces of oil out of crevices before oil hardens. • Rub each piece until very little oil remains — possibly 10 minutes. • Dry at least 24 hours. • Repeat process until there are five to 12 coats or until no dull spots remain and there is a uniform clear luster. Later coats may be spaced at intervals of several weeks or months. • Paste wax may be applied as a finish coat about six weeks after the last coat. • Repeat the oiling process once or twice a year; first remove the wax with turpentine. The beauty of the oil finish depends on the number of coats applied and the time and energy spent in polishing. zaini@selectvest.com Wisdom Management Services (M) Sdn. Bhd. 39
  40. 40. Finishing Finishing Methods Penetrating wood seal Penetrating seal gives a natural finish when little labor is desired. It looks similar to the oil finish. It is durable and resistant to scratches. It is easy to maintain — worn places can be removed without showing lap marks. Choose the seal without a varnish base. The seal comes in colors or it can be used over oil pigment stain as long as the stain is thoroughly wiped off and allowed to dry 24 hours. For specific instructions, follow the directions on the can. Generally the seal is applied in the following manner: • Apply liberally with cloth or brush to bare wood. • Let stand 15 to 20 minutes. • Wipe with dry cloth to remove excess. • Dry 12 to 24 hours before second coat. • Rub lightly with fine sandpaper because seal tends to raise the grain. On open-grain woods such as walnut, oak and mahogany, a filler may be needed. It should be applied between the first and second coats and just after the penetrating seal has passed the sticky stage. The filler should be thinned with a mixture of half turpentine and half seal. Oil stain may be used for the desired color. Varnish A clear, dry day is best for varnishing and the work should be done in a room free from dust. Temperature of the room, varnish and wood should be about 70 degrees F. A beautiful and durable finish can be obtained with a quality product and a good clean brush. Colored varnish is not recommended. Spare varnish is excellent as a last coat for surfaces subjected to moisture and heat. If shellac is used as a liquid filler, excess shellac should be rubbed from the surface; otherwise, the varnish finish may check. Do not shake or stir varnish before using. Stirring creates bubbles which are hard to brush out and may appear as pitted dents when the varnish is dry. Procedure • Mix 1 part turpentine to 4 parts varnish for the first coat. • Fill the brush with varnish, dipping it half the length of the bristles into the varnish 4 or 5 times. Each time wipe off surplus on the sides of the container. • Apply varnish quickly and freely, brushing with the grain of the wood, using only the tip of the brush. zaini@selectvest.com Wisdom Management Services (M) Sdn. Bhd. 40
  41. 41. Finishing Finishing Methods • Let stand one or two days until perfectly dry. • Smooth with fine sandpaper or pumice stone on damp cloth, taking care not to rub through finish after each coat. • Dust surface well. • Apply second and third coats of varnish without thinning. • Dry at least a week before final rubbing. • For a satin finish, rub with cloth dipped in linseed oil and pumice stone. Shellac Because of shellac's limited durability, it is not recommended for heavily used furniture. This finish is brittle when dry, scars easily and water spots. It is also soluble in alcohol, so it cannot be used for dressers where cosmetics containing alcohol are often placed. Advantages are that it is easy to use, dries quickly with a gloss and can be rubbed to a satin or dull finish. It is often used as a sealer coat over stains, as a filler on fine grained woods or to cover knots before painting. • Mix equal parts shellac (4 pound cut) and denatured alcohol. • Apply with brush, stroking with the grain. • When dry (24 hours), rub well with fine sandpaper until all gloss disappears. • Apply the second and third coats the same way, rubbing down each time. • Rub last coat to a satin finish with pumice stone and oil. • Wax. Lacquer Lacquer makes a very durable finish that resists water and alcohol. It does not darken wood colors and its color does not deepen with age. Lacquer is difficult to use because it dries quickly. For this reason, it is not recommended for amateurs. Follow the manufacturer's directions carefully. Paint or enamel These finishes are often used on wood with no particular beauty or to cover old finishes to match furnishings. Be sure the surface is clean, smooth and dry. Paint will not stick to a greasy surface. You do not have to remove the old finish; sanding the surface will make a foundation for the priming coat. If the article to be painted is new, look for any knots. These should be covered with a coat of shellac. Mix paint and enamel well before using. Pour a small amount into can to use and keep remainder covered. zaini@selectvest.com Wisdom Management Services (M) Sdn. Bhd. 41
