New to this, in need of help!

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Blog entry by LennonsDadsBeard posted 04-10-2015 09:30 AM 1460 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is my first entry and I am just starting out with wood working. For Christmas I had started making my fiancĂ© a painters pallet. She is an artist and I wanted to make something aestheticly pleasing but also functional. I thought this would be a simple enough first project. I purchased a price of black walnut, kiln dried with a live edge. It’s a beautiful piece of wood. I mapped out my cups and began chiseling. All was well for a while but I don’t have the best tools as I can not afford that right now. I got pretty far in before I needed to sharpen, which is another shit show all together. But now I have this price of kiln dried black walnut that is almost done, and it’s April! My question right now is: if this is going to be a functional painting pallet, what do I finish the wood with. Obviously it is going to get paint on it and it is not going to look like new for long. But how do I protect the wood without leaving something that will distort or ruin her paints? I guess I should have done a bit more planning. Someone help!!

9 comments so far

View Dutchy's profile


3731 posts in 2941 days

#1 posted 04-10-2015 11:11 AM

What paints are used? Oil or water based?

If it is oil paint it can be done with tung- or linseed oil.


View Jake's profile


850 posts in 2403 days

#2 posted 04-10-2015 12:06 PM

Cool project for your first entry!

I am by no means an expert, but I would use a film varnish of some kind. Polyurethane or something to that effect. Wipe on, pour or whatever you choose – I would go with a thick film varnish so that you could still use it, wipe it off and still have the wood looking nice through the years. And if need be, you can strip it and re-apply without having paint run into the end grain. (which would happen with an oil finish)

Again – I am not what you’d call an expert, so my advice is worth just as much as you paid for it. :) And welcome to LJ!

-- Measure twice, cut once, cut again for good measure.

View sras's profile


5456 posts in 3902 days

#3 posted 04-10-2015 02:15 PM

If it were my project, I’d use polyurethane.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View LennonsDadsBeard's profile


5 posts in 1916 days

#4 posted 04-10-2015 04:29 PM

Thanks for the comments advice. My wife mainly paints with acrylics. I have some small boards of the same type of wood so maybe I can buy a small can of poly and apply and let dry. Just to see how it holds up to the paint. I had thought about poly but I was worried that it may effect her paints.

Another question: any ideas for the best way to sand out the tool marks? Obviously in a small space like that, hand sanding is a must, but I would really like to get the grain to pop again like it did before I started gouging.

View Grumpymike's profile


2439 posts in 3088 days

#5 posted 04-10-2015 11:04 PM

Ok, you want the grain to pop, You want a bullet proof finish, and you want to know how to sand.

Ok, the first step is to sand the project; start with 100 grit and sand it all smooth, and you can do a bit of shaping with this grit. Next sand it with 120 grit till all the 100 marks are gone, repeat with grits to 220. You won’t need to go farther if you will use a poly finish. Sanding is a lot of work, and there just “ain’t no easy way.”
For the revetments, there are sander heads that fit into a drill that you can cut the sandpaper to fit, makes them a bit easier, but the thumb works well.

now that the project is smooth and you are happy with it, the hard work is done. flood the entire piece with Boiled Linseed Oil (BLO) and let it set for 15-20 minutes then wipe off any excess … This will make the grain pop.
Let the dry for 24-48 hours and sand with 400 wet and dry paper… now it will be as smooth as a baby’s butt.
(Note: you can use Tung Oil or Danish oil, but I like the BLO … Try it on scrap pieces to see if you like it.)

If you cheated on the sanding or missed spots it will show here … and for ever if you don’t fix it now.

Now it’s time to apply the polyurethane, or what ever you decide for the topcoat. apply the first coat and let it dry, lightly sand with the 400 to knock down any dust-nids and re apply till you have 3-4 coats.

Now the final step … use some 0000 steel wool with a good paste wax going over the whole piece, wait about 5 min. and polish with a soft lint free rag … Now you have a master piece.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View Grumpymike's profile


2439 posts in 3088 days

#6 posted 04-10-2015 11:18 PM

Oh, geez, I didn’t mention that on the flat surfaces to use a sanding block with the paper wrapped around it.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View MyHogany's profile


88 posts in 2210 days

#7 posted 04-10-2015 11:39 PM

you can save hours of unsuccessful sanding by using a sanding ball, which attaches to either your drill press or your hand drill. They’re around 6 bucks each and you could probably use an 80 or 100 grit, a 180 and then 220 or 320. Plenty of places on line tell you how to make a sanding ball yourself.

View LennonsDadsBeard's profile


5 posts in 1916 days

#8 posted 04-11-2015 12:52 AM

Wow. I really appreciate the help fella’s. I’ve already got more than I expected. Glad to know I found a place with like minded people willing to share their know how. So I will look into the sanding all that sounds exactly what I need. I was looking into Danish oil too. Does anyone think there might be an issue with poly ruining the acrylic paints or the paints ruining the finish?

View NormG's profile


6506 posts in 3776 days

#9 posted 04-12-2015 04:01 AM

Use something like POLY, so the wood will be protected and the paint will wipe off

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

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