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WeekendMiniaturist

What is your favorite finish for fine furnishing

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WeekendMiniaturist

My favorite finish at present time is a hand-rubbed oil finish with Watco. I let it dry and sand between coats with successive finer grit... and finish over the course of the summer season.

 

I have used Deft, and other things in a can for a fast finish, when I have to get something finished quickly.

 

Does any one use the french polish method?  I would love to hear about your experiences with different products for your finish.

 

Tamra/Indiana

 

 

 

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ElgaKoster

I also like oil finishes, so far I have used Rustin's danish oil and teak oil, the danish oil is a bit more tricky to use, it can become a sticky mess if you are not fast enough with it. I bought the teak oil recently, it seems to color the mopani a bit darker than the danish, I am still debating with myself whether I like it or not.

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Wm. R. Robertson

A friend asked me why I use lacquer and I responded on another forum... "Why lacquer?".... Maybe. Old dog new tricks?.... I have been using lacquers since I was kid painting cars, I really like the way it rubs out.... I can get all kinds of character in the wood that way, it's hard to explain, you just have to see it..... But rubbing it out makes it look " real"... Also it took about two hours each to rub these out which was less time than I expected.

However, I may have a problem in a few years... I have been using lacquer out of the SAME gallon can I bought in the late '70 s.... I'm almost out! It was something like Colidia-lac?... It was $ 6 and change back then. Does anybody still sell high grade furniture lacquer? I have learned the trick to using this old stuff is you got to use the good lacquer thinner..... Not the cheap hardware store quality crap.

Btw... I spray it on with a airbrush..... About 4. - 5 light coats...

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WeekendMiniaturist

Bill R, Will need a picture of the can, hopefully with as much label as possible, or some research in wood magazines from the 70's so I can be on the lookout, when I "googled" your spelling from this post another forum came up in the search results.  I'm guessing ... try an internet search for colloidal lacquer.  I think they have added silica to the lacquer and have changed the properties.  Finding the right formulation may require chemical analysis, so my best recommendation to call a lab for analysis and see if you can remake.

 

I have found some very interesting things in cans at the local "Restore - Habitat for Humanity stores" and like a box a chocolates; I never know what I will find.

 

Elga, perhaps too much humidity, or too much oil.  I rub on, and rub in almost all the oil, so when I leave my piece to airdry for a day or week, or when I get back to it, it is really unlikely that it will be sticky.  I do watch the weather reports when I consider if I am going to work on finishing furniture.  Oil is the patient finish, but the one I'm most likely to use for me... I like hand rubbed oil finish, as I seldom have any difficulties in getting the same result again, and again.

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Elizabeth Gazmuri

I also use Watco Satin lacquer cut 1:1 with a GOOD lacquer thinner. A decent thinner is essential. This is over non grain raising stains. I rub down the lacquer with 0000 steel wool then old panty hose. I will often apply Renaissance wax and rub that in with an old cotton tee shirt on top of the lacquer. I still brush on my lacquer because I have never set up a spray booth. I live in New England where it is usually either too cold or too humid to spray outdoors, and just don't want to vent an area. I know everybody tells me I should spray to avoid brush marks, but with a good thinner and a fast hand the finish is pretty darn forgiving. And I feel I have more control if I don't want the coat of lacquer everywhere.

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Debora Beijerbacht

I started out using french polish and the result is very distinct . If desired you can get it to a mirror like sheen too! But a real nag if you've got furniture with nooks and crannies. In the end we're making miniatures and i compromised between what it 'should be' and what can be 'created to look like'. I've found Danish oil to come very close to what i look for in scale miniature finishes. Besides, most of my pieces don't come in a high sheen in life size. 

 

If the wood is too open i sometimes start off with one coat of Rustins sanding sealer, but that's seldom. I add 2 or 3 coats of Danish oil, making sure to let it dry thoroughly before proceeding. The first coat is often sucked up completely. The second of course far less, so i make sure to not add too much, or that will become tacky. So thinner layers as i progress. Sanding in-between with increasingly finer grit of micro mesh or 0000 steel wool. I finish of with 2 or 3 layers of very thin Bri-wax (slightly diluted) and buff them up in-between. That gives me depth of color and that subtle satin sheen of waxed furniture. 