  42. 42. Finishing Finishing Methods Procedure • Use flat oil paint or undercoat thinned according to directions. • Dip brush one-third of bristle length and stroke following the grain of the wood. • Allow to dry thoroughly, then sand lightly with 2/0 sandpaper. • Apply second coat unless the surface needs another undercoat. Stir paint frequently while painting. • When thoroughly dry, sand lightly. • Use regular paint or enamel as desired. Enamel can not be brushed out as much as paint; therefore keep the brush full of enamel and flow it on without allowing it to run. • When the last coat is completely dry, rub with pumice stone and oil for a satin finish. Antique finish for painted furniture This finish is a two-tone blended or shaded finish achieved by applying tinted glazing liquid over a painted base. Traditionally, the glaze is applied over white or ivory enamel, but color is the modern trend. • Paint the surface with a mixture of one part ivory enamel and one part flat white paint. Allow the painted surface to dry thoroughly. • Mix one tablespoon of burnt umber tube color with about one-half cup of glazing liquid or enough to give the consistency of cream. • Brush the glaze on and allow it to stand a few minutes. • On a rough surface, wipe glaze from raised parts with a folded cheesecloth. • On a smooth surface, wipe glaze from the center and leave a small amount on the edge. • With a brush, blend the glaze from the edge toward the center. • A cloth moistened with turpentine will remove the glaze completely so one can practice until the desired effect is achieved. Special light finishes Light colored finishes are popular today. Old furniture of normally light colored wood can be given a new look by using a finish that enhances the natural color. Much of the golden and Mission oak furniture lends itself to bleaching and remodeling into modern pieces. After all the old finish has been removed from the surface, it may be bleached. Do not try to bleach wood too light, as a warm tone in furniture is more pleasing and will harmonize better with other furnishings. Natural finish is obtained by using a colorless protective coat. Procedure zaini@selectvest.com Wisdom Management Services (M) Sdn. Bhd. 42
  43. 43. Finishing Finishing Methods • Use a coat of white synthetic resin seal, liquid white wood filler, white flat paint or enamel. • Allow to dry 10 minutes (depending on how fast the product begins to set). • Use a clean cloth and wipe off across the grain of the wood. • Allow to dry 24 hours, sand and dust. • Apply clear finish. Pickled finishes are made with white or another color over the natural wood color. The effect is similar to the blonde finish and made in the same way except it is usually done on open-grained woods, particularly oak, and a coarser cloth is used to wipe off the pickle coat. The result has more interesting texture. Minimum care can maintain a good finish. If the surface has been waxed, no furniture polish is needed; polishes will dissolve the wax. Dust with a clean soft cloth; fold under soiled sections as dusting proceeds. To remove old wax, wipe surface with turpentine. To apply wax, use a pad of several layers of cheesecloth with a small amount of wax on the inside. Rub on a thin coat of wax. Polish after 20 minutes with a clean soft cloth. Several coats of wax thoroughly buffed between each coat are more durable than one thick coat. When fine scratches appear, use fine steel wool and turpentine or a cleaning solvent. Rub surface with the grain until scratches disappear and rewax. This is a good treatment for neglected surfaces or for furniture that has accumulated soil from storage. Rub white spots with a soft cloth moistened with turpentine or spirits of camphor. If the color isn't restored, rub with fine steel wool or sandpaper and repeat the turpentine or camphor treatment. Rewax. If the color does not return, refinishing is probably needed. Surface checking can be removed with light sanding. Deeper checking requires refinishing. Checking is caused by • Not allowing enough drying time between protective coats. • Too heavy application of protective coat. • Extremes of temperature. Hot sun softens the coating. Extreme dry cold dries. The finish loses some of its bond and cracks. A few deep scratches can be sanded, colored with oil colors or colored wax to match the finish, and rewaxed. Synthetic resin seals can be mended without showing lap marks. zaini@selectvest.com Wisdom Management Services (M) Sdn. Bhd. 43

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