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Discussion in 'Wood Carving & Turning' started by Zale, Jan 22, 2017.

  1. Zale

    Zale Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I'm doing a DIY slab wood coffee table. The wood is sycamore and has been kiln dried. Looking for tips on oil finishes and sanding.
     
  2. Ax-man

    Ax-man Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I'll try to help the best I can. I'm sure others will have a different opinions and ideas.

    First things first . Your wood is Sycamore which is a very light colored wood. The question you have to ask is what do you want the final finish to look like. Any finish you put on it will change the basic color of bare unfinished wood to some degree. A good finish on wood is built using different types of finishes.

    Shellac is not an oil type finish but makes a good base coat or top coat, seals wood pores so you don't have to use so much other top coat finishes, brings out the grain pretty good and leaves a good clear finish to the wood . Shellac doesn't have much gloss by itself and needs some type of top coat to give some type of shine or gloss. Shellac mixed 50/50 with boiled linseed oil also makes a good base coat but will darken the color of light colored wood . When I say darken it doesn't mean a contrast like going from Maple to Walnut it more or less means that the wood has a darker look than natural looking wood. I have used this mix as a happy medium between a light colored wood and a dark colored wood.

    Oil type finishes such as Tung oil, Danish oil , Teak oil are all pretty much the same . They are some type of oil with some varnish mixed in to them. Oil finishes will darken wood , really bring out the grain in wood but to me they dry a little on the flat side as far as gloss but leave a natural feel to the wood when you touch it. A lacquer top coat adds gloss to a oil finish with some buffing.

    Urethanes are a manufactured one step type finish, brings out grain patterns really well, seals wood pores, leaves a high shine, glossy finish to the wood. Urethanes are a thick type finish and can leave wood looking like it is encased in plastic . I have never used a two part epoxy type finish but the results look the same. People seem to prefer this type of finish to all the others because of it's high shine and it is a good finish to protect against spills if they were to occur. Urethanes are what I would call a hard type finish that don't move as the wood expands or contracts from moisture levels. This isn't a big factor indoors compared to a piece of wood that has to be outside like a chainsaw carving.

    You asked about sanding. The one thing to bear in mind is that using sandpaper put scratches in wood . The coarser the sand paper the deeper the scratch in the wood that you may not be able to get out as you work your way down to the finer grits of sand paper. You can't see these scratches but they will show up when you put on your finish. The finer grits kind of polish wood but it is only because they are putting smaller finer scratches in the wood . Steel wool is a good way to finish the sanding process followed with a shop towel wet or dry to remove sawdust in the scratches. High and low spots are going to appear when your sanding . Takes a practiced eye and a feel for the wood to know when you have a slab that is truly flat and level to provide a certain look to the bare wood before the finish goes on.

    What tools to use for sanding is a matter of what you can afford or have access to use. Belt sanders are good for large pieces such as slabs. Palm and sheet sanders are good for the finish type sanding work using the finer grit sand papers. A block of wood with sandpaper wrapped around it works just as good as any power tool , just have use more elbow grease.

    I am going to add this as a side note. No amount of sanding can beat the look of bare wood when you use a block or hand plane with a sharp blade to finish it. I don't really have this talent but have used a hand plane, the look of planed wood verses sanded wood is like night and day. I have used a hand plane and also have an electric 3 blade planer to remove chainsaw marks and level slab wood to an even thickness. It just guts me to sand a piece of wood after using this tool because the finish is just crystal clear . I have to sand the wood only because the electric planer leaves very,very small ridge marks in the wood that I can only get out by sanding them out. I probably haven't mastered this tool but some day I will.

    I have said enough because I have said too much . Hope this helps a little.
     
  3. Zale

    Zale Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Thanks for your thoughts. This is my first project like this so if I make mistakes, I'm ok with that. I don't want to darken the wood and want to bring out the natural color of the grain. My thoughts were to just use Danish oil. I like your idea about using steel wool. Hadn't thought about that. I don't have any tools as far as sanders and planers. If I need them, I can rent them for $15 a day. Again, thanks for your input.
     
  4. waross

    waross ArboristSite Lurker

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    I am of a different opinion. As much as i don't like the task of sanding, I sand the wood down to a point where the wood is like glass smooth. I start with belt sander 120 grit for a slab, then palm sander reducing grit all the way to 400 grit, step by step. There will be no visible scratches at that point.
    Where i go from there depends on the wood. For hickory, which is a closed grain wood, you don't need filler. For an open grain like red oak i would use a filler to fill the pores and even the surface out. For the look i think your trying to achieve watco Danish oil in natural would bring out the grain without making it overtly dark. I attached two photos of a piece of cherry i used watco on 30 some years ago as a test piece. It has held up pretty well, albeit it has just sat around the shop. Where it says 320, use 400 grit. Always get good quality sandpaper, not cheap stuff from home depot. Order online from a woodworker supply company if you have to. Good luck.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G891A using Tapatalk
     
  5. Zale

    Zale Addicted to ArboristSite

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    What does "wet sand" mean?
     
  6. Sleepy

    Sleepy Grumpy Old Man

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    Here is a walnut gun stock I finished a few years ago with an automotive polyurethane clearcoat.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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  7. Zale

    Zale Addicted to ArboristSite

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    That's nice work.
     
  8. waross

    waross ArboristSite Lurker

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    Sand it while the oil is still wet. Soak it good and then sand.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G891A using Tapatalk
     
  9. Zale

    Zale Addicted to ArboristSite

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    What's the benefit of doing this?
     
  10. waross

    waross ArboristSite Lurker

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    helps to even out stainf and get the grain to accept it well.
     
  11. Ax-man

    Ax-man Addicted to ArboristSite

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    That is interesting . I'll have to try it . Just curious. Does the sandpaper get clogged up when you " wet sand" ???
     
  12. waross

    waross ArboristSite Lurker

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    Use silicon carbide, it will clog eventually
     
  13. Zale

    Zale Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Where do you find silicon carbide?
     
  14. waross

    waross ArboristSite Lurker

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    A good paint or woodworking store. And get aluminum oxide for normal sanding.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G891A using Tapatalk
     
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  15. SeMoTony

    SeMoTony Addicted to ArboristSite

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    wet or dry sandpaper with a lube ; usually water to keep the paper from clogging ,also washes dust off the surface.
     

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