 

I do have an airbrush but the preps involved (dust free space!) are nearly impossible for me to achieve. I could set up a spray booth in the bathroom, after letting the shower run for 10 minutes, but it's such a hassle, i think... Dragging up the compressor alone :/ 

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WeekendMiniaturist

Deborah, how do you slightly dilute bri-wax?  One of the benefits of using a oil finish is that it can be reworked in the future... but I have never used anything over my oil finish.  I am assuming if I used a French polish or wax, after my oil finish, that it cannot be reworked?  Is this correct?

 

At the Chicago International this year, I know I saw somebody was selling amber shellac for cherry floors, and I found the results to be pleasing as it had an amber effect on Cherry; instead of my standard rich/brownish/red that I consistently get with my finish.  Has anyone tried shellac on cherry?

 

Tamra/Indiana

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Debora Beijerbacht

Hi Tamra, I dilute it the wax by heating it. It makes it less viscose and i can spread it far more. I probably used the wrong words to express myself? Sorry!  

 

I don't see why you could not rework your finish? The great thing using Danish oil is I can get rid of any wax on top of that with white spirit. It hardly affects the oil underneath (that penetrated into the fibre), but only if you're not too fierce taking off the wax. I've never attempted to take away the oil treatment too; it's said paint stripper comes closest to being the best thing to take that up. After sanding your piece back to the bare wood, that is. 

 

I've seen the amber shellack too, and I can see that work well on woods like cherry. Doesn't overpower the character and tone of the wood too much. But never done that. Anyone else perhaps?

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oz9ny

This answer is not for the purists :-)

 

I use dope, normally used for model aeroplanes.

 

Dope is a cellulose based product and can be brushed on in very thin layers and it dries very fast. I usually applies 3 to 5 layers. rubbing with grade 000 steelwool in between. The result can be satin-like or very glossy like french polish.

 

Have fun

Niels

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miraclechicken

post-51-0-74261100-1401149445_thumb.jpg

 

This is my solid cherry floor with several light coats of amber shellaq 50/50% denatured alcohol.This is home grown cherry, with perfect scale knots and grain. I think the finish is beautiful. I love the amber shellaq and also I love minwax paste wax. I also had bought the Michael Walton finishing kit for my tables and such. It is awesome. He gives you dye and flakes. Beautiful.

 

At the Chicago International this year, I know I saw somebody was selling amber shellac for cherry floors, and I found the results to be pleasing as it had an amber effect on Cherry; instead of my standard rich/brownish/red that I consistently get with my finish.  Has anyone tried shellac on cherry?

 

Tamra/Indiana

 

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WeekendMiniaturist

Linda, this is a beautiful color. I definitely need to try some more of these finishes...don't want to be a one trick pony. Elizabeth mentioned GOOD lacquer thinner...so something in the woodworking store instead of home improvement store.?. Does watco make thinner?

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Wm. R. Robertson

I use Behlen brand thinner, about $ 35 a gallon. I used to use DuPont that I would get at a place that sold to auto body shops but I think they stopped making it.

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Michael Walton

The only finish I use is French Polish which is shellac/ alcohol applyied by brush and hand rubbing with a pad. I taught the technique at the chicago show using my finishing kit. I use aniline dyes which disolve in alcohol and in some cases I use spirit based dyes like minwax on bigger items like roomboxes and full size furniture. I never use lacquers, water based varnishes or water based stains.

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Gradus Ulfman

I like to use "politoer" shellack I don't now the just englisch word for it.

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ElgaKoster

Polish is English for "politoer" In Afrikaans we use the word when we polish a floor or furniture with a waxy substance, I am guessing it means the same in Dutch.

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jackofalltrades

My favorite shellac is "garnet" shellac flakes from Woodcraft.  It is darker than amber shellac and one container makes a lot of shellac.   It gives wood a nice color and is easy to use.  Mixing it with alcohol needs to be done well in advance though.

 

Woodcraft also sells Behlan  "brushing lacquer" which I have used with mixed results mostly due to my lack of finishing skill. 

 

Jack

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WeekendMiniaturist

Jack, why does mixing shellac with alcohol need to be done in advance?  I've only used powdered dyes with alcohol; I haven't tried any shellac flakes yet for miniatures.  What happens that requires advance preparation?

 

Tamra

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Wm. R. Robertson

Maybe the reason for mixing it in advance is a poor quality alcohol?.... It makes a huge difference between the hardware store quality, or shall I say lack of quality, and the really pure water free type. With the good stuff it dissolves the flakes in minutes where the cheaper can take hours.... Also a big difference in the way it goes on and dries. I think Woodcraft might even still sell it.

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jackofalltrades

Tamra,

 

I like the garnet flakes mostly due to color which is darker than amber.   Garnet shellac gives mahogany, beech, cherry and probably others a rich color.

 

Most of the time I keep a jar of the mixed garnet shellac on the bench when I am building a wood model.   Flakes used to be the only way you could buy shellac.   Then came shellac all ready to use in a can.  I have always used ordinary denatured alcohol but wonder how other alcohols would work.   I have had a can of clear shellac go bad and not want to dry.  I finish my maple bench top with clear shellac periodically.

 

Back in the day of "manual arts" being taught in grammar school our first project was most likely finished in shellac due to its fast drying time and ease off use.  I use thin shellac a lot as a sealer before sanding and painting with enamels like Flo-Quil. 

 

Jack

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WeekendMiniaturist

I really, really liked the results that I achieved with white Flo-Quil that I had purchased from Micro-Mark a long time ago (perhaps 4 years ago).  But it is my understanding that Testors discontinued manufacturing it.  Is there another solvent based paint that I can use with my airbrush that has been tested by participants in the forum?  I was using it to paint windows.  A better finish, and less time then painting multiple layers of acrylic (creamacoat) and a brush.  I would only paint a piece of furniture, if I were painting a faux finish on it, like Chinese furniture, or folk art...nursery furniture, etc, etc. 

 

(Hopefully this question is still applicable to this thread.)

 

Tamra

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miraclechicken

Jack, when I began using the amber shellac nowadays, the first time I smelled it, I flew back in time! The denatured alcohol had me in the way back machine for sure.I hadn't smelled that since I was about 7 years old. You're right about using it in children's art class only my experience was a summer crafts program at the school. I used to love attending that!

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Back in the day of "manual arts" being taught in grammar school our first project was most likely finished in shellac due to its fast drying time and ease off use.  I use thin shellac a lot as a sealer before sanding and painting with enamels like Flo-Quil. 

 

Jack

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Wm. R. Robertson

I remember using shellac at Boy Scout Camp....... Hummmmm..... That was 47 years ago!..... For the same reason, it dried quick, this was in the wood carving tent..... And of course I had to pick oak to carve it because the wood looked prettier.

I sill use it in some of my classes, especially overseas where TSA really could get upset if you tried to fly with solvents....... The flakes are harmless and good alcohol can found about anywhere.

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Mesouth

Michael, I took your class in Chicago and learned a lot! Thank you for making this process easy. This finish is beautiful!

Martha

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MeezerMama

I think this would be a great topic for an evening seminar in Castine, in a panel-type format.  I'd love to hear a few experienced masters talk about what they would choose for differing types of circumstances and then have some discussion. 

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WeekendMiniaturist

That is a great suggestion Chris.  I think it is helpful to have samples available.  I know from experience that the multiple coats of watco oil result in a beautiful finish, but when you present a piece of furniture that has been 'dressed' over a period of months, it is hard to illustrate how this particular "patient" finish is so beautiful.... therefore, I would present a sample of boards, with one coat, two coats, three coats, etc, etc, and how the board looks before and after sanding.  While it seems simple to write about it; when you feel it with you fingertips it becomes a more tactile experience.

 

In my earlier days of miniature modeling, I also made my own wood sample cards for my favorite stains on different types of wood.... I have no idea where those samples are in the wood pile, but I wrote the name of the stain down on the board with a sharpie marker...that brings back memories when I was assembling house of miniatures kits!

 

Tama

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